Supposing this is your first time of actually diving deep into yoga, and you are thinking of being a yogi (someone who practices yoga) then we will give you a brief intro on this page.

Yoga, as defined by Wikipedia is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Among the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Rāja yoga.

Brief History of Yoga

The word itself means “union” or “to join” from Hindi, originally from pre-Indo-European yeug.

In the mid-1800s, Yoga, as well as other topics of Indian philosophy, was embraced by educated Westerners. Today, most westerners use yoga as a form of physical exercise to build flexibility and strength.

But originally, Hindus’ and Buddhists’ goal of yoga was union with Brahman (the eternal or absolute) and Atman (your true self). It basically involves incorporating physical exercises and postures (called asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and meditation for the goal of achieving peace of mind and spiritual enlightenment, which isn’t exactly about getting that “yoga body” for summer.

Yoga today

Yoga is very popular, especially in the United States. In 20 years, yogis in the U.S. have grown from 7million to 15million. According to Precision Nutrition, “Nearly 5% of U.S. businesses offered yoga at the workplace in 2008. Approximately 75% of U.S. health clubs offer yoga instruction.”

With this level of popularity, it’s very likely you might’ve come across at least one person who practices yoga. And if you have, you’ve most likely heard the benefits of yoga.

Benefits of Yoga

The American Osteopathic Association outlined the benefits of yoga:

“The purpose of yoga is to create strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and body,” explains Natalie Nevins, DO [Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine], a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor in Hollywood, California.

“The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome,” explains Dr. Nevins. “Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.”

Other physical benefits of yoga include:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality
  • Maintaining a balanced metabolism
  • Weight reduction
  • Cardio and circulatory health
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Protection from injury

Yoga has four cornerstones: ritual, knowledge, devotional and tantric. There are many varieties of yoga to choose from.

Although most people don’t consider yoga a dedicated exercise routine for building muscle and increasing strength, incorporating yoga 1-2 times a week, will go a long way to help relieve you of stress, hasten recovery, build balance, and improve your mood and flexibility.

Try yoga today. If you don’t like the class, try another one. Try Old Town Yoga.