Saturday, January 22, 2011

Google search trends for "yoga"

I am a geek so I find this interesting: I checked out Google trend for the term "yoga".  What do you know? The trends correspond almost exactly to the trend of volumes of people who show up to my yoga studio over the year! Check this out:


The number of searches for the word yoga peaks at the beginning of each year (New Year's resolution - let's Google and find out what the heck this "yoga" business is all about) and then gradually decreases until the middle of the year, when it climbs again (panic for the bikini season? Better do some exercise to get rid of that winter fat... what's this thing called yoga again? Time to Google it), and then dips again until it reaches the lowest point around December time (mad holiday shopping and festive eating season. Forget about yoga. Time to pig out!).  The whole cycle repeats itself again when the next year comes around.  Over the last 6 years, the overall volume of searches for "yoga" does not seem to have increased by much (though 2011 peak is looking higher than all the previous peaks).  Media coverage of yoga however has been increasing, with a significant jump at the end of 2007/beginning of 2008. I wonder what's the reason for that? 

Hmm, looking more closely at the graph, Dec. 2008 and 2009 dips have been lower than all other years. I wonder if it's related to the recession (cut spending on non-essential activities such as yoga, or time to look up job searching websites rather than yoga studios)?

I also looked up trends for the search term "ashtanga".  This is what it looks like:

Sadly, looks like Ashtanga is slowly losing popularity over the years. That's okay.. I'm usually not into the most mainstream activities anyway. The media was all over Ashtanga when Guruji passed away, but then news reference volume dropped to back to default again after that. Interest on "power yoga", however, is on the rise, at least for 2010 and the beginning of 2011:

Adding Google trend for "Anusara" at Nobel's request:

It's gained popularity in 2010 (when New York Times published an article about John Friend) but I don't see an upward growing trend for it yet. We'll see how this branch of yoga continues. 

There has not been enough search volume for Google to generate a graph for "Curvy yoga". However, search volumes for the word "Curvy" itself have been steadily rising:

I can play with Google trends forever. You can play with it too at

Just thought I'd share my mini-finding with y'all. You can go back to your daily activities now :)


  1. Thank you for sharing. I'm not too surprised that Ashtanga is slowly losing popularity over the years. I perceive the same trend from talking to people in the community. I have a few theories for this, but it's too involved to go into here.

    You should try looking up trends for "Anusara". I'll bet it's going up and off the charts :-)

    Maybe you can also try looking up trends for "Curvy Yoga". I'll be really curious to know what the results are for that one...

  2. Hi Nobel, I have edited my blog to include Google trends for Anusara and Curvy. I think it would be a good thing if curvy yoga became more popular though. Yoga is good exercise for people who are normally turned off by gyms, running and conventional sports.

    I have a few theories myself. People have such short attention spans nowadays, it's hard to teach Ashtanga at yoga studios, which are mostly drop-in format. Anusara is way easier to teach and to learn within a short time. A lot fewer poses per class, taught in a fun and encouraging way. There's also Bikram for those type A personalities who might otherwise be suited for Ashtanga. Again, everything that one needs to know is encapsulated within one class (good for drop-ins).

  3. that is interesting about ashtanga. it is in synch with what bloggers where writing about 2 years ago, and two of those bloggers went in the same direction as the curve you show. in my personal opinion, it's not that ashtanga is dissapearing, but that people find other types of yoga or ways to practice that don't carry the label.

  4. Most of my yoga teachers did Ashtanga at some point, but switched styles later on. I don't think Ashtanga is disappearing either; there will always be a certain crowd who are loyal to Ashtanga. But other styles are becoming more popular so those are what people get exposed to at gyms, community centers, yoga/pilates studios, fancy hotels/retreat villas, Lululemon stores etc.