We all know that the Pacific Northwest is a popular place for yoga. Whether you are walking around in Capital Hill, Fremont or Ballard you are likely to see someone wearing yoga pants, carrying a yoga mat and heading to take one of the many types of yoga classes offered in the area. This scene is likely to occur in the suburbs as well. It seems like more and more yoga studios are available on the Eastside but also all around the greater Seattle area from Tacoma to Everett and every city in between.

We were curious about the popularity of yoga in Seattle as it compares to other cities around the U.S. We also wanted to find out how popular yoga was in Kirkland compared to Bellevue or Redmond or even when it became popular in these places. So, we decided to do a bit of research using Google search data as a proxy and an indicator for people’s interest within a certain geographical area. While this methodology is not perfect, it provides great insights into the overall trends about yoga in Seattle. Below is what we learned.

When it comes to the city with the highest number of people searching on Google for the word “yoga” during the year 2013, New York City comes first. San Fransisco is second, Boston is third and Seattle is a close fourth. San Diego, Portland and Denver are in fifth, sixth and seventh position respectively.

The top states based on the number of people searching for the word “yoga” are Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Colorado, California and then Washington state. Below is an overall view of the popularity of yoga by state across the US.

Between 2009 and 2013, there were 53 percent more searches on Google for the word “yoga” than in 2009 in the Seattle area. As we look at the data for the first few months of 2014, It does not look like the popularity of yoga is decreasing. Below is a graph showing the data since 2004.



Less people are searching for the words “Bikram yoga” as compared to a few years ago. Is it due to the fact that there are less headlines about Bikram Choudhury and sexual assault lawsuits? Maybe or maybe not. It appears that competition might be a key cause. To provide a comparison, you can see the increase in popularity of “CorePower Yoga” and “Yoga to the People” since 2011/2012 below and the overall decline of searches for “Bikram yoga” in the Seattle area:

As you can see in the graph above, the three main cities on the Eastside (Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond ) started seeing an increase in interest for yoga several years ago. It first became popular in Bellevue in 2006 with people searching for “Yoga Bellevue” then in Kirkland in 2007 with searches for “Yoga Kirkland” and in Redmond after that in 2008 with searches for “Yoga Redmond”.

Based on data from the first five months of 2014, there are 14 times more searches for the word “yoga” than there are searches for the word “pilates” in the Seattle area.

It seems like everyone is talking about yoga pants these days so we wanted to get a sense of when this trend started. In comparing the volume of searches for the words “yoga pants” during the first five months of 2014 as compared to the first five months of 2010, we saw an increase of 700 percent. Here is graph showing the data since 2009:


Let’s recap the findings for our “Seattle yoga statistics”:

  1. The City of Seattle is the 4th city for yoga in the U.S.
  2. Washington State is the 6th state for yoga in the U.S.
  3. Yoga gained 53 percent more popularity in the Seattle Metropolitan area over the last four years (2010-2014)
  4. Bikram Yoga remains popular in the Seattle area but it has declined by 48 percent in the last three years
  5. Yoga started gaining popularity in Bellevue in 2006, in Kirkland in 2007 and in Redmond in 2008
  6. 14 times more people are interested in yoga than pilates in the Seattle area
  7. Interest in yoga pants has increased by 700% percent in four years in the Seattle area (2010-2014)

We hope you found these statistics about yoga in Seattle insightful. Make sure to share them with the rest of the Seattle yoga community.

[Photo by Bala Summers, Lauri Sten, Anupam_ts, Adam – CC BY]

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