I will admit that I am not the biggest fan of Yoga. I’ve tried it before and found myself in positions that I didn’t think were humanly possible. It hurt, it was too quiet, there was weird music playing softly in the background, I wasn’t allowed to talk, the instructor kept telling us to get into poses that had funny names, and everyone was in tights. It just wasn’t my thing. So in trying to come up with something to share with you this week, I figured what better to do than write an article about something I don’t really like. I mean, there are so many people out there who swear by Yoga, do it every week, sometimes every day, so there has to be something there, right? As many as 30 million people practice Yoga in the United States, so if something is that loved by that many people I figure it’s worth learning more about.
First of all, the most basic question I asked myself was “What is Yoga?” I found out that the word Yoga means “to join or yoke together.” The goal is to bring the body and mind together. To do this, Yoga focuses on three main structures: exercise, breathing, and meditation. The exercises, or poses, of Yoga are designed to put pressure on the glandular systems of the body, which help increase its efficiency and overall health. Specific breathing techniques are used to improve the health and function of both the body and the mind. These specific exercises and breathing techniques prepare the body and mind for meditation. Meditation helps lead to a quiet mind that allows healing from everyday stress. Regular daily practice of all three parts of Yoga is supposed to produce a clear, bright mind and a strong, capable body.
As for the history of Yoga, no one knows exactly when Yoga began, but it does appear to predate written history. Stone carvings depicting figures in Yoga positions have been found in archeological sites that date back 5,000 years or more.
The tradition of Yoga has been passed on individually from teacher to student through oral teaching and practical demonstration. The techniques that are now known as Yoga are based on the collective experiences of many individuals over many thousands of years.
Yoga probably arrived in the United States in the late 1800s, but it did not become widely known until the 1960s. As more became known about the beneficial effects of Yoga, it gained acceptance and respect as a valuable method for helping manage stress and improving health and well-being. Many physicians now recommend Yoga practice to patients at risk for heart disease, as well as those with back pain, arthritis, depression, and other chronic conditions.
This is usually the point in the article where I would tell you some ways you can do Yoga at home. But since I have very little experience with practicing Yoga, I am going to yield to the experts this time. There are plenty of places near you that would be more than happy to show you all the benefits of Yoga and how to safely and effectively practice the techniques. Yoga for kids is becoming more and more popular, too. So it is now something that the whole family can do together.
As for me and my non-love of Yoga, I will have to say that I am ready to give it another shot. After finding out about all the benefits of Yoga, how could I not try it again? Maybe they’ll even let me bring my own music this time.
Until next time,
Today’s Fun Fact: The average human heart will beat about 2.5 billion times in a lifetime.