Yoga has taken the world by storm. Yoga is an excellent practice for many reasons. It's a way to release held stress, gain flexibility and tone the body. A recent poll estimates that in 2022 40 million people in the US alone practice yoga. The number of participants grew 50% between 2012-2016 alone, with no signs of stopping. 94% of yoga practitioners say they do yoga for wellness-related reasons.
94%?!.. that's huge....and despite the Buti yogi's and cross trainers. Wellness related reasons are obviously the #1 reason to practice yoga.
But who started all of this? When did yoga become such a powerful force in the modern world? Well, let's get clear on what Y O G A truly is. Yoga means "to yoke", union or integration of all parts of you. It's the science and art of consciousness. Yoga isn't a doing activity, it's a state of being while you are doing or not doing. Yoga is YOU in your pure divine nature. If you have every attended a class, yoga retreat or Yoga Training with me then you've heard me say this. If you ask someone in the US or EU if they practice yoga they automatically think poses. If you ask someone in India if they practice yoga they think your asking if they meditate. In the western world yoga means doing asanas (poses), In India yoga refers mostly to meditation.
So there it is, yoga began in India. So if your referring to the meditative practice of yoga that can include poses then yoga began thousands of years ago, roughly 3500-5000 yrs ago. However, if you are referring to the group classes of gymnastics and a sweat inducing workout, then only about 187 years old.
What you see here is that the piecemeal of yoga began 187 years ago. Where modern society looked at what it's needs and values where, (having a good looking ass and doing challenging tricks to impress their friends) and took from yoga what supported that, (ass-ana). Now I completely agree that yogas physical benefits are ahhhmazing. What the modern yogi may or may not realize is that ultimately the body will fall or rise to form based on the inner landscape of the soul.
Ancient yoga of asanas is meant to prepare the body for meditation, and once in meditation the inner world begins to restructure and in turn the body will follow that awareness. There is nothing more satisfying than feeling bliss within and without in a state of yoga. The ancient yoga path deserves a deep look into the when, why and how. To learn more about the yoga timeline, fathers of modern yoga and seemingly unlimited gifts of yoga. Please join my In-person or virtual Yoga Immersion (learn more about yoga) or Yoga Teacher Training (a course to become a flame carrier of the ancient art of yoga).
Until then enjoy every avenue and type of yoga that speaks to you and let it percolate deep into your cells, and when you are ready, yoga will guide you down the path of union and enlightenment. There is no race to get anywhere, just BE HERE NOW! that's yoga.