Brief History of Yoga

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Yoga originated around the sixth and fifth century BCE in India focusing on physical, mental, and spiritual practices. The practice was later introduced to the West in the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1980, yoga became a familiar and popular form of exercise across the world.

Traditional Indian Yoga is more meditative and about our spiritual core. It has five principle meanings:

1.   Method for meeting a goal;

2.   Techniques to calm the body and mind;

3.   Is a name of one of the schools or systems of philosophy;

4.   Yoga in connection with other words, such as hatha-, mantra-, and laya-, refers to particular techniques;

5.   I the goal of Yoga practice.

The six variations of yoga, raja, karma, jnana, bhakti, tantra, and hatha, are based on the Hindu philosophy. Variations of the principles of yoga were developed based on the following:

1.   Discover perception and cognition, and overcome it by releasing suffering and gaining inner peace and salvation

2.   Raise and expand consciousness of oneself to being aware of everyone and everything

3.   A path to omniscience and enlightened consciousness allowing one to comprehend the impermanent (illusive, delusive) and permanent (true, transcendent) reality

4.   A meditation technique for escaping and entering into other bodies, generating multiple bodies, and the attainment of other supernatural accomplishments; these are, states White, described in Tantric literature of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as the Buddhist Sāmaññaphalasutta

Modern yoga has been developed based on the merging of creativity and philosophy over the years of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Today, the most common form of yoga is Hatha yoga, a balance of the mind, body, and spirit through the physical practice. During this yoga flow you learn breath work and meditation. Now, there are around 16 million yoga practitioners and over 70,000 yoga teachers in North America.

People are drawn to yoga not only for the physical practice but also the mind-body connection, creating inner peace and self-knowledge. Yoga’s ancient roots have sprouted a practice that is suitable for everyone.


Sarah Bolhofner