Yoga has been practised for thousands of years.
Yes, you read that correctly…thousands. Originating in India in the 5th century BC, its primary goal was to attain a deeper spiritual connection, and to awaken your mental senses.
The start of this millennium however has witnessed an increase of new yogis reaping the physical benefits of yoga more so than its mental properties. Yes, yoga can help you gain better balance, build stronger muscles through using the weight of your own body, and with a dedicated practise you will notice a leaner physique. But, using yoga as a pure physical exercise to help shed extra weight is not its primary focus.
Unfortunately, North America in particular has taken the reins in the bastardisation of yoga — with the introduction of hot & Moksha/Moda yoga classes which increase the temperature so that you sweat profusely in your asanas losing water weight, TRX suspension classes which focus on callisthenics infused with modified yoga poses, and Power Yoga that concentrates on how fast you can practice Vinyasa while doing as many repetitions of asanas as you can in a set period of time.
Yoga is meant to be slow and meaningful. Each pose introduces a new way to connect to your breath, centre yourself, and be more present. Being a millennial myself, I didn’t necessarily know this when I first started practising yoga at the age of 15. It took me moving to Nicaragua for the summer of 2015 to fully grasp the concept of yoga, and to completely change my outlook on this wonderful ancient practise.
Once you learn how to mentally be in the moment and use yoga as a mental tool, your outlook on life will completely change, and you will find yourself truly begin to grow.