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Origin of Yoga


Origin of yoga

Traditional Yoga, also known as classical Yoga, arose during the 2nd century and encompasses a wide variety of techniques and teachings. It was preceded by a nearly 2,000 year period that is generally known as pre-classical. This style of Yoga is referred to as traditional because it has remained unchanged in form over time.

However, the same cannot be said as true as the other more modern yoga styles have been developed to serve a specific need such as flexibility, strength, weight loss, pre-natal health or breathing. This evolution, or lack of evolution in the case of the traditional yoga style, is ideal for virtually everyone as individuals can choose the yoga style that best suits their personal health goals.

Although, while traditional Yoga is often thought to be the earliest form of Yoga, the art actually arose much earlier. Nearly 26,000 years ago, there arose the foundations of Yoga in India. During this time, there was a long period of peace that allowed for the population of India to spend much more time contemplating themselves and their place in the journey of life rather than developing in other areas having to do with societal and militaristic aims.

Original Purposes of Yoga


When Yoga first arose in India, it had a variety of purposes that were all meant to benefit the participant's mind, body and spirit. Most of the original purposes of Yoga are still very much in place today. These applications included:

Origin of yoga
  • Religious Enlightenment: One of the primary purposes of Yoga was to assist the participant in the realization and enrichment of religious ideas and practices. At this point in history, the advancement of religion was on the forefront of many societal aims.

    This concern of Yoga is still very widely used today. This is one of the reasons that Yoga is often so closely associated with religion, especially in eastern countries.

  • Attainment of the After Life: Aside from religious aims, many participants in Yoga used it as a way to fully separate their minds from their bodies and attain a full and healthy afterlife. In fact, many cultures of the time believed that meditation (especially Yoga) was the only way to make their spirits clean enough to attain immortality. While good deeds and the respect of religious tenets were valuable, they were considered to pale in comparison to the techniques of Yoga.

  • Medicinal Purposes: At the time of its origin, Yoga was thought to be very helpful in the curing of many diseases that arose. Some diseases (that of course could not be cured by Yoga) were regularly treated with this form of art.

    This is largely contributed to the lack of scientific understanding associated with this period of history. However, Yoga is often still used to treat mild injuries and more serious overuse issues with joints and tendons.

  • Relief from Suffering: At this time in history, psychological issues were, of course, still not fully understood. Yoga (especially in India) was the main form of treatment available for many types of psychological ailments and mental suffering.

    Unlike many of its medical applications, yoga used for the relief of mental suffering continues to be very valuable. Some mental conditions that are still readily treated by Yoga include stress, anxiety and depression.

The Development of Yoga


Yoga has been influenced by many different religious and spiritual mindsets and governing rules but the entire form of exercise is usually subset into three periods. During each of these periods, certain types and styles of Yoga were more dominant than others.

It is important to not that, while certain forms have changed in popularity, the general rules and practices of this art have remained largely unchanged. Understanding the origins of Yoga depends largely on an understanding of the individual periods of development.

Classical


From the classical period (around 2nd century A.D.) many of the beliefs that are still in use today have developed. During this period, Yoga was finally morphed into an actual art by the setting down of styles, types and pose sequences by a man named Patanjali. This first set of guidelines is often referred to as the Yoga Sutras. This period was also the time when Yoga was brought into the public realm of bodily separation from the mind.

Post Classical


In the time following the classical period, Yoga began to take on more of a religious form than it had in the past. It was during this period that the belief that meditation and complete separation were the only paths to immortality. In addition to the developing religious beliefs, ideas about Yoga's ability to refresh and replenish the body also began to take form.

During this period, Hatha was developed as it is widely still used today in its original form. It is also interesting that devises used to aid the Yoga participant also started to emerge during this period. Most notable of these devices was the development of Yoga Straps.

Modern


Origin of yoga

The period commonly referred to as the modern period of Yoga actually arose during the 1800s as Yoga made its break into the Western countries of the world. The first presence of Yoga in Hollywood did not occur until 1947 when a man named Indra Devi began teaching what are now the modern Yoga classes still in use today.

After Yoga's introduction to Hollywood, the art form spread rapidly throughout the United States. By the 1960s, Yoga was a very popular form of exercise among the people commonly referred to as "hippies." After the end of this era, Yoga began to become main stream until it arrived at the popularity explosion that occurred around 2001.