Yoga today has become a practice that billions around the world follow. But just a decade ago, it was a word that people confused with the word ‘yogurt”. However, today yoga statistics show that 15% of Americans have done yoga in the last 6 months. Following up with this the types of yoga are increasing day by day and it begs us to ask one important question- is it actually helpful or just becoming commercial?
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What is yoga?
Yoga refers to a collection of spiritual, physical and mental practices. It first originated in ancient India but has now spread worldwide. However, in the Western world, yoga has become a bit more modernized and is seen mostly has an exercise and a way of maintaining good body structure and posture.
What are the benefits of yoga?
The possible benefits of yoga include:
- Improved muscle strength and tone
- Maintenance of respiratory and cardiac health
- Weight reduction
- Increased stamina and energy
- Improved flexibility
- Increased sex drive
- Calmer mind and reduced stress level
For women, it has many other benefits. Know more here.
What are the new types of yoga that are emerging?
Yoga is a flexible practice, not just in terms of posture and exercise, but in terms of the art as well. There are no particular rigid rules that have to be followed and people often try to combine yoga with their passions, or with newer activities. People often come up with their own renditions and personal spins on yoga.
For example, there is now a type of yoga which is done with snowshoes on. There are even classes that allow you to explore yoga and marijuana together in order to enhance the experience. Likewise, in some kinds, yoga is done while drinking beer. In addition there is hip-hop yoga, karaoke yoga and tantrum yoga (which combines poses with primal screaming). Not only that, nowadays there versions of yoga done with animals such as cats, goats, dogs, horses and even bunnies.
Is this actually helpful or is it commercialization?
With such different types of yoga, it leaves us wondering whether all these types of yoga are just a money-making scam. In fact, in 2014, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, being a dedicated yogi himself, spoke out about it. He even went as far as launching a campaign to reclaim yoga as Indian and to reinforce its origins to Hinduism.
However, Andrea R. Jain, associate professor of religious studies at Indiana University, has a different opinion. He says that even though yoga has been around since thousands of years, it has always been malleable and open to interpretation.
He says that with yoga is often advertised with pictures showing a slim white girl doing various yoga poses. This often makes people think that they do not fit into that category and thus, yoga is not something they can join and enjoy. However, the addition of animals, marijuana and tantrums makes yoga seem more inclusive and encourages many different people to take it up. This is especially true for men. Furthermore, the addition of these different aspects into yoga can help people explore their passion and yoga together. This helps to make their physical and mental experience more positive and leads them to study yoga even deeper. In this case, it seems like a much better idea to include these different aspects into yoga.