Why Is Yoga Suddenly So Popular?

While the wisdom of yoga blossomed in India centuries ago, the interest in yoga in the West is just beginning to bloom.

Why the interest in yoga all of a sudden? That depends on the perspective of the person practicing yoga. Some speculate that we are more open to the esoteric and medicinal influences of yoga and are more willing to embrace traditions from other cultures. The landslide of yoga classes in universities and health centers speaks to a generation with a profound interest in physical and mental health.

The baby boomers, some of whom practiced yoga as an exercise in the counterculture of the ’60s, continue to show an unquenchable interest in the therapeutic effects of yoga. Still others discover yoga out of desperation. They are in pain and disenchanted with traditional medical modalities for backaches, headaches, and general malaise when they turn to yoga as an alternative.

In a yoga class of a dozen people, everyone may have a different reason for being in the class. Because human beings reflect a vast range of emotional, mental, and physical capacities, people approach yoga for many different reasons.

Some individuals regard yoga as a practical adjunct to their life they feel better. Others practice yoga for physical, psychological, or spiritual reasons their body feels more flexible, they sleep better, or they become more aware of their beliefs.

Stress is linked to hypertension, heart attacks, diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, allergies, headaches, backaches, and immune system weakness.

Seventy-five to 90 percent of employee visits to hospitals are for ailments linked to stress.

Sources: American Institute of Stress; Nation’s Business, December 1994; respectively.

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