The beginnings of yoga date back to over 5,000 years ago and were developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India. Yoga was slowly refined and developed by the Brahmans and Rishis (mystic seers). The most renowned of all the Yoga scriptures is the Bhagavad-Gita which was written around 500 B.C.E. Next came the pre-classical stage...kind of a mishmash of ideas, beliefs, and traditions. Classical yoga came about in the second century. Patanjali, of this period, is considered to be "the father of yoga." Post-classical yoga, developed by yoga masters trained in the Patanjali tradition over the next couple of centuries, focused on ways to rejuvenate the body and prolong life. The exploration by these masters into the connection between body and spirit evolved into Tantra Yoga and then Hatha Yoga. Yoga in Sanskrit means union. In the late 1800's and early 1900's yogis began to move westward attracting both attention and followers. This is the considered the beginning of the Modern Period. But the importation of yoga into the West continued at a trickle until Indra Devi opened her yoga studio in Hollywood, California in 1947. Since then, more and more teachers, as well as their students, have popularized Hatha Yoga and it's many schools or styles which focus on various aspects of the practice of yoga.
But why is yoga so important? Why do so many humans (frogs, too!) practice it? Here are a few of the benefits you might expect to gain by training your body and mind with yoga.
1. It lowers stress and improves your mood.
2. Yoga boosts self-confidence.
3. It lowers the risk of injury by making the body more flexible.
4. Yoga helps you lose weight!
5. It improves muscle tone and strength.
6. Yoga lowers your blood pressure and improves your lung capacity when practiced regularly.
7. Yoga improves your posture which generally makes you feel better all over and this improves your sense of well-being.
Yoga may look crazy but it's actually something that's really good for you and not that difficult to learn. The added plus is that is can be practiced outdoors and doesn't require a bunch of equipment.
I think it's safe to say that we all want to make the world a little better. Transformation of the outer world actually begins by transforming the inner self. And yoga is a great way to do that.
Happy summer everyone! And Happy World Yoga Day! I wish you all