1. Ancient yogis believed we are born with a limited number of breaths.
2. The first book ever was written by yogis. The Rig Veda is the first of the Vedas and contains thousands of hymns and Sanskrit mantras. It is believed to be the oldest known text in the world, dating back to approximately 1500 B.C.
3. Yoga is recognized as a sports discipline in India.
4. The word “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning to yoke or join together. It refers to the yoking of a conscious subject (jiva-atman) with a Supreme Spirit (parama ta man) in order to reach an ecstatic condition—Samadhi, the 8th limb of Patanjali’s 8 Limbed Path.
5. The swastika is a yoga symbol that comes from the Sanskrit term “svastika,” meaning “that which is associated with well-being.”
6. Yoga has been called one of the first and most successful products of globalization.
7. Studies have found that self-reported physical health quality and happiness is higher for people who practice yoga in a school or studio setting rather than alone at home.
8. Hindu leader Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) is considered a key figure in Western yoga culture. His address to the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 is said to have introduced yoga in the US. The next key figures in the expansion of yoga in the West? Believe it or not, The Beatles, specifically George Harrison. The Beatles were also the first to bring the sitar into rock and roll and the first to introduce Hindu melodies into modern music.
9. A male practitioner of yoga is called a yogi, and a female practitioner is called a yogini.
10. Synonyms of yoga include yoga-vid (“knower of yoga”), yukta (“yoked one”), yoga-raj (“king of yoga”), and yogendra (from yoga and indra), meaning “lord.”
11. Scholars have noted that just as the computer scientists who built ARPANET (the early Internet) created the conditions for Google, American transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) created the conditions for yoga in the West.
12. There are over 100 different schools of yoga, including Hatha yoga, Raja yoga (“royal yoga”), Jnana yoga (“path of knowledge”), Bhakti yoga, Karma yoga, (“discipline of action”), and Bikram yoga. While each school of yoga has different practices, they have a unified goal: the state of pure bliss and oneness with the universe.
13. At 98 years old, Tao Porchon-Lynch is the world’s oldest known yoga teacher.
14. The best-selling yoga book (in English) is B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga.
15. Laughter Yoga or Hasyayoga is practiced in more than 60 countries. Giggle.