How many people meditate worldwide

Meditation and Yoga: Results of the first nationally representative study in Germany

Results of the first nationally representative study on meditation in Germany are available.

From a clinical-scientific perspective, there are many indications that it is positive Health Effects of Meditation, especially in the accompanying treatment of mental illnesses such as Depression or anxiety disorders.

Obviously, it is a safe process that can lead to clarity, calm, presence, focus, and awareness. But meditation also appears to be effective in cardiological, gastroenterological, gynecological and neurological diseases.

Regular Meditation practicecan lower blood pressure and cortisol levels and lead to a shift in the equilibrium in the autonomic nervous system in favor of the parasympathetic nervous system.

While there are large representative studies on meditation practice for the USA, so far there was no corresponding data for the German-speaking area. This is all the more surprising given that meditation can be seen as a core element of yoga.

The Professional Association of Yoga Vidya Yoga Teachers (BYV) has therefore commissioned a survey on meditation practice in the general German population. The results are now available.

In the nationally representative cross-sectional study, the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK) asked 2,126 participants aged 14 and over about their current and previous meditation practice in April and May of this year.

The results speak for themselves: Meditation helps to positive changes, especially to a greater balance, relaxation and a more comprehensive well-being. This is what 95.8% of all survey participants surveyed found themselves to be.

Weekly or more frequent meditators also report an increased ability to concentrate and better sleep.Of the 82.7 million people in Germany, an estimated 15.7 million people in Germany are currently meditating or are interested in starting meditation. 6.6% are currently meditating, mostly at least once a week.

The average duration of meditation practice is around four years. Educated & working people of working age, especially women, are more likely to meditate.


71.1% of the study participants cite improvements in mental well-being as the main reason for taking up and maintaining meditation practice. The motivation for 50.3% of the respondents is the improvement of mental performance - regardless of the frequency of meditation.

On the other hand, physical reasons, such as an improvement in their physical well-being or physical performance, are given more frequently by respondents who meditate at least once a week than those who meditate less often (59.3%).

A further 12.4% of the respondents who are currently not meditating can imagine starting meditation in the next 12 months, 0.9% are even sure that they will do so. Overall, 5.6% of those surveyed practice yoga; 46.6% of current yoga practitioners also meditate, 39% of current meditators also practice yoga.


In Germany there seems to be a clear overlap between yoga and meditation practice. Perhaps rather unexpected for many: The current study suggests that more people in this country practice meditation than yoga.


A comparison with a survey on yoga use conducted in 2014, which uses the same methodology and sample size as the present survey, reveals that yoga practice has continued to increase.

In 2014, 3.3% of those surveyed were still practicing yoga, four years later - at the time of this study - it was already 5.6%. This agrees with American surveys, which report an approximately 86% increase in the period from 2002 to 2012.

The survey shows in parts of the German population an extensive interest in meditation practices, especially as a method of health promotion. A stronger integration into health policy and the promotion of these technologies would therefore make sense from a scientific perspective.

So could the positive effects of meditation on mental and physical illnesses be examined even better by further large nationally representative surveys and used even more effectively for patients / clients. The USA is already showing the way: there, meditation is one of the most frequently used complementary medicine procedures.

Detailed information on the study design and the sample:

The study protocol stipulated from the outset that at least 2000 women and men aged 14 and over would be included in the study. In order to ensure national representativeness in terms of gender, age, federal state, size of town, household size and occupation, a representative quota sample was drawn on the basis of the 2016 microcensus.

Iterative weighting compensated for possible deviations. The survey was carried out personally using the CAM Quest method as part of Germany-wide multi-topic surveys. Differences between socio-demographic subgroups were analyzed using chi-square tests. The interview questions were presented in writing and read out by the interviewer.

Meditation was defined as "meditation practice in the true sense, for example meditation while sitting in silence, while sitting with mantra, walking or movement meditation, mindfulness meditation, etc. It works Not autogenic training, body scan, progressive muscle relaxation or similar ".


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