Yoga originated in ancient India and is one of the longest surviving philosophical systems in the world. Some scholars have estimated that yoga is as old as
Lying on stomach with hands under the body, squeeze buttocks and lift legs up and outward. Keep legs straight.
Standing with feet together, inhale while raising arms straight above the head and clasp hands together. Exhale while lowering arms.
Kneeling, slide the left leg straight out from behind and inhale, stretching torso up. Release and repeat on other side.
Lying on back, inhale and raise legs over head while keeping hands flat on floor for support.
Sitting with legs outstretched and feet together, stretch head to toes.
While standing, exhale and bend over toward toes, cupping elbows with hands. Breathe deeply.
Sitting with legs outstretched in a V shape, stretch arms to toes and head to floor.
With back straight, slowly lift shoulder to ear and lower. Repeat on other side.
Lying on back, lift legs up and support back with hands. Slowly angle legs over head and then extend upward.
Lying on stomach with elbows parallel to shoulders and palms on the ground, push torso up and look upward.
Press fingertips together and move palms in and out.
Sit with right foot crossed over left leg and right leg held with left arm. Twist while supporting body with right hand on the floor. Repeat on other side.
Inhale and step into V position, stretching arms out and then down toward floor.
Standing yoga mudra
Standing with arms at sides, inhale and raise arms in front. Exhale and swing arms to back.
While standing, place one foot on the opposite thigh and outstretch arms above the head. Hold hands above with index fingers straight and the remaining fingers clasped.
With arms parallel to floor and legs outstretched, turn one foot out and stretch to that side, keeping arms straight. Repeat on other side.
Lying on stomach with hands down near the chest, lift torso off the floor while raising on toes. Hands should raise, but remain palms down. Arch back slightly.
Raise arms over head with palms together and lunge forward with one foot, keeping thigh parallel to the ground.
With arms straight out and parallel to the ground and legs in V, turn one foot out and lunge to the side, keeping hips straight.
Sitting on heels, round torso to the ground with forehead to the floor while stretching arms overhead. Inhale while in movement and exhale while lowering arms.
5,000 years; artifacts detailing yoga postures have been found in India from over 3000 B.C. Yoga masters (yogis) claim that it is a highly developed science of healthy living that has been tested and perfected for all these years. Yoga was first brought to America in the late 1800s when Swami Vivekananda, an Indian teacher and yogi, presented a lecture on meditation in Chicago. Yoga slowly began gaining followers, and flourished during the 1960s when there was a surge of interest in Eastern philosophy. There has since been a vast exchange of yoga knowledge in America, with many students going to India to study and many Indian experts coming here to teach, resulting in the establishment of a wide variety of schools. Today, yoga is thriving, and it has become easy to find teachers and practitioners throughout America. A recent Roper poll, commissioned by Yoga Journal, found that 11 million Americans do yoga at least occasionally and six million perform it regularly. Yoga stretches are used by physical therapists and professional sports teams, and the benefits of yoga are being touted by movie stars and Fortune 500 executives. Many prestigious schools of medicine have studied and introduced yoga techniques as proven therapies for illness and stress. Some medical schools, like UCLA, even offer yoga classes as part of their physician training program.
Douglas Dupler, Rebecca J. Frey PhD, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,