Why Most People Do Their Yoga at Home

By 04/19/2012

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According to Matthew Yglesias, quite a few people are making the effort to go to yoga classes when “it would clearly be cheaper and more convenient to just unroll your yoga mat in your living room and work out while watching yoga videos.”

We are informed that  “when possible, people simply prefer to do this in person with a live human being standing in front of them.”

Yglesias concludes that “affluent American parents will continue to foot the bill for their kids to get schooled in person” rather than making use of online learning.

His analysis would be totally persuasive were it not for the fact that  97 percent of all people who do yoga do their exercises at home, either with or without yoga videos.  When possible, people stretch and bend and twist at home, because they do not like other folks staring at them when they are contorting their bodies in a variety of embarrassing ways, especially when their yoga skills are under-developed.  A tiny percentage—no more than 3 percent—prefer to have someone coaxing them along or like to snigger at their less proficient classmates.

From these facts it can be concluded that Americans—both affluent and otherwise—will be insisting that their children take their high school classes online so that they are not bullied or embarrassed in the classroom when they are not as skilled as others.

You may wonder where I got my data. I picked it up from the same place Yglesias got his info—the distant corners of nowhere.

-Paul E. Peterson

Comment on this article
  • Matthew Yglesias says:

    I don’t think I understand what the contradiction here is supposed to be.

    My claim:
    1) Currently, many people do yoga classes in person even though it’s less efficient.

    2) That’s because people with disposable income sometimes prefer to do things in a less efficient way.

    3) My hypothesis is that in the future many affluent people will continue to choose to educate their children in relatively cost-insensitive ways.

    Which one of those do you disagree with?

  • jeffrey miller says:

    It occurs to me that “the distant corners of nowhere” are precisely the places from which Paul and his cohorts are informed that business-like competition and choice will totally work in American schools. Kinda like how charters and vouchers have worked so well in countries that eat our lunch on measures of academic achievement.

  • Paul E. Peterson says:

    @Matthew: According to Webster’s dictionary,many is a “large, indefinite number.”

    A numerator without a denominator has no meaning.

    Your essay does not even have a numerator, much less a denominator.


    Your observations are meaningless.

    I am unable to either agree or disagree with a meaningless statement.

  • Paul E. Peterson says:

    @Jeffrey: On the strong relationship between school choice and student achievement internationally, see the EdNext article by West and Woessmann – http://educationnext.org/school-choice-international/

  • jeffrey miller says:

    I appreciate your response but there is no there, there in the West and Woessmann piece, Paul. I read it over like three times and still could not find the causal link, only statistical (sleight of hand) correlations. For example, the Netherlands would seem to be a fine example of a country with many (faith-based) private schools doing will on PISA compared to most other nations. However, they present a compelling but incomplete history of Catholicism’s role in education and most egregiously in the Netherlands. For a more nuanced (and more complete, if not accurate) interpretation of how to understand Dutch schooling, see http://www.fulbright.nl/cache/30/30dbd0481349e7a6188e372c5b049e51/31dutchsecondaryeducation.pdf

    There are other problems with their work in how they control for possible confounding variables including assorted assumptions they make about the political machinations of parochial schooling in various countries and to what extent such behavior can accurately be said to be ‘competitive’ in the same sense that modern reformers like yourself view competition in business ventures.

    Really, don’t we require more than a “strong relationship”, if such existed, before we ask for multiple millions of dollars be invested in a business model of education reform? Frankly, I wouldn’t make that kind of investment unless I saw a clear and persistent causal link between choice and academic achievement across a wide range of students and cultures. But hey, maybe your version of choice somehow works for American kids like no other–something special about Americans? Even if that were your argument, there still is no conclusive data that even suggests that might be so.

  • James DiGioia says:


    His point is that you’re trying to draw the conclusion that people prefer doing things in person with an instructor than at home/online with a video or remote teacher without any actual supporting evidence – “prefer” being operative word, i.e. if given a choice of “live” or “not-live” (whatever that may be), people will choose live, all else being equal.

    Some people prefer online, some people prefer live, and fundamentally, no one’s going to argue with that statement (as it’s obvious enough that it doesn’t require restating). However, the implied sentiment that the attendance of yoga classes has anything to do with preferences for in-person education is not actually based on anything.

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