Yoga is a sacred ritual in Indian culture where it has been practiced for over 5,000 years. It became popularized in the west during the 1980s, where it soon blossomed into a $16 billion-dollar industry. Now combining a traditional and modern perspective, yoga is an individual interpretation which makes it a uniquely personal practice.
The Roots of Yoga
Due to its ability to bolster mental health and alleviate anxieties and stress, yoga has recently seen a boost in popularity in countries going through change, trauma, and political friction. The yoga philosophy of mindfulness and a meditative state has become mainstream with more than 37 million Americans practicing today. Because of this surge, the number of studios, online courses, and free yoga videos is predicted to skyrocket even higher in the next year.
Amidst the gradually expanding yoga community, the conversations around mental health have grown as well. This has inspired a self-care movement throughout the social media platforms. In 2016, 56% of Americans started practicing yoga for stress release. This makes the foundation of yoga currently an emotional one, with people flocking to their mats for release and renewal.
With its heightened popularity, it’s not surprising that the entire month of September is dedicated to yoga. However, it’s not necessarily because of the poses, tradition, or modern view, but for how it brings people together. Yoga has the power to unite, to shed light on vulnerability, and welcome the emotions that come forth. Each time we flow we learn more about ourselves. Yoga is a guru and therapist all in one. Giving us the permission to trust ourselves, to listen, and find the answers within our movement.
The roots of yoga are not only spiritual but scientific.
Health Benefits of Yoga
Our well-being is engaged with each pose, transition, and moment of stillness. The mind benefits each time we flow – significantly improving mood and reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Yoga is one of the few stress-relief tools that have a positive effect on all parts of the body. Even our second brain, the gut, benefits. As our kefir helps regulate the good bacteria in your belly, the twisting and turning actions of certain positions can help move things along as well.
People who maintain a regular yoga practice are also likely to experience:
- Improved posture
- Better breathing
- Increased flexibility
- Relief from chronic pain
- Better digestion
- Lowered blood pressure
- Weight loss/weight maintenance
The next time you step on your mat, take a moment to acknowledge why you did.