5 Surprising Facts about Yoga

5 Surprising Facts about Yoga

    1. Most of the yoga postures, as we know them today, haven’t been put in writing until the 18th-century CE.

      The word Asana means actually “seat” in Sanskrit. We call yoga posture ASANA, the term appeared in the ancient literature for the first time in the 5th century CE. There are no particular yoga postures described in Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, only 15 of them in Hatha Pradipika dated back to the 15th century CE – each of them is a sitting asana (Swastikasana, Gomukhasana, Virasana, Kurmasana, Kukkutasana, Uttana Kurmaasana, Dhanurasana, Matsyasana, Pashchimatanasana, Mayurasana, Shavasana, Siddhasana, Padmasana, Simhasana, Bhadrasana), and only 32 asanas in Gheranda Samhita written in the 18the century. The last mentioned text consists sitting and standing postures.

    2. Even in the 1930s, women were not allowed to do Yoga.

      Yoga was then strictly male activity, which is related to the fact that Indian culture has been patriarchal for centuries. Indra Devi, born as Eugenie V. Peterson (1899-2002) was probably the first popular female yoga teacher in the world. Around 1937, she asked Krishnamacharya, known as the father of modern yoga, to study with him. He strongly refused with an argument that he doesn’t have any classes for women. Allegedly only after Maharaja of Mysore spoke for her, Krishnamacharya agreed.

    3. Yoga workout can’t make you lose weight. What it does, however, is to make you feel good about yourself and not turn to comfort food.

      Many studies showed that yoga is just not intense enough to increase your heartbeat to sufficient heart rate. Its dynamic sequences resemble a cardiovascular workout, but the heart just doesn’t quicken enough. For example, practicing Ashtanga has been proofed to elevate your heart BPM from 70 to 95 beats. To burn fat you need to reach 130 BPM and higher zone. Yoga though decreases stress in practitioner’s mind, yogis feel relaxed and are able to control their urges to eat whatever comes by. In the end, it can really reduce your weight, but in its very special way.

    4. Yoga practice successfully treats anxiety and depression.

      Studies show that yoga is able to raise the concentration of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system. Low GABA levels are linked with depression. Several studies zeroed in on the matter since 2000, when brain imaging made it possible to track GABA levels in yoga practitioners’ nervous systems. The results were startling. Scientists recorded significant raise of given transmitter among yoga study group and later concluded that yoga improves human emotional life. It’s capable of smoothing our extreme emotions and feel content with our lives.

    5. Krishnamacharya, early mentioned as the father of modern yoga (1888-1989) agreed to perform “siddhi” power in a laboratory and failed.

      Sometimes around 1955 the guru let himself get hooked up with electrodes and was about to stop his heart. It was a scientific experiment led by former Yogananda fellow and later the doctor of psychology, Basu Kumar Bagchi. Despite massive heartbeat reduction, the beat was still there.

    Sources:
    Yoga Asana sessions increase brain GABA levels: a pilot study.
    Science
    of Yoga: Risks and Rewards

    Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swatmarama – pdf