Facts to Know

  1. Yoga has been practiced in the United States since the late 19th century, but it gained popularity in the 1960s.
  2. According to results of a 2012 survey conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys USA on behalf of Yoga Journal, 20.4 million Americans, or 8.7 percent of U.S. adults, are believed to practice yoga.
  3. Yoga has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety; accordingly, it is often recommended to relieve the pain and anxiety of chronic conditions.
  4. Yoga is thousands of years old. Stone carvings in the Indus Valley depicting yoga positions date back 5,000-plus years.
  5. During your practice, focus on your breathing as well as the positions and stretching of the yogic postures. Breathing is as important a part of yoga as the stretching.
  6. A fundamental tenet of yoga is that the body, mind and spirit are inexorably connected and need to be in a state of balance.
  7. You can work on some of the techniques throughout the day—seated at your desk, in your car, even at the computer.
  8. Since yoga involves weight-bearing postures, the practice is especially beneficial to your musculoskeletal system and may help prevent osteoporosis. It also benefits the organs of the body through the compression and expansion of the abdomen and inversions and rotation of the body in relation to gravity.
  9. Yoga is not a religion, but many of its elements are incorporated into various religious traditions. Practicing yoga won't interfere with your religious practice—and it might enhance it.
  10. Even within hatha yoga, there are various styles and approaches. When looking for a yoga teacher, it's helpful to check out different classes to find the one best suited to your needs.

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