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11 Amazing Facts about Yoga in India

There are many reasons behind the widespread popularity of yoga. But what many of us might not be aware about are the top facts about yoga in India. Let’s find them out today!

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“Yoga is sacrifice that elevates us, motivates us, actively engages us and does so in a manner that is harmonious to all other living beings.” – The Bhagwad Gita

Yoga is one of the top holistic healing practices followed by millions of people across the world. Owing to its immense range of health benefits and versatility, people have quickly adopted it. It is highly effective, not stressful on the body, and has no negative effects, making it an excellent choice even for children, geriatric, disabled, or sick people. It is also excellent for mental health, calms the mind, and improves mood, memory, concentration and sleep. These are some of the many reasons behind the widespread popularity of yoga. However, let us take a step back and talk about the country that gave us this discipline. Here are some of the top facts about yoga in India.

1. Yoga originated in India

Before yoga was popularized as a form of holistic healing practice and fitness workout all over the world, it was the ancient Indian philosophy, which serves as a guiding beacon for yogis and rishis. The principles of yoga have their roots in kindness, humanity, love and fitness is one part of it. It is a deep and beautiful guiding light, which have been followed by Indian yogis since times immemorial.

2. Yoga is around 5000 years old

The earliest mention of the word ‘Yoga’ dates back to the Rig Veda, which is not only one of the oldest texts in an Indo-Iranian language, it is also one of the oldest religious texts of the world. Experts say that it was likely to have been composed somewhere around 1700–1100 BC. Going by the earliest mentions, it is estimated that the discipline of Yoga was first developed by the ancient Indus-Sarasvati civilization of the Northern India, which makes the discipline at least 5,000 years old. However some researches believe that it dates back further and could be anywhere between 10,000 to 5,000 years old as a practice.

3. The original language of yoga is Sanskrit

Yoga is a Sanskrit word, which means ‘addition’, referring to the sacred unification of the body, mind, soul and spirit of the individual for a deeper understanding of life. The original language in which the earliest mentions of Yoga, as well as its principles are written is Sanskrit. It is an ancient Indian language, which although not widely used today, is known as the mother of languages.

4. Yoga is more than just the poses

The yoga poses or Asanas are merely a part of yoga, which is divided into eight branches. Yoga consists of deep philosophical teachings along with the practice. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyhara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are the eight pillars which come together to form the disciple of yoga. The Asanas or the poses are the third branch of yoga, which is popularly used to denote the practices. While people often confuse yoga with the asanas, yoga is a wholesome holistic discipline, which covers every aspect of life.

5. There are 84 classic asanas

There are various modern and fusion forms of yoga asanas practices around the world. However traced back to the roots, there are eighty four classical asanas, according to traditional yoga. These asanas or poses target specific parts of the body, therefore, offering a holistic healing and fitness workout regime for the whole body and mind. Owing to its flexible nature, these asanas have been modified by various gurus through the generations.

6. Lord Shiva is regarded as the Lord of Yoga

Lord Shiva is regarded as the Lord of Yoga, the creator and the destroyer of the universe. He is often referred as Mahayogi or Adiguru, which mean the great yogi and the ancient original guru of Yoga. He is even depicted in the lotus position. It is said that the asanas of Yoga were derived from the postures and movement of Lord Shiva.

7. Patanjali wrote the first treatises on yoga

The saint Patanjali, is believed to be the first person who wrote down the principles of yoga into a concise form of Yoga Sutras, for others to study and pass on. Before this, the principles of Yoga were mostly propagated orally by the ancient yogis who taught it to their disciples and passed it on. With the formulation of the Yoga Sutra, this knowledge was not only available to all, it was also saved for posterity to study and learn.

8. The oldest yoga school is in Mumbai

The Yoga Institute is the oldest yoga institution of the world, offering classes on amateur as well as yoga teacher training in India. It has its headquarters in Santa Cruz, Mumbai. They have also opened their first international branch in New York, under the tutelage of Shri Yogendra, the travelling Yogi, who taught Hatha Yoga across the world.

9. Swami Vivekandanda introduced yoga to the Western world

The philosophies of the Eastern religion, along with Yoga, were introduced to the United States of America by Swami Vivekananda. In 1983 his lectures on Hinduism and the spirit of yoga at the Chicago World Parliament of Religions had a deep impact, as it marked the beginning of study of Eastern religion and spiritual practices in the West.

10. India has yoga stamps and coins

The government of India has released commemorative stamps and coins to celebrate the discipline of Yoga. The India government has also created a ministry by the name of AYUSH to promote yoga as a form of holistic healing. There are several wellness centers opened by the ministry to help Yoga enthusiasts learn more about the discipline from eminent Sanskrit scholars. They also give away prestigious Yoga awards and conduct workshops in schools and offices across the country as well as internationally.

11. Millions of people visit India for Yoga

Every year millions of Yoga enthusiasts travel to India in search of the answers to their health and spiritual quests. With the excellent yoga teacher training programs, classes, institutes and yoga retreats in India, the country offers its tourists a unique experience of healing and health. Irrespective of issues, expertise and experience, India has a number of amazing options for yoga lovers.

 

Thus, to come to a conclusion…

Today Yoga is one of the most popular forms of holistic healing as well as fitness workout. However, it has its roots deep in a beautiful ancient civilization and culture. A thorough understanding of the yogic philosophy, which is extremely relevant in the contemporary world, is the answer to most of our problems.