Yoga is a type of exercise that exercises the entire body and mind. It’s been around for thousands of years, but it’s become trendy in recent years. Millions of people now practice yoga every year. Yoga can enhance mental health, physical health, and spiritual awareness. This article will give you a brief history of yoga and tell you why it’s important.
Early Yoga History
Although there are some disagreements about when yoga was first practiced, we know that it’s been around for thousands of years. The earliest written account of yoga dates back to 2800 BCE. This ancient record describes two yogis who lived in India. They supposedly lived over 80 years old and were free from illness.
In the following centuries, many people wrote several texts about yoga. Yoga became so popular that it was often practiced in front of large groups of people. In fact, one ancient text describes a religious festival that lasted eight days! During this time, crowds gathered and watched a teacher demonstrate yoga poses.
Early Yoga Proponents
One of the most famous yogis was Patanjali. He is known for writing The Yoga Sutra. The text contains 196 verses that describe yoga philosophy and practice.
It’s believed that Hinduism was responsible for bringing yoga to the West. In 1893, a man named Swami Vivekananda gave a speech at an event called Parliament of Religions. This speech is highly regarded for introducing Hinduism to the Western world, which helped popularize yoga.
How Yoga Exploded in The 20th Century
The 20th century saw a surge in the popularity of yoga. In 1924, Indra Devi became one of the first celebrities to practice yoga in America. In 1936, she was introduced to Richard Hittleman, who eventually opened what is now the biggest yoga university in the world. This school is known as the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute.
Several celebrities also began practicing yoga, including Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo. The Beatles are even rumored to have tried yoga after hearing about it from their assistant. By 1975, over 8 million Americans were practicing yoga every year.
Yoga: Excerise Or Religious Practice?
Many people have questioned the “spirituality” behind the practice of Yoga and wonder if Yoga is physical exercise or a religious exercise that may interfere with their religious worldview and beliefs.
Yoga is a fine art with roots in Hindu India and the teachings of Vedic philosophy, which originated thousands of years ago.
The word Yoga means “union,” and it refers to the union between body, mind, and soul.
Patanjali, who recorded the science of Yoga in writing around 2200 years ago, described Yoga as a process of training the mind to experience deep states of meditation in which you find union with God.
The Yoga Sutra is a comprehensive guide describing the physical body postures and breathing techniques that form the practice known today as Hatha yoga. Patanjali explains early on in his treatise what Yoga is and what it is not.
Yoga does not require that a person believes in any particular philosophy, religion, or worldview. Yoga is universal and can be practiced by people from all walks of life.
Yoga And Mental Health
The aim of the yogi follows one direction only: to free the soul from negativity; to cleanse the heart of all impurities. While Yoga can help to free from negativity and cleanse impurities, sometimes you need a little more in-depth help with more traumatic issues.
I asked one of my friends who owns an EMDR Therapy and Counseling practice in Fort Lauderdale about this. This is what he had to say about getting help with your deeper needs and issues.
“EMDR Therapy is a process that has been shown through extensive research to help alleviate stress and anxiety. It’s also used with patients who are suffering from PTSD, depression, relationship issues, and other problems. Therapists often use EMDR therapy for patients who have experienced abuse in their life. They can get help with their issues by being treated with EMDR Therapy by a trained therapist; victims are helped to focus on what happened and how they can free themselves from their past.
This therapy isn’t practiced in pure yoga centers because of the holistic aspects that cannot be dealt with through Yoga alone and don’t allow for this kind of treatment. It is more commonly found in mental health practices. I highly suggest anyone suffering from trauma seek a well-qualified and licensed mental health practitioner. While Yoga may be excellent for helping you gain clarity of mind, stretching, and more, it cannot solve all deeply seated issues.”
Now that you have read a little bit about how Yoga came to be, how you can benefit from it, and how you shouldn’t use it, bookmark us to stay on top of topics that will range from Yoga to Healthy Living, Healthy Eating, and Mental health.
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The Yoga Guy