Yoga is an established community worldwide. People practice it for their own reasons, which includes to relax, to work out, or to hang out with a passionate community. If you are going to practice yoga, you have to at least be knowledgeable about its history. The history of yoga can give you a newfound appreciation about the craft. You also can’t deny that it’s a great conversation starter! Here are a few unknown facts about the history of yoga.
Women cannot practice yoga
This isn’t a shocker because a lot of things were taboo for women. History is heavily led by patriarchy. Women were objectified. The males wrote the historical literature about yoga. Furthermore, there are no accounts that support women practicing yoga. Male yogis were explicitly forbidden to be in the company of women. As a matter of fact, women were objectified and were only used to gather menstrual fluid, which was believed to possess superpowers.
The sexism was fueled by the belief that women are thieves of semen. Semen supposedly elevates an experience into ecstatic awareness. Thankfully, the modern yoga scene is backed by science. Women are already allowed to partake in yoga.
Asana and Pranayama could cause diseases
There were ancient texts that some postures could be harmful. They cause muscle soreness and indefinite deformities. Moreover, there were accounts of people feeling sick after the practice of such routines. The excessive retention of breath has been counter intuitive, too. Lastly, they cause the proliferation of diseases.
As of today, most yoga practices are refined to be for your betterment. The existence of yoga practitioners has also helped avoid the malpractice of yoga.
Body image is a medieval concern
Yoga’s primary function was to slim down. Even though there was an era when curvy women were preferable, that has not been always the case. Furthermore, a lot of hatha texts prescribe techniques for slimming down and cleansing the gastrointestinal tract. Fatphobia was rampant and the solution was yoga.
However, today’s yoga feminism has steered the culture towards body positivity. The goal today is good health rather than mindlessly losing weight.
Reading these facts about the history of yoga will undoubtedly make you feel grateful that you are practicing yoga in this era. A lot has changed as time progressed. Thankfully, the yoga community is more welcoming now.