History & Origin of Yoga

Let’s start off by looking at what the word yoga means. It’s derived from a Sanskrit word, Yog, which means to join or bind since it unites the mind, body and soul. There isn’t any exact knowledge regarding its history. Experts estimate that Yoga began around 5000 years ago in India. There’s uncertain evidence which says it originated in Afghanistan too. But one thing is for sure, it originated in the East. Archeologists found stone seals in the Indus valley with evidence of yoga as they had people practicing different yoga poses. This proves that it was practiced during the Stone Age in India. There is also proof of yoga in the Veda texts.

The Vedas are a compilation of 1008 hymns which praise a higher power. They’re about cosmology, ethics, science and philosophy. They have the oldest record of techniques, rules and basics for yoga.This was followed by the Aranyakas texts which detailed the rituals for Yogi’s who lived in the forest. This even served as the origin of the medical tradition in India called Ayurveda. Around 199 BC, the Sarasvati River had dried up and this forced the evacuation of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization south towards the Ganges.

The Upanishads and Brahmins are spiritual texts which were written around 600-800 BC and dealt with rituals that were conducted by Brahmin priests. The Brahmins explains the Vedic hymns and rituals.The Bhagavad Gita, written around 300 BC, is a spiritual poem about yoga. The Gita is 1 part of 8 chapters in the Mahabharata epic. The Bhagavad Gita was a discourse that was delivered by Krishna to Arjuna and expounded the goals of life. From 200-800 BC, Patanjali detailed all about yoga and its 196 sutras. They were referred to Raja yoga. Patanjali is an important part of classic yoga where thousands of asanas were practiced.

This is just a brief history of Yoga. This just shows how old it is and how important it was earlier. It shows the strong relationship between yoga and our lives too. It was there a long time ago and might have even been around since humans have been on Earth. It’s almost like humans can’t live without it. Yoga is a great way to lead a peaceful and normal life. One last thing, pre-classical yoga, classical yoga, post-classical yoga and modern yoga are the four stages of the evolution of yoga.