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Yoga Facts

57 Amazing Yoga Facts: The History, Benefits, Poses, (Fun!)

Statistics about yoga show that it’s growing in popularity every year with more and more money being spent on classes, clothing and equipment. Around the world people are learning the benefits and embracing the practice.

General facts about yoga

1. 36 million people in the US regularly practice yoga.

2. Americans practicing yoga has grown by over 50% in the last four years.

3. 72% of yoga practitioners are women.

4. The majority of yoga practitioners are under the age of 44.

5. Male yoga practitioners are known as ‘yogis’, female practitioners are known as ‘yoginis’.

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6. One in three Americans have tried yoga at least once.

7. Over 15% of Americans have practiced yoga in the last 6 months.

8. Yoga is the most commonly used complementary health approach in the US.

This is closely followed by meditation, which is also growing. Since 2012 the number of people practicing meditation has tripled!

Did You Know?

The largest yoga class was held in India and involved 100,984 participants.

9. There are more than 100 styles of yoga!

These types include Iyengar, Hatha as well as other styles rising in popularity such as Aerial Yoga and Hot Yoga.

10. In 2016 there were over 52,000 registered yoga teachers.

If you were wondering how many yoga studios there were in the US, the answer is, a huge number and it’s growing!

11. There are now over 18,000 registered yoga schools.

12. At any one time there are over 60 million yoga posts trending on Instagram!

New yoga accounts pop up every day on the social media platform, with yoga brand Lululemon having 3 million followers.

13. Research has shown that practicing yoga can delay aging.

The study published by the US National Library of Medicine followed 96 individuals and looked at different aspects of aging.

They discovered that yoga combined with meditation, that has its own range of benefits, helped to delay the aging process and prevent the onset of many different diseases.

14. Americans spend $16 billion on yoga classes and equipment each year.

The global yoga market is just as epic, it’s now believed to be worth $80 billion, the equivalent of 15 billion Big Macs!

15. Teaching yoga is becoming an increasingly popular career choice.

Data shows that there are more yoga teachers than ever before, in fact for every one yoga teacher there are two more enrolled in a yoga teacher training program.

History of yoga facts

Though yoga is popular today worldwide, there’s really nothing new about it! It’s a practice with a rich history and an interesting story to tell.

Did You Know?

Yoga originated in India.

16. Yoga is over 5,000 years old.

17. The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit language and literally means ‘union’.

Did You Know?

21st June is International Yoga Day.

18. Yoga is one of the oldest physical disciplines in the world.

19. “Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul” – Amit Ray.

Though historically there are links to both Hinduism and Buddhism, yoga is not a religious practice, with Amit Ray, a renowned yoga, meditation and mindfulness speaker, referring to it instead as a ‘science’.

Did You Know?

Lord Shiva is deemed to be the ultimate lord of yoga.

20. Yoga was introduced to America in the 18th century.

Swami Vivekananda, a Bengali intellect, is responsible for introducing the practice of yoga and meditation to the people of Chicago, where his ideas were seen as new and revolutionary.

21. Yoga was originally practiced as a form of healing.

Healing yoga aims to look deep within the individual and use various techniques to not only treat their physical health but also their emotional and mental wellbeing.

Yoga is being introduced in to many medical centers as a complementary therapy alongside other treatments.

22. Yoga classes used to be just for men, women were not invited until 1937!

23. Yoga is now actively promoted as a sport.

There is even talk that yoga could become a competitive sport at the Olympics after the US successfully registered the discipline as an official sport.

24. Yoga is considered to be one of the most successful products of globalization.

Did You Know?

The word ‘yoga’ first appeared in the Katha Upanishad, an ancient religious text.

25. Yoga practitioners used to use grass or animal skin as a mat for their postures.

26. The first yoga mat was created in 1982 by Angela Farmer who used carpet underlay to create a sticky surface while teaching yoga.

Benefits of yoga facts

If you’re wondering whether yoga is helpful or harmful then take a look at the benefits yoga can have on your physical and mental wellbeing.

27. Yoga can work every muscle in your body.

Don’t underestimate the power of yoga, it can do so much!

Yoga practitioners practice it for a whole number of reasons, to increase their flexibility, tone up, improve their posture and build strength.

They also practice yoga for their mental wellbeing, to reduce stress and live more mindfully.

28. Yoga boosts your immune system.

According to a recent Norwegian study, which looked at the health benefits of yoga in relation to the immune system, findings showed that practicing yoga caused molecular changes that encouraged the circulation of immune cells.

Did You Know?

“If you breathe well, you will live longer.”
Historically yoga practitioners believed we only have a limited number of breaths in life, so we should make life last longer by taking slow, deep breaths.

29. Yoga classes twice each week can help to ease depression.

Findings published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that Iyengar yoga, which focusses on deep breathing, was used in the study and helped to treat the symptoms of depression.

30. Those suffering from anxiety could benefit from practicing yoga.

There have been a number of studies in to the impact of yoga practice on symptoms of anxiety.

A systematic review of all the results suggested positive outcomes, particularly for those suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, however more research is needed to determine in what way it can help.

31. Practicing yoga can help you feel less stressed!

The Department of Physical Education at Banaras Hindu University discovered that practicing yoga can lower your pulse rate and blood pressure, reducing the body’s need to take in more oxygen, in turn helping you feel more calm and in control.

32. Yoga benefits individuals who suffer from lower back pain.

With 80% of Americans experiencing back pain at some time in their life, complementary therapies are becoming more widely used.

33. Yoga can improve the cognitive functioning of patients with schizophrenia.

34. Yoga can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Research funded by the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation found that yoga combined with meditation could delay cognitive impairment, typically the first indicator of the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

35. Yoga in the workplace can help to improve productivity.

A team at Bangor University found that regular yoga sessions within the workplace helped to reduce back problems and also the number of sick days taken by employees.

36. Yoga can help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

37. Diabetes patients can help to control their condition by regularly practicing yoga.

Bidar Institute of Medical Sciences found, during a 2015 study, that blood glucose levels drop by 10% in those who practiced yoga for ten days in a row and also attended talks about the correlation between yoga and diabetes.

38. Practicing yoga can help you lose weight.

Discoveries by the Department of Nursing Research and Translational Science at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center found that yoga helped respondents to eat more mindfully and the support of the yoga community helped to maintain long term weight loss.

39. Hot yoga can improve your physical fitness.

Hot yoga, originally known as Bikram yoga, which is held in a room that can reach temperatures of 105 Fahrenheit, is becoming increasingly popular.

However there is research to suggest that it doesn’t have any additional benefits to your health.

40. Yoga can help treat the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India looked at how regular yoga practice could impact the symptoms of OCD.

Results showed a considerable improvement in the symptoms and experts called for further research to validate the findings.

41. Prisoners in India can reduce their sentence by getting top marks in a yoga test.

The study held at a prison in Pune in 2015 used yoga as a way to help inmates improve their mental and physical health.

A reduction in violent crime within the prison was seen following the trial.

42. You’ll get a better night’s sleep if you practice yoga.

According to a study from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 55% of those who practiced yoga regularly said they slept better.

With a growing number of people suffering from sleep disorders, it’s worth a try!

Plus there are certain poses that are particularly good for inducing sleep.

43. Yoga can give you a better orgasm!

Did You Know?

Practicing yoga can actually improve a woman’s sex life. Research published by Harvard University looked at how regular yoga sessions could impact a woman’s sex life with exciting results! Improvements were seen in desire, arousal, orgasm and general overall satisfaction.

44. Yoga has been shown to help with premature ejaculation.

Like meditation, yoga is a wonderful alternative to medication for premature ejaculation.

A research project in 2007 compared yoga practice with fluoxetine, a drug commonly used for treating the condition.

All patients in the yoga test group showed improvements, however the sample size was small so it was felt that additional research was still required.

Facts about yoga poses

True yogis know that the practice is about more than just the asanas, however there are certain poses that seem to be more powerful than others.

45. Yoga has 84 basic Asanas or poses.

46. You don’t always need to follow instructions. Mysore yoga invites you to simply turn up and practice whichever pose you enjoy.

47. According to DOYOUYOGA.com, below are the top 10 most popular yoga poses:

  1. The Lotus Pose
  2. Downward Facing Dog
  3. Half Lord of the Fishes
  4. Head to Knee Forward Bend
  5. The Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana
  6. The Crane Pose
  7. The Supported Shoulderstand or Salamba Sarvangasana
  8. Trikonasana or Triangle Pose
  9. Balasana or Child’s Pose
  10. Standing Forward Bend or Uttanasana

48. Performing ‘power poses’ can improve your self-esteem!

Research conducted in 2017 showed how ‘power poses’, which are expansive and open positions which take up a lot of space, helped to boost the self esteem of respondents compared to standing poses.

The study also showed an increase in energy levels.

Did You Know?

Museums now run yoga classes in their galleries. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya in Barcelona was one of the first museums to open their doors to yogis and now many more have followed. The thought is that it reestablishes museums as a place for reflection as opposed to simply tourist attractions.

49. During a 2012 Yoga in Australia study, headstand was reported as the most dangerous yoga pose (7.4%), followed by:

  • Shoulder Stands (6.3%)
  • Lotus and Half Lotus Poses (5.3%)
  • Forward Bends (4.8%)
  • Backward Bends (3.1%)
  • Handstands (2.5%)

However don’t be put off by the dangerous poses, as there lots of poses that are great for beginners.

Fun facts about yoga

There are lots of fascinating and fun things to learn about yoga!

50. 91 year old Bernice Mary Bates is the world’s oldest yoga teacher.

51. Naked yoga is growing in popularity across the US.

Naked yoga is thought to build body confidence and acceptance.

Historically yoga was practiced with the maximum amount of skin exposed, so though it can be seen as risqué, it essentially follows the original principles of the practice.

Did You Know?

You can downward dog with your dog! Dog yoga known as ‘doga’ involves your usual yoga practice and encourages your furry friend to join in too.

52. George Harrison from The Beatles was a famous yogi!

He incorporated the beliefs of yoga in to his music, and some feel he was responsible for a rise in the practice in the US in the 70s.

53. Instagram posts about yoga receive more likes if practitioners are wearing minimal clothing.

54. Everyone has a dominant nostril. When you practice yoga you can adopt breathing techniques to regulate your nostrils to help with issues such as will power and concentration.

55. The good people of Oregon practice yoga with goats!

Goats are seen as therapy animals, that offer affectionate and comfort to people who need it.

Though it started in Oregon the practice has spread across the world.

56. Laughter yoga is growing in popularity. You laugh for no reason to help release feelings of stress and depression.

57. Yoga can boost your ego!

Though the essential principles of yoga encourage you to ignore your ego and connect with your true self, new research conducted in Germany found that yoga in fact gave users a sense of superiority!

So now you know all the facts about the amazing benefits of the practice, why not get started with a few poses ideal for beginners.

References

  1. Guinness World Records. (2018) Largest yoga lesson. [Online] Available from: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-yoga-class [Accessed 7 July 2019].
  2. Basavaraddi, I. V. (2015) Yoga: Its Origin, History and Development. [Online] Available from: https://www.mea.gov.in/in-focus-article.htm?25096/Yoga+Its+Origin+History+and+Development [Accessed 7 July 2019].
  3. SYDA Foundation. (2019) In Honor of Lord Shiva. [Online] Available from: https://www.siddhayoga.org/lord-shiva [Accessed 7 July 2019].
  4. Dr. P. Yoga. (2018) Yoga Education. [Online] Available from: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=aWFRDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA7 [Accessed 8 July 2019].
  5. Patel, S. (2018) Breathing for Life: The Mind-Body Healing Benefits of Pranayama. [Online] Available from: https://www.theyogaspace.co.uk/blog/PostId/169/breathing-for-life-the-mind-body-healing-benefits-of-pranayama [Accessed 8 July 2019].
  6. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. (2010) In the journals: Yoga may help improve women’s sexual function. [Online] Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/yoga-may-help-improve-womens-sexual-function [Accessed 8 July 2019].
  7. Filippenko, A. (2017) Practice your favourite yoga asanas in these museums around Europe. [Online] Available from: https://www.museeum.com/practice-your-favourite-yoga-asanas-in-these-museums-around-europe/ [Accessed 8 July 2019].
  8. Best Health Magazine. (2019) Yoga With Your Dog: Is Doga Really a Thing?. [Online] Available from: http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/yoga/yoga-with-your-dog-is-doga-really-a-thing/ [Accessed 8 July 2019].

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2 comments

  1. It is always interesting to read something new, especially when you read about what you like. I have been practicing yoga for a long time, but I have never been interested in its history or stats, thanks for these informative stats.

  2. It’s awesome that yoga can help you practice breathing techniques that will help with power and concentration. My wife and I have been wanting to live a more active lifestyle, and yoga seems like a great way to do that. We’ll be sure to look further into our options for doing yoga to gain more power.

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