5 Things you didn’t Know About Yoga
The development of yoga can be traced back over 5000 years and there’s good reason it’s stood the test of time. The benefits of yoga are multiple – it improves flexibility and body strength, aids sleep and relaxation and has meditative qualities that strengthen the mind. Many people will say yoga is not for everyone, but with so many forms and ways of practicing yoga I think it can be for everyone should they so wish. And wishing means embracing all that yoga has to offer. Yoga strengthens body, spirit and soul and whether you currently practice or not, here are 5 things you might not know about it.
- The beginnings of pre-classical yoga started in India more than 5000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred texts, the Rig Veda. The Vedas were a collection of texts containing songs, mantras and rituals to be used by Brahmans, the Vedic priests. Yoga masters brought yoga to the West in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
- Yoga can make you a better learner, or at least better at concentrating. A 2009 study of 300 students found that those who practised yoga performed better in their academic studies and those with low levels of stress performed better than those with high stress. So taking time out for your yoga practice is a productive use of time and especially important when you’re super busy!
- The number 108 is significant, hence, the ‘108 sun salutations challenge’. Buddhist malas (prayer beads) traditionally have 108 beads, said to signify the 108 human passions that Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist deity, assumed when ‘telling the beads’. There are also said to be 108 energy lines in the body.
- There are physical benefits to chanting ‘om’. Chanting is a very personal thing and many people practice yoga without chanting, either because they don’t feel comfortable or it isn’t part of their practice. Chanting ‘om’ has a physical effect on us as the vibrations soothe the body. The practice also helps with breathing technique.
- You can do yoga anywhere, and I mean ANYWHERE. You don’t need anything to do yoga apart from yourself, but if you fancy an adventure you can try surf yoga (or SUP, stand up paddle board yoga), anti-gravity yoga or yoga in the snow.
Yoga teachers will always say that yoga isn’t a competition. However, if you’re the competitive type and therefore usually stick to sports, yoga can be just as satisfying to supplement your existing exercise regime because it’s hard not to get competitive with yourself. Yoga becomes a journey to self-improvement of all kinds – physical, mental and spiritual. You deserve ‘me time’.