In case you still haven't tried yogasanas, we hope that this list inspires you to start with some basic poses.
A global fitness staple, yoga made a trendy comeback with the onset of the global pandemic. Consequently, the traditional practice involving tranquil music and folding your body into jalebi-like shapes is being replaced by a new entrant, Rage Yoga.
However, the evolution of this timeless practice of connecting the mind, body and spirit through yogasanas is marked by rigorous research and exercises conducted by many yogis. This World Yoga Day, allow us to introduce you to 7 such Indian personalities who have developed and popularised yoga beyond geographical boundaries!
Sita Devi Yogendra
Most of the poses that help the female body overcome cramps and suit their modern needs have been tailored by Sita Devi Yogendra. Touted as the first female Yoga Guru, she revolutionised the field of Practical Yoga by opening its doors to women in the 20th-century. She even wrote a book titled- 'Yoga: Physical Education for Women', which has been translated into several languages and is considered an authoritative text across the globe.
K. Pattabhi Jois
We all have wondered at some point in our lives about how the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna and Kareena Kapoor Khan stay in such good shape. Other than a healthy diet, the magic potion for them seems to be the practice of yoga as popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois- a Sanskrit scholar and yoga master. He worked on the idea of 'Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga' which is based on the ancient teachings of the Yoga Korunta.
B. K. S. Iyengar
Bellur Krishnamacharya Sundararaja Iyengar expanded upon the Yoga Philosophy of Sage Patanjali and became the foremost teacher of yoga in the world. Through rigorous training and experience, he developed 'Iyengar Yoga' which involves the usage of props, such as wooden gadgets, belts and ropes, that help in attaining perfection in any asana. A miraculous achievement of Iyenger was that he could do a headstand for 30 minutes, even during his later years!
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
In 1969, the Beatles released Hare Krishna Mantra in the UK and the record sold 70,000 copies on the first day! The inspiration behind the release of this chant was their connection with 'Transcendental Meditation' developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. As the name suggests, this form of yoga guides practitioners into a meditative state as they recite a mantra with their eyes closed. Another of his famous disciples is the founder of Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravishankar.
Sri Aurobindo synthesised the practical and theoretical aspects of yoga to develop his idea of 'Internal Yoga', which essentially is yoga for the mind. He developed this idea as he believed that this could help human life transform into divine life which is merely the next step in evolution. In case you have watched Netflix's The 100, then you might find mental imagery between its conception of divinity and this philosophy propounded by Sri Aurobindo.
For those who subscribe to the ideology that Yoga is a serious business, Swami Sivananda's ideas might move them to reconsider their opinion. A doctor by profession who practised in British Malaya before becoming a monk, he believed that humour was the most important characteristic that a Yogi must possess. He was an ardent practitioner of the 'Yoga of Trinity' which includes- Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga and Master Yoga.
Famously known as the Father of Modern Yoga, Krishnamacharya was a prominent Ayurveda scholar whose teaching style was based on the tenets of Sage Patanjali. He is credited with the development of 'Vinyasa Yoga' which combines breath movement with the traditional Hatha Yoga. It is often stated that Krishnamacharya had mastered such great control over his muscles and body movement that he could also control his heartbeat!
While helping you to use your body weight in lieu of dumbles and other fancy gym equipment, yoga helps you stay mentally and physically fit without tiring your body. In case you still haven't given it a shot yet, we hope that this list inspires you to start with some basic poses. Also, while you are at it, make sure you join the social media trend of clicking yourself as you 'practice' (not do/doing!) yoga.