By: Richard Rosen
We just finished Richard Rosen’s new read: Yoga FAQ: Almost Everything You Need to Know about Yoga - From Asanas to Yamas, and wow we’re we blown away. You know all those questions where your yoga teacher left you hanging like “who was Patanjali?” and all those questions you’ve been dying to to ask like, “where did the asanas come from? Well all of these and more are clearly and methodically hashed out with ample research to back it up. We’re sure this read is going to hit teacher training programs everywhere, and for all you avid yogis and yoginis this should be on our night stand.
Below is our Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Yoga, but you’ll have to pick up the book to get the skinny.
Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Yoga
1. We’ve all been calling Peacock Pose formally known in Sanskrit as “Pincha Mayurasana” by the wrong name. In fact, peacock pose has shown its true feathers (no pun intended), and we’ll be referring to it as Piccha Mayurasana from now on.
2. Ancient yogis did not leave society and live a renunciant life high up in the Himalayas. We guess this image just seems more idyllic and minimalist, but we’ve been getting it wrong all along as part of their work was to live close enough to town that they could receive alms that would allow them to focus their life on practice instead of providing for themselves.
3. Vyasa will also now top our list of the most important yoga luminaries and gurus of all time along side Patanjali and others. We were shocked to learn that Vyasa is credited with authoring the grandest Indian epic, The Mahabharata, which also contains one of the most influential stories to influence yoga, The Bhagavad Gita. Note to the YTTs it might be time to include him in your philosophy training.
4. Samsara is not only the imprints our past actions leave on us, but also the name of a perfume.
5. The preferred mat of ancient yogis was either a deerskin or tiger skin. They were thought to bring good luck, and also provided a protective barrier from energy in the environment that could affect the yogi’s energy field. The same goes for shielding the practitioner from the Earth’s frequency. Though we may just stick with our sticky mat for now.
6. Our beloved Surya Namaskaras (Sun Salutations) may actually be relatively young, at only 100 years old, though we’ll let you read the book and be the judge of that.
7. We should practice facing East which symbolizes “the dawn of spiritual illumination or insight, which we hope to realize through our practice”. Looks like we may now carry a compass in our mat bags to make sure we orient ourselves in the right direction prior to our practice. Oh, and if we get this wrong we may suffer from a type of “yoga nausea” due to going against the Earth’s directional movement.
8. Sanskrit may be the oldest language that is still spoken, though only by < 300,000 in the the world, but it has not given birth to other languages like often touted.
9. The first yoga teacher was not Krishnamacharya or your favorite 20th Century Yogalebrity… It was Hiranyargbha who is thought to have authored a couple of lost texts that influenced the Yoga Sutra.
10. And we’ll now add to our reading list the 17th Century text, The Gheranda Samhita, which little did we know focuses more on practice- asana, meditation, mudras, and pranayama - than our tried-and-true Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Oh, and might we add we might just up our practice to 3-8 x daily as recommended every 3 hours or at sunrise, noon, and sunset. Whoa!
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