Did you know that the yoga was originally believed not to better the individual so much as the community?
The early days of yoga have been lost to time. The first recorded poses on seals and paintings date to around 3000 years ago. However, many yoga scholars believe that yoga has the same roots as shamanism. Shamanism is an ancient practice of worshiping divine spirits through meditation, chant, prayer and sacrifice. (Physical, emotional and/or mental–not just killing a goat!) and it was believed that yoga could put you in touch with the divine, that through yoga and meditation, a select few could speak for the divine and help the community.
These days, yoga students are often told that their practice is meant to help them better themselves and it’s left at that. In the West, we often think of yoga as something to strengthen the core and help us gain more flexibility and endurance.
In the days before yoga was recorded, but simply happened, it is thought that yogis would do their meditations and work in order to get in touch with the spiritual divine which would then be imparted to the community. In this way, yoga benefited everyone even if only a few practiced. There are a wide range of ancient figurines and statues which may depict ancient yoga; though there’s no sure way of knowing now.
If you stop and think about it, you are doing your community a favor by taking yoga. You feel more relaxed, fit, and strong. You are prepared to serve others. The tradition of yoga as a service continues today!
Photo By: Lululemon