The impact of Yoga on our mind, body, and lifestyle is immense. People from across the world are increasingly recognizing the importance of yoga.
Yoga in India has its roots from Indian philosophy. Though yoga in India started as a spiritual aspect, it later gained prominence as the means of promoting health. Yoga is now a part of many clinical settings across the globe. After the declaration International Yoga Day, Yoga has become more popular and its industry has reached another level.
Yoga is emerging as a health provider for people across the world. No wonder, it is a trillion-dollar industry now. The USA makes the highest turnover from Yoga.
In this post, let us understand what is Yoga, how it was started, and what is its significance. We will also see how we can use yoga in our lifestyle.
What is Yoga?
The term Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuj”, which means Personal Consciousness or meeting the soul. Yoga is just not about exercise. It is a spiritual reward with a touch of emotional integration and mystic elements.
Yoga in India originated thousands of years ago. Most of the people think that yoga is just about exercise and meditation. However, in real-time, yoga is beyond this. It reveals the human mind and soul’s potential.
Yoga is a science of a healthy and happy lifestyle. Yoga can help us to achieve a mental presence, and a healthy body. It also helps in controlling our desires. The main objective of practicing yoga is to spend our life with full mindfulness.
In many pieces of evidence, it is seen that yoga in India started over 5000 years ago.
When is International Yoga Day?
International Yoga Day date is 21st June every year. It was declared by the UN in 2015 and the proposal was supported by 177 member states. The idea of International Yoga day was proposed by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his speech at UNGA in 2014.
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History of Yoga in India
Yoga in India possesses a rich history. Yoga has been in practice since the beginning of civilization. It has history dates back to five thousand years ago from Indus-Sarasvati civilization. It is also mentioned in Rig Veda for the first time, which contains the mantras, songs, and rituals used by brahmins. Brahmins recorded their practices and the essence of Upanishads. It is from here that people came to know about yoga.
Vedic priests, during the Vedic times, used to possess a very strong self- control. This is imparted to the yoga practices they used to adopt.
In the 3rd century, yoga in India started to spread to many religions such as Jainism and Buddhism. Buddhism adopted yoga as spiritual and meditative practices called “Yogacara”, which include 8 steps of meditation- “insight”.
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Core values of yoga
In the 5th century, yoga was a religious practice for the people, not as the workout. It involved several core values-
The first core value is the analysis of the human mind. This involved the perception of problems and relieving them through meditation.
The second core value gave importance to enhancing the inner consciousness.
The third core value focused on achieving transcendence.
The fourth core value was the ultimate one where the prowess of yoga penetrated the body, boosting its overall stamina and power.
During the Indian independence struggle, yoga in India was used as a means to build pride and cultural identity. Yoga was immensely popular among famous national leaders and all across India until India got independence.
Health Benefits of Yoga
There are endless benefits of practising yoga regularly. Here are some of its multitude of benefits:
Relaxes and strengthens muscles: The regular practice of yoga increases the strength and flexibility of muscles. One can notice a positive change every single day.
Strengthens body: Yoga can beat gym workouts with its comprehensive benefits. One can achieve a gym like body with regular yoga. Yoga boosts the strength of the body and increases the work potential.
Does not demand special equipment: One can practice yoga anywhere. At the desk, on the terrace, in the balcony, in school. Besides, no special equipment or space is required. All you need to learn and gain from yoga is will and passion.
Regulates blood circulation: Stress and strain can hamper the body’s blood circulation and cause trouble. Yoga postures help these muscles to relax and regain normal blood circulation. Yoga also helps in regulating the blood pressure.
Eradicates posture based problems: Our modern lifestyle creates several headaches when it comes to posture. With yoga, all the lifestyle-related pains and problems would vanish.
Relaxes the mind: This fast-paced lifestyle and competitiveness in every field, is leaving no time for our minds to relax. Yoga is the best solution to our stressed minds. Regular yoga practice provides relaxation to mind and increases our stamina to face this ever-competitive world.
Enhances pulmonary function: Regular practice of yoga helps regulate lung capacity and increases pulmonary activeness. People with asthma and other respiratory disorders find immense relief with yoga.
A miracle cure to depression: Yoga offers the perfect treatment for depression. Regularly practicing Nadi Shodhan Kriya, Ujjayi Pranayam, Kapalbhatti, and Anulom Vilom can work wonders for curing depression.
Cures insomnia : A night of deep sleep is the basic requirement of a person to maintain a healthy body. But a stressful lifestyle makes it impossible to sleep properly. Every person is dealing with sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep leads to many health issues regarding kidney, liver, hearts, etc. Regular practice of Yoga Asanas like Balasana, Uttanasana, Supta Baddha Konasana, Viparita Karani, Savasana can help in achieving sound and good sleep.
Improves mood: Yoga makes a person healthy, energetic, and positive. It improves our mood by freeing us from lethargies, dullness, and anxiety.
Detoxes the body: Yogic asanas like Prasarita Padottanasana, Marichyasana series, Parivrtta Utkatasana are the best solutions for the detoxification of the body. They clean the digestive system and eliminate toxins.
Replacement of cardio workout: Few people believe that yoga is a slow workout meant for senior citizens. But in truth, Yoga can be very intense also. It can be a replacement for Cardio workout. Some of the yoga asanas are designed to reduce weight, build body strength, and tone the body.
Related: Yoga poses for weight loss
Boosts immunity: Yoga is the best means of boosting immunity. The Asanas, kriyas, bandhas, and pranayama leads to a healthy immune system.
Improves nervous system functionality: Proper functioning of the nervous system is essential for emotional, physical, and psychological well-being. The asanas help in maintaining the nervous system health. On the other hand, yogic breathing exercises help in improving the lungs’ capacity and give healthy lungs.
Treatment for thyroid, diabetes and sciatic pain: Thyroid and diabetes are worldwide issues now. Every second person is suffering from these health issues. Many scientific pieces of research have proved that yoga has positive effects on the thyroid gland and pancreatic functioning.
Asanas like Setu Bandhasana, Sarvangasana, Halsana, Matsyasana, Viparita Karani, etc are the best treatment for hyper and hypothyroidism. Many yogic postures and breathing methods lead to the proper functioning of Pancreas and enable proper digestion of food, leading to a maintained blood glucose level.
Contemporary awareness and rise of the Indian Yoga
Yoga in India was mainly practiced as a spiritual activity. When foreigners came to know about yoga, they came to learn Yoga in India and found it highly beneficial. Yoga in India holds holy status while foreigners consider it as their health booster.
Millions of people around the world have rolled out their yoga mats to celebrate the tradition of Yoga that was once the preserve of Hindu holy men but now it is a worldwide phenomenon (BBC 2017)
The society of the modern world is living a stressful life due to the intense pressure of work, family, etc. Yoga is a simple and effective solution to this stressful life. After recognizing the health benefits of Yoga, people around the world fell in love with this ancient gift.
Yoga in India and outside India has become the most preferred means of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as it promotes flexibility, body shape, and enjoy a stress-free lifestyle.
Countries like the USA have adopted yoga in their healthcare clinical settings because the majority of studies have reported its positive outcome if used in healthcare practices.
Prevalence of yoga in the United States of America
During the early 1800s and 1900s, people traveled to learn Yoga in India. While yoga masters from India traveled toward the west and attracted attention and followers.
The official spreading of yoga began in 1893 when Swami Vivekananda addressed the Parliament of Religions in Chicago and told the world about yoga and how Yoga in India is practiced. He also told people about the universality of the world’s religion.
In the early twentieth century, Yoga was accepted widely in the USA and impressed the health-conscious people. It also worked as the antidote of the stressful lifestyle due to modern, urban, and metropolitan life.
People also found it the way to connect to the spiritual world without having to compromise the “productive capitalist base upon which Americans stake their futures.
Richar Hittleman was the disciples of Ramana Maharshi. He returned to New York in 1950 after completing his education in Yoga in India. He took many initiatives to spread Yoga in America.
According to Yoga Journal, in 2016 there were 36.7 million yoga practitioners while in 2012 there were 20.4 million in America.
Prevalence of yoga in the United Kingdom
In the mid-twentieth century, yoga was accepted as the remedy to public health and well-being as taught to middle-class women. Some of them also accepted Yoga as spiritual exploration.
In 2016 Yoga became one of the most searched words in Google and business reached 812 million euros.There were nearly 2.5 million yoga practitioners in Britain in year 2004.
Prevalence of yoga in Australia
In the 1920s Australians started searching for yoga and adopted it in 1967. In 1950 Sydney Yoga center was established and after 5 years Melbourne also followed.
In 2016, Yoga became a very popular thing in Australia and about 2 million people practiced yoga alone in 2016. It became the most popular thing to practice and women participation was almost double 15% in 2016 from 8% in 2008.
Prevalence of yoga in Europe
European travelers always preferred Asian countries to travel and adopted Yoga while traveling in India. There are many yoga centers in European countries established by the people who learned Yoga in India.
Prevalence of yoga in China
Yoga spread at a very high rate in China providing 98.68-billion-yuan business in 2009 and by 2014, it had grown to 400 billion yuan. The number of people practicing yoga increased to 10 million in 2014 from 4 million in 20019.
The number of professional yoga coaches in china increased to 225,000 in 2014 from 108,000 in 2009. By the end of 2017, there were 10800 yoga schools in China.
Prevalence of yoga in Japan
Yoga traveled to Japan in 806 AD but its practice started in 1919. Yoga in Japan was somewhat similar to Yoga in India. They also started yoga as a spiritual activity. In 1950, a formal yoga association was formed in Japan.
Prevalence of yoga in Africa
In South Africa, Yoga was taught by Swami Sivananda in the 1940s. And today, yoga has been practiced almost across South African. The Africa yoga project founded in 2006 is now the main source of the people for learning yoga and earning livelihood for many trainers.
Prevalence of yoga in Islamic countries
In 2017, Saudi Arabia allowed the practice of yoga with government certification as a sports activity. Before this, many Islamic countries like Malaysia and Iran banned the practice of yoga.
Prevalence of yoga in India
Yoga was born in India. That is why yoga is said as India’s Gift to the world. As people are becoming more and more health-conscious, Yoga in India is growing very rapidly and this is visible with the increase of numbers of yoga centers.