Yoga

History of Yoga And Its Meaning In Detail

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Yoga has become an inevitable part of human life, with its tentacles widespread across the world. It is now one of the most sought after classic mediums for rejuvenating the soul and body, in a wholesome way. Along with rendering physical and mental benefits, yoga is a spiritual healer as well, provided one follows it with utmost dedication and regularity.

history of yoga

Despite the absence of string evidences to support the origin, it has been acknowledged by everyone that the roots of this beautiful art form lie deep in Indian civilization. Yoga meaning in Sanskrit is union, that means getting one with the divine power. No wonder, yoga is now one of the most accepted forms of getting closer to human souls. Allow yourself to know more about the origin and growth of yoga right here…

Best History of Yoga:

Let’s see the entire history of yoga in detail.

The Prehistoric Yoga:

Various seals collected from the remnants of Indus Valley Civilization establish the prevalence of yoga in that period itself. While scholars do suggest that the seals show close resemblances between various sitting and standing asanas, they also agree with the lack of conclusive evidences.

The Vedic Association:

The Vedic priests used to practice various yoga asanas, solely concentrating on the soul, positioning themselves in a specific posture while performing various rites and rituals. This, as studies suggest, are precursors of modern day yoga asanas. Vedic Brahmanas as well as Atharva Veda are rich with surplus references to the practices of various breath d vital energy controlling techniques, which now are commonly known as Pranayamas and Bandhas.

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The Pre-Classical Touch:

The 200-odd Upanishads that came up during this era, cite, in various instances, the widespread discussions that were held about yoga in the Vedic era. These discussions were focused on three main topics – Brahman, Ataman, and the relation the two share. The term yoga was used for the first time in the Katha Upanishad, which came up during 400 BCE. Yoga, in that Scripture, has been defined as the exhibition of a strict control over the human senses with complete concentration, thus leading to a supreme state of bliss.

Upanishads also talk about nadis (veins) and the breathing techniques, however, the concept of chakras were introduced only during the eighth century. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad even talks about the relationship shared between breath and thoughts, how to gain control over the mind, and how beneficial could yoga be.

Mahabharata and Bhagavad-Gita also refer to the existence of yoga where they have been talked about as spiritual ways. In the latter, Krishna talks to Arjuna about three yoga types – karma, Jnana, and Bhakti, while the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata talks about Nirodha Yoga (Yoga of Cessation).

See More: How To Do Surya Namaskar Steps

The Classical Indulgence:

The period between 200 BCE and 500 BCE – the Mauryan and Gupta times – various schools of beliefs came into existence. To be more precise, Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism were emerging slowly, and this paved way for the development of yoga.

The Patanjali Touch:

Raja Yoga and the various yoga sutras that came into existence with the Samkhyan and Buddhist influences have contributed immensely to today’s yoga. Patanjali is known popularly as the “compiler of the formal yoga philosophy”.

The Yogacara School:

Classic Hinduism gave birth of this form of yoga which was prevalent during the Gupta period. It described yoga as a guideline or skeleton for indulging in various practices that finally led to enlightenment.

yoga historical

The Middle Age Shine:

The Bhakti movement triggered by the Alvars from South India was rife across India between 12th and 15th centuries. The Vaishnava and Shaiva traditions that emerged during this period infused the concept of devotion with meditation, and thus, the Viraha Bhakti [concentration only on Lord Krishna) concept (born with Bhagavata Purana) attained more importance.

This was the time when people started to know more about Trantric influences on yoga. Tantra and yoga are two different ways of detachment from the physical world. While Trantra emphasizes complete metamorphosis of external resources, ensuring total detachment with one’s will, yoga follows the method of gradual restraint over external influences. Either way, the focus was on complete salvation through withdrawal from societal influences, either temporarily or forever.

Hatha yoga came into existence from Tantra yoga, and slowly, it emerged as the dominant way of practicing this form of art. Vimalaprabha, the Buddhist text published in 11th century, quotes about this yoga’s approach. This approach concentrated more on cleansing oneself physically and wholly before attempting complete salvation.

Sikhism also has contributed a great deal to yoga during 15th and 16th century. It was a time when the religious belief was just born. Guru Nanak, who initiated this belief, had detached himself from various Hindu practices and attached himself to Hatha yoga. Thus, came into existence the renowned Namah yoga or Sahaja yoga.

Yoga Today:

The entire outlook of yoga has undergone immense change; there are countless forms. While Hatha yoga is still among the prominent forms, there are countless forms of yoga that have born and grown up. Kundalini yoga, Tantra yoga, Nude yoga, power yoga – you name it you have the version. Yoga is not anymore considered a religious affair; it comes packed with countless benefits.

Yoga continues to flourish and spread its teachings, cutting across the stringent and impregnable boundaries of culture and language. Getting to know this beautiful art in detail is indeed beneficial. You can keep on talking about yoga… it is a never-ending and a rich topic for discussion. Start here, right away to know yoga in depth…