Examining Motivation to Participate in Yoga Through an Exercise Lens


  • Bethany Forseth University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Caitlyn Hauff University of South Alabama
  • Shilpa Babbar University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Michele Polfuss University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


mind body, exercise motivation inventory, survey, yoga, physical activity, motivation


It is important to understand the motivation of individuals engaging in physical activity to support their continual engagement in activities and meeting of physical activity guidelines for health promotion. Despite the evidence that many individuals in Western cultures view yoga as a form of exercise, the motivation to participate in yoga has yet to be analyzed through this lens. The purpose of this paper was to examine motivation of yoga participation using the Exercise Motivations Inventory-2 (EMI-2) in individuals who regularly engage in yoga. An online survey was administered that included the EMI-2 and asked participants about their yoga participation. 104 female participants were included in the analysis (average body mass index 24.85±0.49 kg/m2). Of responders, 36 (35%) were yoga instructors. Top reasons for participating in yoga based on the EMI-2 included positive health (M = 4.54±0.80), nimbleness (M = 4.27±0.93), revitalization (M = 4.17±0.78) and stress management (M = 4.15±0.88). After Bonferroni adjustments, motivations to participate in yoga were comparable among participants based on varying weekly frequency or length of practice. It is important to explore what sparks initial motivation to participate in yoga and how those motivations change to effectively market this activity to a wider audience and increase the number of individuals meeting physical activity guidelines.


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