By now, nearly everyone has heard of yoga or at least has an idea of what it is. Yoga is mainstream. Everyone does it—soccer moms, CEOs, celebrities, etc.
However, despite how well we think we know yoga, there are some things that many of us may be unaware of.
Below are 10 little-known facts about yoga to bend our minds:
1. Henry David Thoreau was one of the first known Western yoga practitioners. His interest may have been sparked by his friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1849, in a letter to a friend, Thoreau referred to himself as a “yogi.”
2. In 1919, Pierre Bernard opened one of the first yoga studios in the US which was called The Yoga Center and located on 53rd Street in Manhattan. Bernard was also the uncle of Theos Bernard whose 1947 book Hatha Yoga: The Report of a Personal Experience was considered one of the major reference books for yoga in the 1950s.
3. In addition to being a student of the legendary yoga teacher, Sri Krishnamacharya, B. K. S. Iyengar was also the former’s brother-in-law.
4. The world’s largest yoga class took place on November 19, 2005 at Jiwaji University in Gwalior, India. It lasted for 18 minutes and involved 29,973 participants.
In February 2014, Detroit tried to set a new indoor yoga record.
5. A study by Sports Marketing Survey found that Americans spent about $10.7 billion on yoga classes and yoga gear in 2012.
6. American Kino MacGregor was the youngest woman to receive the certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga by its founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She was 29 years old at the time.
7. Madonna once claimed in an interview that she became “addicted” to yoga and practiced seven days a week. She said, “I could’ve been a member of Cirque du Soleil. It got to the point where I didn’t have a glass of wine and I had to go to bed early because everything was around my yoga.”
8. A council of Malaysian muftis banned yoga for Muslims in 2008 on the basis that “the Hindu elements [in] a standard 60-minute yoga class could ‘destroy the faith of Muslims'”.
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Editor: Travis May
Photo: Wiki Commons