According to some, the practice of yoga is 25,000 years old. Modern archeologists can trace yoga back more than 4,000 years. Today, millions of people all over the world practice yoga in various forms.
The uninitiated might think yoga is a kind of cult invading Mainstream America. In fact, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently sparked a rather exciting argument reported by USA TODAY, that yoga is leading people away from the church. (Some Christians who like yoga are finding an acceptable common ground in something they’re calling “Chroga.”)
All of this begs the question: Is yoga capturing the minds of otherwise ordinary citizens for some nefarious purpose? Will there be a global sit-in against weight training in the near future? Do yogis bow reverently before some all-powerful guru to forward their own yoga practice?
Let’s take a look. First of all, yoga is not a religion. It is a technology, a discipline similar to martial arts. Since yoga’s been practiced for thousands of years by millions of people, the results of particular exercises and meditation techniques have become predictable. Yet the way each individual perfects his or her own yoga practice makes it an art as well.
Yoga is essentially a science of the mind. An ancient system, it includes physical and mental exercises designed to strengthen and balance the body, rejuvenate the nervous system, and concentrate the mind. Yoga integrates body and mind so that you can experience inner peace. To achieve this, yoga employs a number of powerful tools: physical practice, various body postures, breathing techniques, mental concentration, meditation, and sometimes even Mantras. I think it is the mantras which cause the most concern among fundamentalists of other doctrines, though some even complain of “Sun Salutations,” and would prefer their constituents to practice “Son Salutations.”
Because yoga works “wholistically”—on your mind, body, and spirit—you’ll gain more confidence and self-discipline as you continue. You’ll also become more relaxed. As you learn to work with your mind and body, you’ll feel more independent and in control. Also, by tuning in to your body, you learn how to listen to your body rather than your mind. Yoga even encourages positive thoughts. Cool, huh?
Regardless how deeply involved you get in your practice of yoga, you can improve your results by using a prop like the Three Minute Egg. Ergonomically designed for the human body, it has tapered ends and rounded edges. Fit them wherever you need a little support, a little pressure, or a little guiding hand. The Three Minute Egg makes old-fashioned yoga blocks seem so square.