What is yoga? …

Written by Eric Ulchakere

May 20, 2020

A brief history, and health benefits

I’m going to be honest with you…I didn’t really think yoga was a hard exercise until very recently. I remember talking to a friend a while back. I asked her if she wanted to go on a run later that day, and she said no thanks—she didn’t like running. She preferred doing yoga, which she did a few times a week.

To me, doing yoga and going on a run sounded like very different things. I thought that running had to be the more serious, strenuous exercise. Then my other friend had me go to a one hour-long session of yoga at a studio and I was sore for days in places I didn’t know I could feel sore. So now I know that yoga is a serious exercise, I thought I’d share some of the cool history behind yoga, as well as the health benefits the (very intense!) exercise can offer you.

Although popularized in the Western world in the last century, yoga has existed for thousands of years. According to this article, yoga is a “5,000-year-old system of mental and physical practices originating in India, which includes philosophy, meditation, breath work, lifestyle and behavior principles, and physical exercise.” Basically, there’s yoga as an exercise, and there’s yoga as a holistic lifestyle. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where yoga was first created, because there’s records of different peoples practicing yoga in Ancient India.

Besides its rich history, yoga has really excellent health benefits. According to this Harvard article, yoga helps promote a better body image, becoming a more mindful eater, helps weight loss and weight loss maintenance, enhances overall fitness, and has important cardiovascular benefits. On top of that, yoga can help reduce stress.

I know this time of year can get pretty crazy, and a mind and body refresh might be exactly what you need. So get out a mat and get your yoga on—it might just be the exercise you need!

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