Yoga is one most excellent technique to enlightenment in life. From your body to mind, yoga disciplines helps in achieving self-awareness which many of us cannot attain with physical exercise. The age-old spiritual and ascetic practice has been around for more than 5000 years, however many of us unaware of its birth, history, and development to date.
If you want to know, read this informative content on yoga and its history.
Origin of Yoga
Yoga is derived from a Sanskrit word “Yuj” which means union; of the individual self with the supreme self. According to classical definition of sage Patanjali, yoga signifies to control of mind through yoga postures. We can control and manipulate our mind by practicing yoga. It is a profoundly spiritual practice that is part philosophy, religion, science, and exercise.
Yoga dates back to pre-Vedic age when experts found its existence on Indian Vedas. The earliest Rig Veda mentioned about yoga, and their pictographic proofs found in the seals of Indus Valley Civilization. The holy mythological book speaks about yoga in detail. But, it developed in the early fifth and sixth century BC. Sage Patanjali took all the information from Bhagwad Gita, Ramayana, Shanti Prava and more to create the Yoga Sutras, which soon became the go-to book for yoga learning in India and all around the world.
History and Development of Yoga
Yoga History is divided into four periods, based on their innovative, practice, and development. They are –
Yoga was first described in the Rig Veda, around 5000 years ago. It later described in Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, about 500 B. C. So, 3000 BC to 800 BC was considered the Vedic age of yoga, when it was practiced ritually to develop concentration and move above the mundane lifestyle. Yoga styles practiced in this period was all focused at union of self with the supreme self, which forms the basic mantra of yoga.
This time-period is related to the birth of Upanishads, the book that describes meanings of Vedas. It helped to identify how mind and spirit work through personal teachings. With particular references from Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata, and Upanishads, it became easier to know about the different forms of yoga. In this period, yoga becomes more of a lifestyle than practicing different postures in order.
The pre-classical period failed to define the exact meaning of yoga in life. It was a complete mishmash of many ideas, views, and beliefs that were contracted and conflicted by each other. Therefore, sage Patanjali redesigned the yoga teachings into 195 sutras in an attempt to standardize and systemize its learning procedure. Patanjali organized the practice of yoga in “eight-limbed path” containing all the steps and stages of attaining self-enlightenment or called Samadhi. He is known as the father of yoga, and his sutras had inspired many yoga teachers around the world. Patanjali gave a new outlook to yoga.
This time-period is most important in the history of yoga. Yoga started to reach every length and breadth of the world. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, yoga masters began to travel around the world to spread its teaching to the western countries. In one of Swami Vivekanand’s historic speech in Chicago, he mentioned all about the history and benefits of yoga to mankind. Unlike him, many elite yoga gurus like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Paramahamsa Yogananda, Ramana Maharishi travel around the world to spread its teachings and spiritual benefit to one. Gradually yoga was accepted throughout the world as a secular spiritual practice.
Now, many yoga schools have been opened in India and abroad. Hatha Yoga School in Mysore, Divine Life Society on the bank of river Ganga and Sivananda yoga ashrams at numerous location of the world. Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School is also a profound name in the list of many. If you want to dive into the world of yoga and learn from its core, feel free to join a yoga teacher training in India.