Boga, Yogilates, hip-hop yoga, and other yoga offshoots may all become trends within themselves, says Minkin. More traditional yoga almost surely will lose customers to some of the upcoming yoga hybrids. And one or two of them may eventually spin off into something that hardly resembles yoga at all. Remember how Taebo spun off from karate and dance aerobics to become a hot trend all by itself for a while?
The same kind of "fragmentation" is easy to spot in the ever-increasing lines of yoga apparel, props, literature, recordings, and Om paraphernalia. Sara Chambers, founder and co-owner of Salt Lake City-based Hugger Mugger, says that the number of manufacturers and wholesalers trying to tap into the yoga market is forever increasing. "I've been approached to stock everything from cookware to candles, but we try to carry only things that will benefit the yoga practice," she says.
As to Minkin's forecast of the yoga trend eventually peaking, Chambers acknowledges that it undoubtedly will. But she has her doubts that that time will come soon. "The trend has been carrying us along swiftly. We haven't spent any energy in trying to forecast the yoga market. Right now, we're just trying to keep up with fulfilling orders."
As part of a larger report for a major food company on consumer dining trends, Minkin once did a study of New England pizza shops. "Pizza was so popular that there got to be a shop on every street corner. It became obvious that they couldn't all survive. And sure enough, many disappeared," he says. "Looking around me today, I see many, many yoga studios, and a lot of outfits selling yoga products. When the trend reverses, not all will survive." But Minkin, though not a yogi himself, echoes the optimism often heard within the yoga community: "I don't think we need to worry about yoga disappearing, as many other things have," he assures. "After all, how many trends have been around for 5,000 years?"
Russell Wild is a freelance journalist based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and often writes about money for various national publications.