7 Delightful Facts About Yoga You (Probably) Didn’t Know

Sophia Herbst
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The ancient practice of yoga is thought to have originated around 600 B.C.E (nearly 2,615 years ago!). A subject rife with entertaining facts and an illuminating history, here are seven delightful facts to share with your fellow yogis.
 

1. You have a dominant nostril.
The specific practice of nostril breathing is called Swara Yoga, which claims that when one nostril is dominant, the opposite side of your brain is also dominant. While nostril dominance naturally switches every two and a half hours, you can also switch nostrils with concentration & practice. According to Swara Yoga, breathing with the right nostril will create a more energetic state of mind, while breathing with the left will have a relaxing effect.
 
2. Henry David Thoreau was one of the first western yoga practitioners.
It is believed that Thoreau began his practice during his time of self-isolation at Walden Pond, after becoming enamored with “solitude and the meditative life in general.” It is likely he first came across yoga through his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had the Hindu text Manusmirti in his library.
 
3. Your organs get droopy, but inversions can fix that.
It is common knowledge that as we age, gravity takes its toll on the human body, mostly commonly recognized as sagging skin. However, this is not isolated to our outward appearances; over time our internal organs also shift downwards. A regular inversions practice combats the effects of gravity, and can help return your organs to their original positions.
 

 
4. When menstruating, a woman’s bodily energy is Apana, meaning “downward flowing.”
As if we needed another reason to hate our periods, according to traditional yogic beliefs your body’s energy flows downward during “that time of month.” For this reason, many yoga instructors recommend women avoid inversions during menstruation, as to not disrupt your Apana. However, the medical community has not confirmed whether inversions during periods are harmful to your health, so inverting during this time is up to you.
 
5. Ashtanga Yoga tradition observes “Moon Days” as yoga holidays.
A Moon Day is when the moon is either Full or New (dark), and on these days it exerts its highest & lowest gravitational pull on the Earth, most commonly recognized as high & low tides. Since the human body is over 70% water, the phases of the moon are thought to affect our bodies in a similar way. For this reason, the Ashtanga tradition designates Moon Days as official rest days from yoga practice.
 

 
6. Kino MacGregor is the youngest woman ever to be certified to teach Ashtanga by its founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.
At the age of 29, after seven years of consistently traveling to Mysore, India, Kino was certified by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois to teach Ashtanga Yoga. A notoriously difficult certification to attain, it can only be awarded by the Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute. No other Ashtanga teacher trainings are approved by the institute anywhere else in the world. Go ahead and experience the wisdom of Kino in her video below! You can follow Kino on instagram @kinoyoga
 

 
7. Lotus pose is meant to resemble the perfect symmetry of a lotus flower.
The symmetry of lotus positions your spine in perfect vertical alignment, while the soles of your feet face upwards to avoid “draining energy” down into the earth. For these reasons, Lotus is the Asana of choice for meditation.
 
Originaly published on yoga.com
Image: CodyApp.com

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Sophia Herbst

Sophia Herbst is a Seattle-based freelance writer, blogger, and proud feminist. When she's not writing for Cody, a health & fitness startup, she's practicing yoga and CrossFit.

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