Yoga a word associated to our pride, a word which is en rooted very deep in our culture. The history has always remained very uncertain about yoga due to presence of its oral transmission only and of sacred texts and the secretive nature of training. The evolution of yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago or may be 10,000 years ago before the birth of any religions or belief systems. Many myths suggest that Lord Shiva is the first ‘Yogi’ and the first ‘Guru’.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is basically a spiritual discipline based on an extreme complex science, which aims to construct harmony between the mind and the body. Yoga can be commonly understood as a therapy or exercise for maintaining good health and fitness. It has virtue of harmonizing an individual with universe. For many, the practice of yoga is restricted only to ‘Aasan’(postures). However, among the Yoga ‘Sutras’, only three ‘sutras’ dedicated to ‘Aasanas’. Fundamentally, ‘hatha’ yoga is process to achieve higher levels of energy in the body.
History of Yoga
The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’, means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. The word yoga first came to existence in sacred texts, the ‘Rig Veda’. These Vedas were collection of texts containing songs, mantras and rituals which were used by Brahmans, the ancient priests. After that Yoga was refined and documented by ‘Rishis’(mystic seers), about their practices, research and beliefs in ‘Upnsishads’.
In about second century, many conflicting ideas, beliefs and techniques derived about yoga. But, prominent one was Patanjali Yoga Sutras. Patanjali, often considered as the father of ‘Yoga’. He basically organized the practice of yoga into an “eight limbed path” which described the steps towards obtaining ‘Samadhi’ or rather say enlightenment. Most of the modern yoga is based upon his ‘sutras’.
In early 18th and 19th century, yoga masters began to move towards the West, to attract attention and followers. In India the pioneers were T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda and other yogis who strongly promoted ‘Hatha yoga’. T. Krishnamacharya opened the first ‘Hatha Yoga’ School in Mysore in 1924 and later on Sivananda founded the Divine Life Society on the banks of the holy Ganga in 1936.
After that many ‘yoga schools’ and ‘yoga teacher training’ centre were opened. The latest move on yoga is that, 21st June is now celebrated as ‘International Yoga Day’.