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At Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), we talk a lot about yoga. We recommend yoga poses to keep your body moving and pain-free as part of self-care, we partner with national yoga studio franchises to bring you yoga class discounts, and we recognize that many massage therapists practice yoga, and even teach it. So do your clients. The 2016 Yoga in America Study conducted by Yoga Journal and the Yoga Alliance illuminates the rise of yoga awareness nationwide, and practitioners' understanding of the profound effects yoga practices have on the body, mind, and spirit. 1 70 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k n o v e m b e r / d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 7 Results from this study raise important questions. Should there be a stronger union between the worlds of yoga and massage therapy? Would developing purposeful partnerships support the well-being of our clients in a more holistic fashion and deepen the healing effects of our work? Would these partnerships aid the success of massage practices, as well as increase yoga class sizes and individualized yoga sessions? Aren't we, after all, supporting the same people? Let's ponder these questions by starting with the facts. WHO IS PR ACTICING YOGA AND WHY? The 2016 Yoga in America Study aimed to understand who is practicing yoga, why they practice yoga, and how people view yoga in general. Survey participants were yoga practitioners, nonpractitioners, instructors, and studio owners, and findings were compared to the previous survey conducted in 2012. The study found that individuals who practice yoga regularly (once or more per week) increased from approximately 20 million in 2012 to nearly 37 million in 2016. That's an increase of almost 50 percent in just four years! Within this growth are practitioners over the age of 50, now making up about 38 percent of all yogis and yoginis nationwide. Why has yoga become so popular? Reasons cited for committing to a regular yoga practice include stress relief, flexibility, injury recovery, pain management, and overall fitness/wellness. Cyclists, runners, weight lifters, climbers, and other athletes rave about how yoga complements their chosen sport and improves overall performance, not only because of its physical benefits, but because regular practice increases mental clarity. Last, but not least, yoga simply feels good. Do any of these benefits sound familiar? WHO IS RECEIVING MASSAGE AND WHY? In 2017, ABMP conducted its biennial survey on consumer use and views of massage therapy in the United States. The study concluded that approximately 55 million Americans received at least one massage in 2016. When asked about the primary reasons for seeking out massage therapy, respondents put relaxation, stress relief, relief of sore and stiff muscles, injury recovery, and pain relief at the top of the list. Survey conclusions also support that, similar to yoga, clients return because it feels good and supports their overall sense of well-being. It seems clear that yoga instructors and massage therapists have target markets in common and the means to meet the needs of a large and growing population of people who care about their health. I see a symbiotic relationship that benefits clients, yoga practitioners, yoga instructors, and massage therapists. So where do we go from here? INSIDE OUT, OUTSIDE IN One of the beautiful aspects of the relationship between yoga and massage therapy is that, while the goals are often By Cindy Williams The Union of Yoga & Massage

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