14 Little-Known Facts about Yoga

some little known awesome yoga facts for you

We often think of yoga as this zen-like meditation exercise with challenging poses. While some may think it too zen or too serious, it is quite an interesting topic!  

Yoga has been practiced for centuries, bringing forth a treasure trove of interesting stories. Here are 14 little-known remarkable facts about yoga.  

Let’s start with some Fun Facts

The Beatles are actually attributed as some of the biggest global yoga influencers.  The British band traveled in 1968 to Rishikesh, India, and stayed at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the guru who developed Transcendental Meditation. This bit of meditation for the group was said to be one of their most creative periods, where they wrote about 48 songs! Their visit brought a huge interest in yoga, meditation, and more to the West! 

The first instance of the modern ‘sticky’ yoga mat was first used in the 1960s.  British Angela Farmer was a yoga teacher in Munich, Germany, when she discovered an underlay material usually placed under carpets to prevent the fabric from slipping. Her students followed after seeing her use this underlay in their classes. Angela then decided to open a yoga mat business.  

Some states and countries banned their people from practicing yoga. In Alabama, USA, a bill was signed in 2021 to finally allow yoga to be offered as an elective in public schools, ending a ban imposed in 1993. The ban was enacted as they considered yoga a religious practice, which is not allowed in public schools. However, while the ban was lifted, it still has limitations such as not saying Om or Namaste nor using chants or mantras.  

Malaysia’s top Islamic council, in 2008, banned Muslims from practicing yoga as its Hindu elements conflict with their faith. And in 2022, a women-only yoga retreat in Kuwait had to be suspended. The authorities called the retreat “dangerous” and not in line with their culture, with the women doing the lotus and downward dog poses in public.  

There is actually yoga for dogs.  Doga was started in 2002 by Suzi Teitelman in New York. Benefits for our furry friends include relaxation, socialization, enjoyable physical exercise, and a way to bond with their fur parents!  

Goat yoga is also a thing! Lainey Morse thought of holding a goat yoga event in 2016. In a nutshell, Lainey holds a yoga class while goats are freely roaming around the yogis. While it was strange, participants found it fun and somewhat therapeutic, doing their poses around curious goats.  

People also practice naked yoga.  It requires people to remove all their clothes during a session, with the option to leave their only underpants on. Classes can be co-ed as well, so doing asanas while naked with many people may be too weird or frightening, not to mention being around the opposite gender as well. However, strict rules are enforced, like staying in your place, not staring at or touching other people without consent, and not commenting on other people.  

Laughter yoga proves that laughter is the best medicine.  This form of yoga is done by initiating laughter as an exercise. Whether it is intentional or voluntary laughter, it still has benefits like invoking a good mood and positive attitude, relieving stress, and boosting the immune system. 

June 21 is the International Yoga Day.  It was proclaimed by the United Nations on December 11, 2014, because of yoga’s universal appeal and to “raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.”

Let’s see some of the Yoga World Records

India holds the record for the largest yoga lesson with 100,984 participants.  The session was held during the International Yoga Day in 2018 in Kota, Rajasthan, India by the Government of Rajasthan, Patanjali Yogapeeth, and the District Administration of Kota.  

The most extended yoga lesson lasted 56 hours, 57 minutes, and 21 seconds.  36 participants set this world record, held in Chennai, India from June 19 to 21, 2017.  

The youngest yoga instructor was certified when he was 9 years old.  He is Reyansh Surani from Dubai, UAE. He received his certification on July 27th in 2021 after completing a 200-hour yoga teacher’s training course.  

The oldest yoga teacher is Canada’s, Ida Herbert. She was proclaimed by Guinness World Records in 2012 when she was 95 years old. Ida was born in 1916 and discovered yoga in the 1960s. When she was 70 years old, she became a yoga teacher at the local YMCA. She retired in 2015 after more than 20 years of teaching yoga and passed in April 2020. 

Former record holder as the oldest yoga instructor is also recognized as the world’s oldest female competitive ballroom dancer.  Tao Porchon-Lynch was born in 1918. She discovered yoga when she was only 8 years old and eventually became a yoga instructor. She eventually became a competitive ballroom dancer at age 88 and was proclaimed by Guinness as the record holder at age 98. She passed in 2020 when she was 101 years old. It was noted that she even taught her yoga class and attended her dance class days before her death. 

The most recent yoga-related world record is the longest time to hold the scorpion position.  It was achieved by Yash Mansukhbhai Moradiya in Dubai, UAE on the 22nd of February, 2022. He held the scorpion position for 29 minutes and 4 seconds.