History of Yoga

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The origins of Yoga dates back to at least 5000 years ago. It is an ancient way of life which includes physical, mental and spiritual practices. Yoga is historically linked to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

The word was first mentioned in the oldest sacred texts, the Rig Veda. The word, “yog” means to “to unite”. It was believed to unite one with the Divine Consciousness, leading to enlightenment. It was known to be a spiritual and meditative practice, based on an extremely subtle science. The skilled Yogi is said to have complete control over his body and mind.

Over time, the practice of Yoga was said to have been developed and refined by the Brahmans and Rishis, who documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads, a huge work containing over 200 scriptures. The Upanishads teach Yoga as a means to sacrifice the ‘ego’ through self-knowledge. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, written some time during the second century, describes the path of Raja Yoga, containing steps and stages to attain Samadhi or enlightenment. In a few centuries, Yoga masters created a system of practices designed to prolong life. They developed Tantra Yoga, with radical techniques to cleanse the body and mind. The exploration of physical-spiritual connections and body centered practices led to the creation of what we primarily think of yoga in the West: Hatha Yoga.

The concept of Yoga started to spread throughout the world, barely 60 years ago, through the efforts of people like Swami Vivekananda, Swami Shivananda, Sri Krishnamacharya and many more since then. Today, people all around the world celebrate 21st June as World Yoga Day, to get together and recognize the importance of Yoga in this day and age.

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