Yoga – why it has become one of the world’s most popular physical activities

If you have never tried yoga, you might be forgiven for thinking that it is just a Hollywood fad. However, it is so much more than that! Yoga is a very popular and very effective natural health therapy that can be done by anybody of any age. It is low impact and low risk, and ideal for those who want to treat their body well with natural health therapy rather than western medicine.

The history of yoga

Yoga is a practice that was invented in India over 5,000 years ago. The word "yoga" roughly translates to meaning "joining" or "uniting", and is name as such due to it’s aim being to unite the body and mind. The traditional yoga practiced by Indian Hindu’s was much more intense and disciplined than the form that we see in modern western practices. Traditional yoga was used as a tool to help to reach high spiritual goals, to become closer to god. The yoga that we see in the western world is only a part of the traditional yoga – a part called Asana yoga, which focuses on the physical aspects of the practice, rather than the spiritual. This Asana yoga was first introduced by Swami Vivekananda in the 19th century. He introduced yoga into American society in the hope that it would help this capitalist nation to discover a spiritual well-being.

Since it’s introduction, yoga has grown steadily in popularity, with it receiving a big boost in the mainstream in the 1990’s, when it became a popular health therapy for Hollywood celebrities. These days, yoga is a billion dollar industry, with over 16.5 million Americans partaking in this health therapy every year. Yoga shows little sign of losing popularity, with yoga studios in almost every neighborhood, and new variations constantly being invented.

What are the benefits?

Yoga is a natural health therapy that promotes the use of stretching poses, breathing, and mental focus in order to relieve stress. If you find that you are constantly in a state of stress and tension due to your demanding job or home duties, then you will benefit greatly from what yoga can provide for you. In your yoga class, you will start off with some very light and gentle stretching, and you will be instructed on breathing techniques. Then, your practitioner will take you through a series of stretching poses, all with appropriate breathing to maximize their effects. The difficulty of the poses will increase during the session, and it is important that you only do what you feel comfortable with. No one will expect you to be an expert straight away! Your strength and flexibility will improve over time, so make sure you keep realistic expectations regarding your skills. At the end of the session, your practitioner will sometimes take you through a meditation, in which you lie on the floor and they guide you through a relaxing meditative state. After all of this, you will most likely feel very light, relaxed and happy. The after effects of this natural health therapy can definitely be addictive!

Yoga really is ideal if you are living a fast-paced lifestyle and your happiness is suffering due to it. The stress and tension that many people live with every day is treatable! Yoga as a natural health therapy is very effective, and offers a range of benefits. You will learn to breath properly which is something that will greatly benefit your health. You will be doing an exercise that will help you to achieve strong muscles and a long, lean look. And you will also be helping to calm your mind and spirit with this relaxing exercise.

Yoga as a natural health therapy is, thankfully, not looked on as a Hollywood fad anymore. Whereas it was dismissed by many early in it’s life in western culture, most people have come to realize that it has amazing health benefits. Anyone from your mother to your doctor might suggest that you try yoga if you lead a stressful life! Yoga is fantastic because it is a gentle exercise that really can be done by anybody. You will see people from all walks of life at a yoga class, from business men to grandmothers to teenagers. Everyone is discovering the benefits of yoga as a natural health therapy and it seems like it is only growing more popular every day. If you have never tried Yoga before, then what are you waiting for? Give it a go, and you will likely be very happy with the results you get – the change in your mind, body and spirit will be huge, and you will most likely become a yoga addict like so many other people around the world!