The History of Yoga: The Ancient Practice's Long, Complex Journey


Yoga is a practice that brings the body, mind, and soul together. Yoga has a long history and is rich in tradition. Yoga is a centuries-old health and exercise method that originated in India. The Rig Veda, the oldest of the sacred scriptures, is the first to mention yoga. Yoga is said to be four thousand years old, according to those who study it.

The pre-classical period, classical period, post-classical period, and contemporary period are the four major periods in the history of Yoga. The book is known as the yoga sutras in yoga history. 

Yoga literally translates to "the Yolk who binds things together," such as an ox to a wagon. Yoga is supposed to bring all elements of one's self together.

The contortionist poses that most people associate with Yoga are actually just one small part of a much wider spectrum of activities. Yoga incorporates ethical standards, physical postures, breathing regulation, and meditation among its approaches.

Yoga experienced a resurgence in the twentieth century, resulting in its internationalization. Modern yoga techniques have established a clear distinction between the Hindu religion and yoga practice. An individual may learn about their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being by practicing yoga.

Different schools have evolved during the long history of yoga, and there are several instances of branches and ideologies that have spawned. In the end, everyone agrees on one thing: yoga's primary goal is to promote harmony in the body, mind, and environment.

Yoga is now widely recognized as a holistic practice that promotes the body and mental control. Yoga is more than simply a way to stay in shape; it can also help you live a healthy, full, and powerful life. Yoga has changed dramatically and quickly in recent decades. Yoga is the world's most diverse spiritual discipline. Yoga, as a living tradition, currently knows no bounds as it spreads across the world.

“Knowledge (Jnana) isn't acquired just via the use of yoga practices. Only those who begin by practicing virtue may achieve perfection in knowledge (dharma). However, knowledge cannot be gained without the use of yoga as a tool. The practice of yogic methods is not the means in and of itself, but it is only through the practice of yoga that knowledge is perfected. As the instructors put it, "Yoga is for the goal of knowing the truth." As Shankara put it.

Everything rests on something else or is supported by something else. This is because everything needs a basis to exist. God alone is exempt from this need since He is the Ultimate Supporter of all things. Yoga, therefore, requires assistance. “This is yoga for the man of the world,” writes the author, “who must first define, then quiet his mind against the flood of false desires, and liberate his life from entanglements.” In his introduction to Shankara's commentary on the Yoga Sutras, Trevor Leggett writes: Patanjali describes the aspects of the aspirant's support in great detail, providing vital advice on how to ensure success in yoga.

“Now the exposition of yoga,” the first Yoga Sutra states, suggesting that there must be something preceding yoga in the shape of essential changes of awareness and personality. These requirements, known as Yama and Niyama, can be regarded as the Pillars of Yoga.

Yama and Niyama

Yama and Niyama are known as the "Yoga Ten Commandments." Each of these Five Don'ts (Yama) and Five Dos (Niyama) is a pillar of Yoga that supports and liberates. Yama consists of five components and signifies self-restraint in the sense of self-mastery or abstinence. Niyama is the Sanskrit word for observances, and there are five of them. In Yoga Sutras 2:30,32, the entire list of these 10 Pillars is given:

1) Ahimsa: non-violence, non-injury, and non-harm.

2) Satya: sincerity and truthfulness

3) Asteya: honesty, non-stealing, and non-misappropriation

4) Brahmacharya: sexual abstinence in thought, word, and deed, as well as mastery over all senses

5) Aparigraha: non-acquisitiveness, non-possessiveness, non-greed, non-selfishness

6) Shaucha means "purity" or "cleanliness."

7) Santosha: happiness and tranquility

8) Tapas: a spiritual practice based on austerity and practicality (i.e., generating results).

9) Swadhyaya: spiritual study, introspective self-study

10) Ishwarapranidhana: the act of giving one's life to God.


All of them are concerned with the human being's intrinsic capabilities—or, more precisely, with the abstinence and observation that will develop and unleash those forces for application in spiritual perfection, self-realization, and freedom.

The ten Yamas (restraints) and niyamas (observances) are not optional for the aspiring yogi or the most accomplished yogi. “Following Yama and niyama is the essential prerequisite to do yoga,” says Shankara emphatically. “The requirement is not just that one wishes to do yoga,” he adds, “because the sacred scripture says: ‘But he who has not first turned away from his wickedness, who is not peaceful and tamed, or whose mind is not at rest, he can never acquire the Self through knowing.'

1.2.24) (Katha Upanishad) ‘Truth is established in those who have tapas [strong discipline] and brahmacharya [chastity],' says the Atharva text. (1:15 Prashna Upanishad) ‘Firm in their pledge of brahmacharya,' says the Gita. 6:14 Bhagavad Gita As a result, Yama and niyama are yoga practices in and of themselves, rather than being adjuncts or tools that may be disregarded.

At the same time, yoga practice assists the prospective yogi in following the essential yama and niyama paths, so he should not be discouraged from doing yoga right now because he believes he should wait until he is "ready" or has "cleaned up his act." No. He should make a concerted effort to do yama, niyama, and yoga at the same time. He will be successful.


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