More Americans, especially those who are young, are getting out their yoga mats.

According to recent research, 7.5 percent of Americans practice yoga (or 16.5 million people) – an increase of 5.6 percent from last year and up 43 percent from 2002. Of those practicing, the fastest growing segment is the 18 to 24 age group, which has increased by 46 percent in just one year.

Of those not currently practicing yoga, about 25 million people said they intended to try yoga within the next 12 months.

It’s estimated that Americans spend $2.95 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including equipment, clothing, vacations and media such as DVDs, videos, books and magazines, according to the study.

“The fact that Americans spend nearly $3 billion a year on yoga and yoga-related items shows the financial vibrancy of the market,” John Abbott, president and CEO of Yoga Journal, said. That the number of yoga practitioners has grown so strongly in the last 10 years shows that yoga is not a passing fad but a genuine cultural phenomenon and an integral part of the wellness trend in this country.”

Released by Yoga Journal, the second annual survey, “Yoga in America,” polled 4,700 Americans.