Essay on Yoga Misconceptions

1235 Words 5 Pages
“Yoga is not a religion. It has no creed or fixed set of beliefs, nor is there a prescribed God-like figure to be worshipped in a particular manner” (American Yoga Association 1). The common misconception is that yoga is a religion. In actuality, “the whole school of Yoga is built on three main structures: exercise, breathing, and meditation” (Christensen 13). Though yoga has been around for centuries, the modern world has altered the way this originally humble practice is performed, culturally stereotyped, and religiously viewed.

The practice of yoga dates back thousands of years and is traditionally an intimate practice between a disciple and teacher. “The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning to bind, join,
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Yoga also experienced a shift around 1500 A.D., which brought the primary focus of the practice to breathing and poses and away from its spiritual and self-awareness roots. Even with these great leaps in popularity, yoga did experience a decline up until 1893, when Swami Vivekananda addressed the World Parliament of Religions. He spoke about the history, teachings, and practice of yoga in an attempt to educate the western world on yoga. His speech paved the way for western practice of this eastern tradition.

Yoga is mainly viewed as a healthy practice of physical postures as well as breathing techniques, but many are unaware that there are many different types of Yoga. These types range from subtle poses and breathing to more intense sessions of intellectual investigation. Although many people have mixed feelings towards yoga, it is hard to argue the mental and physical benefits of the exercise. Yoga is not only beneficial to the physical body; it is also equally helpful in reducing stress levels or dealing with depression. Also, studies have found that practicing Yoga actually helps in preventing high blood pressure, back pain and arthritis. The American Yoga Association does state that women who are pregnant should not practice any strenuous yoga exercises but should focus on quality breathing techniques. There are six popular forms or types of yoga. “Hatha” focuses on breathing techniques, postures, and physical movements while “Raja

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