Economic woes make yoga popular stress buster in US

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Washington, July 17 (ANI): As the US economy goes through a period of turbulence an increasing number of Americans are finding refuge in yoga studios.

"In these economic times people either go to yoga studios or bars," ABC News quoted Gina Norman, the co-owner of Kaia Yoga in the posh Connecticut suburb of Westport, as saying.

"It's mostly about the stress reduction," she added.

Ever since it opened in 2005, Kaia Yoga has been doing brisk business.

Its enrolment has surged each year during the economic meltdown, even as students have cut down expenditure in other areas of their lives. Many of the new students are men trying to bust stress.

The popularity of yoga has soared in the past three years; nearly 14 million people now attend yoga classes compared with just 11 million in 2007, claims market research firm GfK-MRI.

Yoga Journal reported in 2008 that Americans spent 5.7 billion dollars on yoga classes and equipment (including clothing, DVDs and mats), almost double the amount they spent in 2004.

Bill Harper, Yoga Journal's publisher, said: "When we get into shaky financial times and people are feeling bad about themselves, they seem to turn to yoga for a bit of solace."

Most of the growth is coming from small businesses, like Kaia, which have sprung up across the US. Many of the entrepreneurs who have opened yoga studios are yoga enthusiasts who have left behind other careers.

Lizzie Clark, the owner of Bikram Yoga in Charlottesville, part of a national franchise founded by yoga mogul Bikram Choudhury, was a legislative assistant for a US senator before pursuing a career with a healthier lifestyle.

She said: "It's a great business opportunity. You're not going to become a millionaire doing it, but you're going to live a lifestyle you believe in." (ANI)

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