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  • Author:the economist
  • Source:the economist
  • Release on:2018-03-03

Half a century after the Beatles meditated in Rishikesh, in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, a new wave of spirituality tourists have arrived for this week’s International Yoga Festival. Some 300m people now practise yoga around the world.

According to the International Yoga Federation. Since it became popular in the West in the 1980s it has moved beyond mere activity; in the ghastly lingo it has become a “lifestyle”—on which Americans spent $16bn in 2016. The yoga-mat market is growing by 7% a year, while novelty yoga proliferates: hot yoga, beer yoga, naked yoga, goat yoga. 

Some worry the practice is losing its spirituality; that the Instagram generation has made it about posing not poses. Others think it fills a spiritual vacuum in the irreligious West, where navel-gazing is not a tricky yoga move. Devotees champion its health benefits and positive messages of love, compassion and serenity. A noble position to take.

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