Yoga has become one of the most practiced health and fitness activities for people all over the world. Many of us now practice yoga every single day. From teaching yoga at school to help improve students’ behavior to professional athletes using yoga for recovery, there are so many amazing benefits of yoga for everyone. And yet, it was only a few years ago that yoga was still a relatively obscure activity, at least for people outside of India. So how did yoga begin and which countries have now embraced it?
This is what you need to know about yoga’s rise to global superstardom.
The Origins Of Yoga
Yoga dates back around five thousand years, originating in the Indus Valley Civilization in India. In those days, practitioners did not do yoga solely for exercise, they considered it to be a way of life. It was seen as a holistic philosophy that enabled people to become more mindful and to increase their body-mind-soul connection. What we think of as yoga today, is just one of the so-called “eight limbs” of yoga, which traditional practitioners call “Asana”. This limb involves practicing different poses and routines, while the other limbs focus on philosophy, meditation, social principles, and mental awareness.
Yoga Around The World
Yoga first spread into Europe and the US around the end of the nineteenth century when it was brought by Indian practitioners emigrating to new countries. As can be seen from the trends in the graph below sourced from Compare The Market Private Health Insurance, yoga is the most searched fitness class in India today, but this is also true in many other countries. There are now estimated to be between 400 and 500 million yoga practitioners worldwide, and the US alone now has over 6,000 studios. Furthermore, thousands of people travel to yoga retreats around the world to take their skills to another level and to qualify as a yoga instructor. Bali, Ibiza, Thailand, and of course India itself, all have huge yoga tourism industries and they are growing bigger every year.
It’s hard to understate the importance of the internet in popularising yoga. Through countless tutorial videos, sharing through social media and even articles like this one, it has been the internet that truly made it a household exercise. Nowadays, you can even join live online classes that a yoga instructor can stream.
The Health Benefits Of Yoga
Yoga has so many incredible benefits for every aspect of our health and wellbeing. Regular yoga practice will help you to become physically stronger, more flexible, and can also help with chronic pain and discomfort. As part of an overall healthy lifestyle, yoga can also help to reduce blood pressure, improve heart health, and boost immunity. Many athletes use yoga to recover quicker from competition or after an intense training session. The benefits have seen many influencers and personalities take up yoga and they have been further promoting it to their followers and fans. With various channels dedicated to the lifestyle, it creates a worldwide phenomenon promoting the benefits of yoga.
Yoga is arguably one of the most successful cultural exports of all time and there are now hundreds of millions of people worldwide who are reaping its benefits. If you are yet to give this ancient practice a go, what are you waiting for? With yoga studios now in every country in the world, you are sure to find one near you.