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.

36 million people in the US regularly practice yoga

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

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

3. 72% of yoga practitioners are women.

72% of yoga practitioners are women

4. People aged between 30 and 49 years old practice yoga more than any other age group.

People aged between 30 and 49 years old practice yoga more than any other age group

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

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

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

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

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

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.[1]

8. There are more than 100 styles of yoga!

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.

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

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!

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

There are now over 18,000 registered yoga schools

11. There are close to one billion #yoga posts on Instagram!

There are close to one billion yoga posts on Instagram!

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

12. 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.

Research has shown that practicing yoga can delay aging

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

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!

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.[2]

1. Yoga is over 5,000 years old.

Yoga is over 5,000 years old

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

The word 'yoga' comes from the Sanskrit language and literally means 'union'
Did you know?

21st June is International Yoga Day.[3]

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

Yoga is one of the oldest physical disciplines in the world

4. “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.

Yoga is not a religion. It is a science – 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.[4]

5. 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.

Yoga was introduced to America in the 18th century

6. 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.

Yoga was originally practiced as a form of healing

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

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

8. Yoga is now actively promoted as a sport.

Yoga is now actively promoted as a sport

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

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.[5]

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

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

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

The first yoga mat was created in 1982 by Angela Farmer

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.

1. Yoga can work every muscle in your body.

Yoga can work every muscle in your body

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

People practice yoga 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.

2. 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.

Yoga boosts your immune system
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.[6]

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

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.

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

There have been a number of studies into 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.

Those suffering from anxiety could benefit from practicing yoga

5. 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, helping you feel more calm and in control.

Practicing yoga can help you feel less stressed!

6. 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.

Yoga benefits individuals who suffer from lower back pain

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

Yoga can improve the cognitive functioning of patients with schizophrenia

8. 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.

Yoga can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease

9. 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.

Yoga in the workplace can help to improve productivity

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

Yoga can help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease

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

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.

12. Practicing yoga can help you lose weight.

Discoveries by the Department of Nursing Research and Translational Science found that yoga helped respondents to eat more mindfully, and the support of the yoga community helped to maintain long term weight loss.

Practicing yoga can help you lose weight

13. Hot yoga can improve your physical fitness.

Hot yoga can improve your physical fitness

Hot yoga, which is held in a room that can reach temperatures of 105 Fahrenheit, has so many physical and mental health benefits.

However there are a number of risks that it’s important to know.

14. 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 associated symptoms and experts called for further research to validate the findings.

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

15. 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.

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

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

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.

17. Yoga can give you a better orgasm!

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.[7]

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

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.

1. Yoga has 84 basic Asanas or poses.

Yoga has 84 basic Asanas or poses

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

Mysore yoga invites you to simply turn up and practice whichever pose you enjoy
  • The Lotus Pose
  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Half Lord of the Fishes
  • Head to Knee Forward Bend
  • The Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana
  • The Crane Pose
  • The Supported Shoulderstand or Salamba Sarvangasana
  • Trikonasana or Triangle Pose
  • Balasana or Child’s Pose
  • Standing Forward Bend or Uttanasana
The top 10 most popular yoga poses

4. 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.

Performing ‘power poses’ can improve your self-esteem
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.[8]

5. 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%)
The most dangerous yoga pose

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

Fun Facts about Yoga

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

1. The longest recorded yoga lesson lasted 56 hours!

The longest recorded yoga lesson lasted 56 hours!

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

Naked yoga is growing in popularity across the US
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.[9]

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

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

George Harrison from The Beatles was a famous yogi

4. Only 3% of Instagram posts about yoga refer to the traditional teachings.

Only 3% of Instagram posts about yoga refer to the traditional teachings

The in-depth study in 2019, found that the majority of captions supporting yoga images were about good feelings and appearance, rather than the traditions of the practice.

It also concluded that 70% of posts featured women in minimal clothing!

5. 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.

Everyone has a dominant nostril

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

The good people of Oregon practice yoga with goats!

Goats are seen as therapy animals, that offer affection and comfort to people who need it. Though it started in Oregon the practice has spread across the world.

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

Laughter yoga is growing in popularity

8. Yoga can boost your ego!

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 (2021). Largest yoga lesson [Online]. Available from: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-yoga-class [Accessed 20 March 2021].
  2. Basavaraddi, I. (see footnote 1)
  3. United Nations (2021). International Day of Yoga 21 June [Online]. Available from: https://www.un.org/en/observances/yoga-day [Accessed 20 March 2021].
  4. Siddha Yoga (2021). Lord Shiva [Online]. Available from: https://www.siddhayoga.org/lord-shiva [Accessed 21 March 2021].
  5. Holistic Healing Therapy (2021). The Origins of Yoga [Online]. Available from: http://holistichealingtherapy.co.uk/yoga/yoga-history/ [Accessed 21 March 2021].
  6. Patel, S. (2021). The Origins of Yoga [Online]. Chopra. Available from: https://www.chopra.com/articles/breathing-for-life-the-mind-body-healing-benefits-of-pranayama [Accessed 21 March 2021].
  7. Harvard Health Publishing (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 21 March 2021].
  8. Filippenko, A. (2017). Practice your favourite yoga asanas in these museums around Europe [Online]. http://museeum.com. Available from: https://www.museeum.com/practice-your-favourite-yoga-asanas-in-these-museums-around-europe/ [Accessed 21 March 2021].
  9. Best Health (2015). Yoga With Your Dog: Is Doga Really a Thing? [Online]. Available from: https://www.besthealthmag.ca/article/yoga-with-your-dog-is-doga-really-a-thing/ [Accessed 21 March 2021].