Tomorrow is international yoga day and yoga is surging in popularity all around New Zealand, while organised sport is in decline, Exercise NZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.
Yoga is one of New Zealand’s most popular forms of movement or exercise, with more than figures showing its practice has grown by as many yoga providers as gyms around the country.
“It has got so big as a form of and activity that we are staging the inaugural yoga conference in Auckland in November. Yoga has doubled in the last five years and just keeps growing largely due to its versatility.
“Yoga is valuable as an activity, as well as being extremely complimentary to lots of other exercise activities. It is very common now for a regular gym user to add in yoga as a part of balance.”
“Relief from stress is also a key factor. Yoga improves the body, calms the mind and helps balance life. For many people yoga is the yin to the yang of everyday life.
“Stress is almost a given in a developed country and, as a result, the mindful component of yoga is so beneficial and desired. While yoga can vary in physical intensity, it always provides people with the best methods of being mindful, which is something that so many people benefit from and seek in today’s busy lifestyles.”
A Lincoln University international PhD student Tilak Raj is teaching yoga to Lincoln University rugby players as part of his doctoral research, to see if yoga is helpful in reducing injuries and improving performance.
A report from Sport New Zealand, Sport and Active Recreation in New Zealand has shown that New Zealanders' involvement in club and organised sports has declined.
If exercise was considered a sport, it would be the biggest sport in New Zealand, by more than 50 percent, Beddie says.
There are more than half a million Kiwis who take part in exercise in gyms, and fitness centres alone and yoga has been a major part of this growth, he says.
“Yoga has just exploded in recent years and there are now lots of support organisations for yoga including the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals.
“Yoga has reached a tipping point and became a mainstream activity over the last five years and as a result the number of providers (studios and teachers) have blossomed.
“Exercise NZ is committed to supporting all forms of exercise and structured movement and activity in New Zealand and sees yoga as an important and essential modality to help kiwis stay active.”
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