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Did you know… Samadhi’s Yoga Facts

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Did you know…

  1. The largest yoga class ever recorded had 100,984 yogis in attendance. It was in Rajasthan on 21 June 2018, with Indian TV yoga guru Baba Ramdev.
  2. Ancient yogis used a woven grass mat or even an animal skin as a yoga mat.
  3. The first modern yoga mat was created in 1982 by British yoga teacher Angela Farmer, using carpet underlay.
  4. Yoga boosts the immune system. I Norwegian study from 2012 shows rapid gene expression changes in blood lymphocytes with regular practice of a comprehensive yoga system.
  5. Practising yoga at least twice per week can help to reduce symptoms of depression. However, if suffering from depression we always recommend you seek medical advice.
  6. Practising yoga may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Yoga combined with meditation can delay cognitive impairment, typically the first indicator of the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  7. In Oregon USA, people practice Goat yoga. They let goats climb on them while they try and do yoga poses. Yes, we think it is ridiculous too!
  8. Ancient Yogis believed that we each have a finite number of breaths. They believed that if you slowed down your breath, you could extend your life.
  9. 300 million people practice yoga worldwide. This astounding statistic was announced by the International Yoga Federation in December 2020.
  10. No activities are without risk. Yoga carries a lower risk of injuries compares to other physical activities. In 2007 the yoga injury rate was about 3.5 per 10,000. To put it in perspective, the injury rate for golf (which is a low injury sport) is 39 per 10,000.
  11. The word YOGA is derived from the Sanskrit root YUJ,  “to attach, join, unite, harness, yoke”.
  12. The ultimate goal of yoga practice is to achieve – and abide in – a state of pure blissful awareness.
  13. The state of pure blissful awareness which is the ultimate goal of yoga is called Samadhi.
  14. In the 1920’s archeologists discovered soapstone seals that strongly resemble yogi-like figures, carved by the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation. They are estimated to be up to 5,000 years old.
  15. The first documented mention of YOGA is in the Rig Veda, which is estimated to have been written at least 3,500 years ago.
  16. The Yoga Sutras, compiled around approximately 500BCE by sage Patanjali, heralded the classical period of yoga. 
  17. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras define yoga as “the restraint of fluctuations or patterns of consciousness”. 
  18. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras define ASANA as: “Steady and comfortable”. Patanjali mentions the ability to sit for extended periods as one of the eight limbs of yoga.
  19. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Asana, or postural practice (which is mostly what we focus on in class) is just one of 8 of the limbs of yoga practice!
  20. What are the 8 limbs of yoga?
  • Yama (Restraints)
  • Niyama (Observances)
  • Asana (Posture) 
  • Pranayama (Breath Control)
  • Pratyahara (Sensory Withdrawal)
  • Dharana (Concentration)
  • Dhyana (Meditation)
  • Samadhi (Pure Blissful Awareness)
  1. The first limb of yoga is the Yamas. The Yamas are five ethical observances. The first Yama is Ahimsa: Non-Violence. This includes violence in action, but also in thought and word. We aim to reduce violence in both our outer and inner worlds.
  2. The second Yama is Satya: Truth. In Sanskrit “sat” means true nature or essence, and “ya” means to do, to live by or in. So to observe Satya is to reside in our true essence.
  3. The third Yama is Asteya: Non-stealing. This Yama refers to taking what is not ours, taking more than we need, or even stealing from ourselves by neglecting our own needs.
  4. The fourth Yama is Brahmacharya: Moderation, restraint, or control of energy.  This Yama refers to channelling our energy and desire into meaningful pursuits. Actually in Sanskrit “Brahma” means god, “char” means to walk and “ya” means to do, to live by or in. In our secular era the direct translation is hard to resonate with, but we must remember when the sutras were written, all roads led to god.
  5. The fifth Yama is Aparigraha: Non-Attachment and Greedlessness.  We aim to control our desire for more stuff, and be happy with what we have. Good life advice!
  6. The second limb of yoga is the Niyamas. The Niyamas are five personal observances. The first Yama is Saucha: Purity and cleanliness. In yoga we aim to keep both body and mind pure, so good hygiene, good diet, etc lead to clarity of mind.
  7. The second Niyama is Santosha: Contentment or acceptance. It means appreciating what we have and finding joy in our lives as they are, rather than craving more.
  8. The third Niyama is TAPAS: Fire, passion, austerity, discipline! Through fiery yoga practice we burn off the dross, and let our greatness glow! 
  9. The fourth Niyama is Svadhyaya: Self-Study. It is useful to always adopt the attitude of student, and study the practice and subject of yoga, and also the self.
  10. The fifth and final Niyama is Isvara Pranidhana: Surrender to a higher power. Life often runs out of our control, and sometimes the best action is to let go and trust. Isvara Pranidhana is nicely summed up by the Irish expression: “God willing”!
  11. The third limb of yoga is the Asana. Asana is posture practice, the poses you are familiar with in yoga class. Patanjali defines Asana as “Steady and Comfortable”. Do you find yoga poses steady and comfortable? Perhaps the Asana challenge is to find increasingly difficult poses steady and comfortable…
  12. The fourth limb of yoga is the Pranayama. Pranayama is breath-work. The direct translation from Sanskrit is more poetic. “Prana” means subtle life force, and “ayama” means extension. Ancient yogis thought that practicing Pranayama would extend your life!
  13. The fifth limb of yoga is the Pratyahara. Pranayama is withdrawal of the senses. We do this at the end of every practice: In savasana we quieten the sense organs, and bring awareness inside the body, and usually to the constant of the breath.
  14. The sixth limb of yoga is the Dharana. Dharana translates as “holding steady”, “concentration” or “single focus”. Through regular practice of the previous five limbs of yoga, concentration develops and the practitioner can hold their focus on a single point (usually the breath or an area of the body).
  15. The seventh limb of yoga is the Dhyana. Dhyana is Meditation. Whats the difference between Dharana (concentration) and Dhyana (meditation)? Concentration is the process and the effort, and meditation is the state of unbroken concentration which comes with the effort.
  16. The eighth and final limb of yoga is Samadhi. Translating from Sanskrit, “samameans equanimous, and “dhi means consciousness. So through practicing all of the other 7 limbs of yoga, you reach a state of calm, composed, blissful awareness.

Greg Walsh

Greg has been teaching yoga since 1999, and is still passionate about the practice and subject, over 20 years later.  He has a particular interest in the anatomy & physiology of yoga, and how it can guide yoga practice. Greg is owner and director of Samadhi Yoga Studios. When he is not teaching yoga, he is usually traveling abroad to teach yoga!

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