Yoga Girl Weekend

I’m away for the weekend, renewing my creativity (hopefully!) at a yoga retreat. While I’m trying warrior pose and meditative breathing, here is brief history of yoga:

–The beginnings of yoga were in Northern India over 5000 years ago, with the word “yoga” first mentioned in the Rig Veda (a collection of texts containing songs and rituals used by Vedic priests). These taught the sacrifice of the ego through self-knowledge action (karma yoga) and wisdom (inana yoga).

–In the 2nd century, the Yoga Sutras described the path of Raja Yoga, sometimes called “classical yoga,” which organized the practice into an “eight limbed path”.

–A few centuries later, yoga masters created a system of practices designed to rejuvenate the body and prolong life. The exploration of thse physical/spiritual connections led to the creation of Hatha Yoga.

–In 1785, the Bhagavad-Gita was the first Sanskrit work to be translated into English.

–In the late 19th century/early 20th, yoga masters began to travel to the West, attracting attention and new followers. In 1947, Indra Devi opened a famous studio in Hollywood, starting the long trend of stars and yoga! (Madonna, Sting, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Christy Turlington, are some of the well-known yoga advocates today)

I tried to find some Georgian/Regency celebrities who might have tried yoga, but had no luck! I bet the Romantic poets would have liked it, though…

Have you tried yoga, or any other exercise regimes you’d recommend? (I’m always trying to find something that will help me get into shape without making me feel like I’m “exercising”!)

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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Keira Soleore
14 years ago

I like yoga very much. The most benefit I had from it was the prenatal sessions I did when I was pregnant. Thanks for historical perspective on yoga. Looking forward to your return and all the details of your retreat.

14 years ago

I have never done yoga, but I would love to learn. Your retreat sounds fabulous. I loved reading the history of the practice. I think most people associate yoga with the sixties or some New Age thing. With the stress in my job, I could definitely use something to help me get in touch with my body and relax that doesn’t involve chocolate!

Christine Wells
14 years ago

Interesting post, Amanda! I love the sound of yoga. I’ve just never done it. But exercising without feeling like you’re exercising certainly sounds good to me!

14 years ago

I like yoga, but my favorite exercise is on a recumbent bike with my iPod for cardio then weights for either upper or lower body depending on the day. I can be in and out of the gym in an hour and feel good the rest of the day. Exercise makes my brain work better.

14 years ago

I used to do yoga in grad school, and then (after a lapse of a few years) I did it for a while when we were living in Princeton. I enjoyed it, though some of the poses require a little bit too much of an “eight-limbed path” for me–I only have four limbs, personally. 🙂

Of course, if I wish to “sacrifice my ego,” there are easier ways. Dancing in public, for example, or playing tennis against my cousin, or even worse, trying to win an argument against Cara…


14 years ago

Keira wrote:

The most benefit I had from it was the prenatal sessions

You know, I vaguely recall trying to do prenatal yoga, but it was really too cramped in the womb to stretch properly.


Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Todd wrote, “You know, I vaguely recall trying to do prenatal yoga, but it was really too cramped in the womb to stretch properly.”

Oh, very well done. Very well done, indeed.

I always felt my daughter doing calisthenics and kickboxing.

14 years ago

I’m not sure about real people in Regency times, but I love the hero in Laura Kinsale’s My Sweet Folly who certainly was into Indian mysticism. Given the numbers of British people in India at the time, you’d have thought there might have been someone interested enough to at least try a Salute to the Sun.

Elena Greene
14 years ago

I’ve tried yoga and liked it but haven’t taken the time to keep it up. Right now I’m doing Body for Life. The exercize program alternates weight training and aerobics and I can do it at home which is a plus, because it’s hard for me to get to yoga classes what with my kids’ schedules.

What I really would like to do more is meditation. I took a class in it once and have done it on and off. It helps my mood and my mental clarity so much–the trouble is it’s hard to find a guaranteed quiet time and place to do it!

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
14 years ago

I’m a long time yoga bunny, having practiced yoga for over 7 years now. I find it helps relax me and keep from getting too stressed out from everything that i have to do in my life, including managing 2 blogs, 2 jobs, and being president of our local RWA chapter.