We All Practice Yoga But Don’t Really Know About Its History. Here’s The Tale of The Origin of Yoga:
Yoga has been around for centuries. Way before the modern practices of Hot Yoga and Power Yoga. It’s as ancient as some of our oldest civilizations. The origin of Yoga can be traced as far back as five thousand years ago. Here’s all you need to know
The word yoga itself has its origins in the ancient Sanskrit word, ‘yuj’. It means to Unite. This is where the concept of the union of the individual self and the supreme self, arises. Patanjali’s definitions of Yoga were concerned solely with the mind. The emphasis on the physical aspect of it, that we see in the present day were not included in his teachings. The idea behind his views was that Yoga was to bring about a calmness and control over the mind.
BEFORE THE VEDIC PERIOD
Undeniably, it is difficult to ascertain when Yoga actually started. However, there has been some evidence from excavations in the Mohenjo Daro and Harappa sites that Yoga existed in its rudimentary forms even back then. The Pashupati Seal is said to have sparked these observations. There is, however, no written confirmation to irrefutably place Yoga in the Pre-Vedic Period.
DURING THE VEDIC PERIOD
At this time, there is a lot of evidence of Yoga being practised widely. However, it was particularly for meditation purposes; to calm the mind and to transcend all earthly worries. Yoga in its physical form had yet to make an appearance. There is evidence that it was the priests who were practitioners of Yoga in the form of their various ascetic practices.
THE TIME OF THE UPANISHADS
The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Mahabharata all contain a lot of references to Yoga. In particular, it is in the Katha Upanishads that the word Yoga first makes its appearance. It elaborates on the fundamental issues of the concept of Yoga. As a physical form, Yoga was beginning to make an appearance during this period. During this time, Yoga was seen more as a way of life rather than for meditative purposes.
The Classical Times have a more clear-cut definition because it is shaped by Patanjali’s Sutras. Patanjali’s own views about Yoga is referred to as Raja Yoga. Its components are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. Yoga asanas had still not made their debut yet.
POST CLASSICAL PERIOD
This was the age of the Pranayama and the Asanas. The emphasis was shifted on to the body and Yoga became a way of attaining a longer and healthier life. Both the body and the mind were explored in multitudinous ways and ultimately all these techniques gave rise to the Yoga that has developed in the present day, Hatha Yoga.
THE MODERN AGE
The seeds of Modern Yoga were sown by Swami Vivekananda when he addressed the Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893. Thereafter, Hatha Yoga began to spread in India by various other Gurus. It began to establish its stronghold in Western society after the establishment of Indra Devi’s Yoga Studio in Hollywood in 1947. Since then, Yoga has spread like Wildfire and is a prominent part of many people’s lives.
The Origin of Yoga is an interesting tale, and we have traced its development right from its inception to its present day. A lot has changed but the fundamentals of Yoga still remain the same.
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