Are you interested in trying yoga for the first time? Or, maybe you’re already a seasoned yogi looking to develop your practice?
No matter where you are on your yoga journey, there’s always more to learn. Yoga is an ever-evolving practice that dates back thousands of years. There are so many fascinating facts to learn about yoga that will help you appreciate the practice even more.
Check out this guide to discover the top interesting facts about yoga.
1. There are Many Different Types of Yoga
If you’re new to yoga, you may not know that there are many different types of yoga you can practice. If you went to a yoga class and didn’t like it, chances are, you just haven’t found the right yoga style for you. Here are some of the most popular types of yoga:
This type of yoga involves doing a set of poses in a hot, humid room. Typically, the room is set to 105 degrees and 40% humidity. Doing yoga in this environment helps you loosen your muscles and joints so you can become more flexible and have an easier time performing poses.
Bikram yoga consists of 26 basic postures, each of which you perform twice
Ashtanga yoga is definitely not for the beginner, as it involves a very demanding sequence of poses. But if you’re looking to take your yoga practice to the next level, this may be the type of yoga for you.
In Sanskrit, the word vinyasa translates to, “to place in a special way.” In this case, the thing you’re placing is your body. Vinyasa yoga grew out of ashtanga yoga in the 1980s.
This is an athletic style of yoga that involves transitioning directly from one asana into the next.
If you’ve ever taken a basic yoga class, it was probably called “Hatha yoga” or the principles of the class were rooted in Hatha yoga. Hatha is simply an umbrella term for all of the different styles of yoga.
Beginner Hatha classes are typically slow-paced and involve a series of simple movements, while more advanced classes may involve more complicated Ashtanga poses.
Kundalini yoga is best for those who want to reap both the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga. This style of yoga focuses on releasing the kundalini energy in your body. It focuses on fast-moving poses that work your core and force you to focus on your breathing.
2. Yoga Offers A Lot of Benefits
There’s a reason yoga has exploded in popularity over the last few decades: it’s beneficial for your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Here are just a few of the benefits yoga has to offer:
- Helps ease symptoms of arthritis
- Improves balance, strength, and flexibility
- Helps you manage and relieve stress
- Boosts your energy levels and brightens your mood
- Helps ease back pain
- Improves your heart health
- Relieves anxiety and depression
- Helps you maintain a healthy metabolism
- Reduces inflammation
Many people find that yoga also helps them improve their sense of community. While yoga classes are generally quiet, you’ll likely meet a lot of people during your yoga classes who have the same goals that you do.
3. Yoga is an Ancient Practice
As we mentioned earlier, yoga has been around for thousands of years. The origins of yoga date all the way back 5,000 years ago in Northern India.
The word “yoga” was first mentioned in the Rig Vida, which is an old text in Sanskrit that many people consider holy. The Rig Veda is a collection of texts that contains mantras, songs, and rituals. The texts were used by Brahmans, who were holy priests.
Slowly but surely, the Brahmans and other holy men began to define and develop the term yoga as well as the practice. The most famous yoga scripture ever composed is the Bhagavad Ghita. Written around 500 BC, this is a Hindu scripture that focuses on the spiritual aspects of yoga.
In its early stages, yoga was a combination of beliefs and techniques that often contradicted one another. Patanjali, an ancient Indian writer and sage, was the first to present yoga in a systematic way. He wrote the Yoga-Sûtras, which is a text that describes how to achieve enlightenment through yoga.
A few centuries later, other yoga masters put together a system of practices designed to reinvigorate and rejuvenate the body. These practices focused on using the physical body to achieve enlightenment through yoga, and a lot of modern yoga practices stem from this time.
4. Yoga is All About Breathing
Yoga isn’t just about striking the right pose0 it’s also about breathing. While there are several breathing techniques that yogis incorporate, the most important one to know is 1:1 breathing.
The principle of 1:1 breathing is simple: for however many counts you inhale, you exhale for the same number of counts. For example, if you inhale for three counts, then you also need to exhale for three counts.
5. Yoga is a Way of Life
If you think yoga is meant to just be a small part of your weekly routine, you’re missing the whole point. Seasoned yogis will tell you that your time on the yoga mat is simply a dress rehearsal for real life.
For example, if you learn to stay present on the mat, then you’ll also learn to stay present when working. If you can sit with your discomfort on the mat, then you can also learn to sit with your discomfort in real life.
Being open to the ways yoga can change your life can really help your practice grow.
Facts About Yoga: Time to Strike a Pose
Now that you know these facts about yoga, it’s time for you to get on the mat and strike a pose. With diligent practice, you’ll be a seasoned yogi in no time.
It can be very beneficial to supplement your yoga routine with cardiovascular exercise. Check out this guide to learn about the health benefits of cardio workouts.