Positioning Your Gym’s Yoga Offerings for All Generations

Yoga is the top group exercise activity at health clubs nationwide. Here’s how to position your offerings to each generation, from kids to Millennials to seniors.

More than one out of five health club members in the U.S. participate in yoga, making it the number one group exercise activity at health clubs nationwide, according to IHRSA’s Health Club Consumer Report. Since 2015, member participation in yoga has grown by 8%. It may come as no surprise as the benefits of yoga are well documented: increased flexibility and strength, weight loss and management, injury prevention, improved circulation, and enhanced mindfulness, just to name a few.

With so many members interested in this mind-body discipline, your club’s bottom line can reap the benefits of yoga as well, if it hasn’t already. Here are a few ideas to position your yoga offerings depending on your target population.

Yoga for Millennials & Gen Xers

The Millennial and X generations claim the greatest share of participation in yoga at health clubs. Roughly two out of five yoga participants at health clubs and studios are between the ages of 18 and 34. More than 5 million members between the ages of 18 to 34 participate in yoga, up from 4.4 million in 2015.

Yoga is the most popular activity among 18-to-24-year-olds and the second-most popular among 25-to-34-year-olds. Considering the busy schedules of this group, shorter, 20-30 minute yoga classes at lunchtime can help this group reap the physical and mental benefits of yoga on the go. However, you may also find that some Millennials and Gen Xers may be interested in yoga as a discipline or practice, in which longer sessions led by expert teachers may be ideal for these consumers.

Yoga for Kids

The popularity of yoga has found its way to children and youth. At U.S. health clubs, more than 1.2 million children between the ages of 6 and 17 participate in yoga, representing 10% of all yoga participants at fitness facilities. This number has grown since 2015, when less than 1 million members under the age of 18 engaged in yoga.

Yoga can be a safe, effective, and fun way to introduce kids to regular exercise. And since many yoga poses have nature-themed names, younger children can build their vocabulary while getting fit and strong. For younger children, short 10-15 minute yoga sessions, perhaps even as part of your child care offering, may work best for this group. Adolescents and teens may have the attention span to engage in longer classes.

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Yoga for Seniors

Seniors claim the smallest share of yoga participants at U.S. health clubs and studios as less than 800,000 members over the age of 65 participate in this discipline. Only 6% of yoga participants are over the age of 65. Although the number has grown since 2015, when 600,000 senior health club members participated in yoga, the market share remains the same.

Knowing that yoga can be catered to just about any fitness goal and health need, seniors definitely stand to benefit from engaging in yoga. Yoga classes catered to seniors can emphasize gentle static and dynamic flexibility poses, along with mindfulness techniques. Cultivating a seniors yoga club can also keep this group engaged into regular participation in yoga.

As you can see (and may already know), whether you are a full-service facility or a small club, your yoga offering can be customized to your members.

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Melissa Rodriguez

As IHRSA's Senior Research Manager, Melissa Rodriguez oversees research initiatives for the health club consumer, club operations, and international markets. The best part of her job is helping members better understand how IHRSA research can help them improve and expand their business. When she's not analyzing data and statistics, Melissa enjoys spending time with family, watching superhero series, poring over NBA and NFL box scores, and reading a good book.