10 SHOCKING facts about Yoga
So you’ve played around on a mat and fell in love. But here’s some facts about yoga you probably never knew…
1. Yoga was originally practiced by men only
Yoga’s origins can be traced back thousands of years to ancient India. Here, yoga was primarily a male-only practice, with women being excluded from participating. This was due to the social norms of the time, which restricted women’s access to education and physical activities. It wasn’t until the 20th century that women started practicing yoga in significant numbers.
Hard to believe in this day and age, when most of the classes in the western world are dominated by the female population right?!
2. Yoga was illegal in some parts of India
In the early 20th century, some Indian nationalist leaders began using yoga as a way to promote physical fitness and resistance against British colonial rule. This led to yoga being banned in some parts of India by the British government, who saw it as a threat to their authority.
3. Yoga can be dangerous if practiced improperly
While yoga is generally safe, it can be dangerous if practiced without proper guidance or if a person has pre-existing medical conditions. Common injuries include muscle strains, sprains and even fractures, particularly if the practitioner pushes themselves too hard or tries to do advanced poses before they are ready.
4. Some yoga practitioners claim to have supernatural powers
Some yogis claim to have attained supernatural abilities, such as levitation, mind-reading and control over the elements. However, these claims are not supported by scientific evidence and many in the yoga community reject them as unrealistic or even harmful to the practice’s reputation.
5. Yoga can be a billion-dollar industry
Yoga has become a booming industry in the West, with yoga studios, clothing, accessories and retreats generating billions of dollars in revenue each year. While this has helped make yoga more accessible to a wider audience, it has also led to concerns about the commercialization of a spiritual practice and cultural appropriation.
6. Yoga has been used to treat PTSD
Studies have shown that practicing yoga can help alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans and other trauma survivors. Yoga’s emphasis on breathing, relaxation and mindfulness can help reduce anxiety and improve emotional regulation.
7. Yoga can help reduce inflammation
Chronic inflammation has been linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Studies have shown that a regular yoga practice can help reduce inflammation in the body by reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation.
8. Yoga can improve sexual function
Regular yoga practice has been found to improve sexual function in both men and women. Yoga’s emphasis on mindfulness, body awareness, and relaxation can help reduce stress and improve blood flow, which can enhance sexual arousal and performance.
9. Yoga can be a form of cultural appropriation
While yoga has become popular around the world, some argue that its mainstream adoption by non-Hindus is a form of cultural appropriation. Critics argue that the commercialization of yoga and the erasure of its religious and cultural roots is disrespectful to the practice’s origins and ignores the contributions of Indian yogis and spiritual leaders.
10. Yoga can be a form of activism
In recent years, some yoga practitioners have used their practice as a form of activism to promote social and political causes, such as climate change, racial justice, and gender equality. By using yoga as a platform for social change, these practitioners are challenging traditional notions of yoga as an apolitical, inward-focused practice.
If you want to find out more, check out our 200-hour yoga teacher training, or if you are a certified teacher already, expand your knowledge and skillset, whilst boosting your confidence in teaching with the famous 100-hour YTT.