Yoga is a practice that is designed to have a positive effect on a person's spiritual, mental, and physical well being. With its origins in Ancient India yoga has gained great popularity in the West in recent decades, and a surge in popularity occurred in the 1960s, when the young began to look at cultures, beliefs and practices in the East. Yoga is found in three major Eastern religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
Popular Types Of Yoga
Though yoga has been a formal philosophy for some two thousand years it was pretty much unknown in the West until the end of the 19th Century. Even then its popularity was limited up to the second half of the 20th Century, but by the 1980s hatha yoga had become a widely accepted method of physical exercise. With hatha yoga there is an emphasis on improving posture, and it also helps to improve physical and mental strength. Another popular form of yoga is tantra. At the core of tantric yoga is a desire to increase one's spiritual awareness. Kundalini, iyengar and ashtanga are other forms of yoga, and these offer physical benefits.
Yoga's 1960s Boom
The popularity of yoga fluctuated during the 20th Century, as it slipped in and out of public favour. It slowly became popular again in the 1950s, before there was a yoga boom in the 1960s. This culminated in the forming of Hindu schools in the West.
In the 1980s yoga was seen by many as being beneficial to both physical and mental human health. In the 21st Century the popularity of yoga has soared in the US, with an estimated 20 million Americans currently embracing it. This interest is proof that yoga is now ingrained in Western culture as well as Eastern.