Love Your Yoga? Here’s How It All Started

When most people finish a sun salutation, they’re not pondering the history of the pose. They’re thinking “God, I’m a sweaty mess,” not, “Gee, I wonder who came up with this concept?” Although it might not come up in your practice, the history of yoga is storied and complex. As far as scholars know, the first yogic activities emerged about 3,000 years ago in India, and involved people isolating themselves from their community to perform contemplation, prayer, and purification, according to Matthew Remski, a yoga teacher, trainer, and the author of Practice And All Is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics, And Healing In Yoga And Beyond. Now, as Remski puts it, yoga is “a globalized, middle-class, mainstreamed, $80-billion-per-year wellness commodity, produced and consumed mainly by women.”

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