8 Amazing Facts You Did Not Know About Yoga

Most people who have heard about yoga did so through a TV program or read about it online. However, not many know about the basic facts about this seemingly modern and popular practice. Listed below are some uncommon and amazing facts about yoga. Read on enjoy.

It’s an Ancient Practice, Not A New Trend

It may seem as through the practice of yoga started recently and quickly got popular. In reality, yoga has very ancient roots. It isthought to have started around 4500-2500 BCE. At the time, it was merely practiced as a mental exercise done through breathing rituals, meditation sessions, practicing proper philosophies, values, and life mantras. It was after this practice gained root in India around 1700-1800 BCE that the physical exercises version got introduced and grew.

Yoga Means Uniting

The root word for yoga is derived from yuj, the Sanskrit root. Its literal meaning is joining together. What does it join together? The term is used because yoga is meant to unite the body, spirit, and mind.

Founded by Patanjali

Although yoga may have been practiced long before the birth of Patanjali in 150 BC, he is still considered the founding father of this ancient practice. This is because he made the practice accessible to everyone through Yoga Sutras.

It Is Not a Religion

Although yoga incorporates numerous elements from religions such as Hinduism, it is not a religion. Rather, yoga is a way of life.

Yoga Has Numerous Different Schools

Most people know just a few schools of yoga that are popular. However, there are currently over 100 different yoga schools. These schools are varied in their way of teaching and the practices undertaken. Yet, they all have a singular goal; achieving oneness in the mind, body, and spirit, as well as with the universe.

Yoga Is Not Just the Physical Exercises

While this is the best-known practice, yoga has three key elements. These are achieving different postures (the physical exercises), breathing in different patterns, and finally meditation.

Yoga Is Not A Practice Taught by Dirty Yogis

Owing to the use of essential oils and possibly the environment where yoga was practiced in the past, there was a perception that yogis are dirty people. However, that is a wrong perception because yoga rules (The Niyamas), require practitioners to exercise the purity of mind and body.

Yogis are expected to maintain personal hygiene through taking a shower on waking up, detoxifying the skin with a dry brush, using oil to swash the mouth and prevent diseases. The use of essential oils may leave a funny smell, but it’s just that.

The First Yoga Studio

The first yoga studio to open in the US was introduced by Pierre Bernard. The studio, which was known as The Yoga Center, was located on 53rd Street in Manhattan. Bernard also wrote a book titled Hatha Yoga, making Hatha the most popular type of yoga in the US.

Do you know any other fascinating facts about yoga? Share with us, we would love to hear it.

How to Clean Your Yoga Mat

After yoga class, sweat among other things can attract germs, bacteria and viruses! Since we want yoga to do the opposite of get us sick, it’s a good idea to remove these germs right away. I have learned a few cleaning methods and heard of some other popular methods to easily and effectively clean your yoga mat.

Interestingly, cleanliness itself is part of the yoga tradition. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika text explains that by keeping the body and mind pure, clean, and simple you can access spiritual wisdom without obstacle.

It is not as hard as you may think to clean your yoga mat. You can clean your mat by:

Using Soap and Water

This is an easy and affordable method. Make sure to keep the solution on the watery side to avoid taking off the sticky part of your mat, which prevents slips and injuries.

To make a soap solution dilute dish soap with water in a container. Lightly scrub your mat with a damp sponge or rag. Avoid scrubbing with harsh materials like steel wool. Finish, by rinsing your mat with hot water.

Submerge Your Yoga Mat in Water

If your yoga mat at is very dirty, you can submerge your mat in warm water with dish soap or mild laundry detergent like Woolite. Pat dry with a towel, and hang dry outside, overnight.

Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are a natural and pleasant way to clean your mat. Make a solution, in a spray bottle, of one or two drops of essential oil with water. Spray down your mat and rinse with hot damp towel. Try:

  • Tea tree oil: antifungal
  • Lavender oil: mild antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • Lemon Oil: mild antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • *Baking Soda: to reduce odors, add a teaspoon of baking soda to your solution.

Washing Machine

I actually haven’t tried this method personally, but I have heard that you can actually wash your mat in the washing machine! As long as your mat is not meant to be hand washed, you can put it in the washing machine on the gentle cycle with cool water. Use a small amount of a gentle detergent like Woolite.

Commercial Yoga Mat Cleaners

These are convenient but may contain more chemicals. To use these just spray a fine mist over your mat and wipe clean with a hot towel. Try not to use too much water so it will dry quicker!

To dry your mat you can also place a towel over the mat, roll it up, and squeeze out the water. Follow by drying it again with a terry cloth a hang drying it for a minimum of one night. One thing you don’t want to do is throw it in the dryer!

I clean my mat by lightly spraying lavender oil on it after practice and hang my mat to dry. Every couple months I will give it a deeper clean, depending on my schedule. Cleaning your mat is easy and a great way to remove negative energy from your area.