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Strike a pose: Yoga is the fastest growing fitness activity

Sources: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2015 – June 2016 n = 50,712 Australians 14+

Yoga is Australia’s fastest-growing sporting or fitness activity, with its popularity doubling since 2008, Roy Morgan Research shows. Two million Australians now grab a mat, take a breath, and pose as a cobra, cat, child, corpse and downward-facing dog.

The latest research from Roy Morgan shows one in 10 Australians (14+) now do Yoga, up from one in 20 in 2008. Back then, aerobics was the more popular fitness activity; today, more than twice as many people do yoga as aerobics.

As the fastest-growing sport or activity in the country over the past eight years, yoga has not only whizzed past aerobics in popularity, but also table tennis, ten pin bowling, darts and dancing… and soccer, cricket, tennis, and golf.

The proportion of women doing yoga has almost doubled over the period, from 8% to 15%. Yoga is most popular among younger women aged 14 to 34, with over one in five now taking to the mats either regularly or occasionally. In terms of proportional growth, yoga has been growing faster among women aged 35-49 and 50-plus, with participation in each age group more than doubling to 17% and 9% respectively.

Overall, yoga remains far less popular among Aussie men with only 5% participating. However the biggest growth across any age and gender segment has been among men aged 25 to 34: one in 10 now do yoga, a more than threefold increase compared with 2008.  

The rise of Yoga participation among Australian Men and Women: 2008 vs 2016

Sources: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2015 – June 2016 n = 50,712 Australians 14+

Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Yoga is Australia’s fastest-growing sport or fitness activity. More Australians now do yoga than play soccer, cricket, tennis or golf.   

“Although yoga is on its way to becoming a mainstream activity, the country’s two million participants remain a distinctive bunch. Compared to the average within each age and gender segment, yoga participants are consistently more likely to be vegetarian, to buy organic, additive-free and genetically unmodified foods, to prefer healthy snacks, and to favour natural medicines and health products.  

“Pilates is also now more popular than aerobics, with around 1.25 million Australians participating—almost half of whom also do yoga. Although developed thousands of years apart, the two exercise systems share some clear similarities: a holistic approach to mental and physical health, with emphasis on breathing, postural alignment, core strength and relaxation.

“A large majority of participants in both these activities are women, which is unsurprising given that women are more likely to suffer from the sorts of conditions they purport to help alleviate, such as mental health concerns including stress, anxiety and depression, and physical ailments including arthritis, back pain, and muscular aches.”  

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%