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The Journey into the History of Yoga

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The Journey into the History of Yoga:

The benefits of Yoga are all too well known and in no way a secret to us anymore. If one wishes to practice and imbibe Yoga, he can do so regardless of his caste, race or religion – all one needs is the will to begin, the strength to go on, and of course, someone already initiated to guide him along the way.

But up until this day, I have realized that one needs to know, every aspect of what he chooses to practice, before he adopts and makes it his own. Context is very important, and history is a great part of the context. So, without further ado, I will share with you, my knowledge journey about the origins of this mystical ancient science, Yoga.

The Origins:

Although its exact origin is not very well documented, it is said to have originated from the East, during the Vedic period – Vedas being the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, with inscriptions of Yoga postures dating back to 3000 BCE.

This particularity of ancient shamanism has gained more and more attention, flourishing within the age of Buddha, while still being peacefully practiced by the Yogis. It has received so much attention, that around 356 – 323 BCE, Yoga has begun to feel an alluring curiosity to Alexander the Great himself. He had actually studied the Yogis, but failed to learn their secret due to the incompatibility of hearts – Alexander the Great, a conqueror, and the Yogis, the peaceful people. They would have rather preferred being killed than dishonor the sacred art and practice of Yoga, by giving in to the shallow intentions of Alexander.

Yoga continues to expand, having its roots, its philosophy and principles, well preserved in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, dating back to approximately 200 AD.

What is Yoga?

The word Yoga is derived from the Sankrit word ”Yuja”, which means to bind, to align, to hold. The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali defines yoga as “Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhah” which means “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”. Yoga is a path to liberation and enlightenment (Nirvana) by detaching yourself from the experience of life.

Others, though, believe that the meaning of Yoga needs a more dissociative approach; more precisely, that Yogis search not for union with the Divine, but for freeing the soul from matter, for recognizing that consciousness is different from matter.  Either way, the two interpretations are not so different in my opinion, because the stages of Yoga remain the same, and either way, the Yogi will attain the same otherworldly attributes.

The Stages of Yoga:

There are eight stages of Yoga practice:

  1. Yama in which we lose desire and interest for the material, and choose to deal with people with compassion and truthfulness.
  2. Niyama teaches us to observe and control ourselves internally, to study ourselves and concentrate upon our purity and cleanliness
  3. Asana would be the practice of spiritual postures in order to silence our mind.
  4. Pranayama teaches us the importance of our mere breath. It expands its utility while we are taught to control it, and to regulate our breathing, in order to reach clearing of the mind.
  5. Pratyahara is about abstraction, restrain while we gain control of our senses. It happens because our minds are so focused during this stage, that our senses follow her, thus being controlled by her.
  6. Dharana stands for concentration – respectively, maintaining concentration upon a single aspect, a single direction. Because we have already gone through the previous stages, our mind is now capable of fully focusing on one subject, and we are ready to move on to the next stages in order to reach our true potential.
  7. Dhyana, our seventh stage, is when we reach meditation.  We contemplate profoundly upon the Divine, and the whole of us is in a reflective state.
  8. Samadhi is our final step in our union with the Supreme Spirit. We are in deep trans-contemplation, and we are experiencing the higher form of consciousness.

These are, of course, no easy steps, and it takes great courage, will, sacrifice, and concentration, in order to merely begin. At this point in our civilization, it is of no wonder that the process of soul cleansing is the most difficult task, propelling us away from the real truth.

Brett Larkin
Star Expert

Brett teaches vinyasa flow yoga at top San Francisco studios, companies like Google and Pinterest, and on her Youtube channel, where thousands of students have studied with her for over 5 million minutes. Get her free yoga playlists, yoga teacher training tips, and free dance, yoga and meditation classes at BrettLarkin.com. Beginner or intermediate yogis can enjoy her online course on deepening your yoga practice. http://bit.ly/1pniEQ7

Brett Larkin
Star Expert

Brett teaches vinyasa flow yoga at top San Francisco studios, companies like Google and Pinterest, and on her Youtube channel, where thousands of students have studied with her for over 5 million minutes. Get her free yoga playlists, yoga teacher training tips, and free dance, yoga and meditation classes at BrettLarkin.com. Beginner or intermediate yogis can enjoy her online course on deepening your yoga practice. http://bit.ly/1pniEQ7

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109 comments
Lorey Hobbs
Lorey Hobbs 5pts

Very over simplified and numerous misinterpretations.

Massimo Vaj
Massimo Vaj 5pts

No Prasad, you wrong, allopathy is not omeopathy

Prasad Mbd
Prasad Mbd 5pts

present allopapathy medicine is also a refined form of aayurvedaa only

Massimo Vaj
Massimo Vaj 5pts

The view internal spiritual is given by the Absolute and the human who "see" the truth of the universal principles doesn't invent anything, nor speculates and everyone that see... they see the same principles, because they are issued by the Truth that is unique in essence.

Claus Bendson Wittig
Claus Bendson Wittig 5pts

That my friend does not make any sense! If I were to read your statement for granted the logical implication would mean that only the Gods could act and the humans not\U0001f609

Massimo Vaj
Massimo Vaj 5pts

Time is a state of being and is not universal

Massimo Vaj
Massimo Vaj 5pts

The scriptures of the Vedas by the initiatory knowledge derive

Massimo Vaj
Massimo Vaj 5pts

Awareness following initiation is not subject to duration

Massimo Vaj
Massimo Vaj 5pts

And it can be very dangerous when done without a guide of a master

Ayurveda
Ayurveda 5pts

That cannot be true as everything would have come into exsistence gradually through a certain process and then it would be passed on to generations and beyond.

Ayurveda
Ayurveda 5pts

Constant practice can help you get flexible! :)

Massimo Vaj
Massimo Vaj 5pts

Yoga is union through identification with the Absolute and does not have a historical beginning because it is not the result of human invention, but divine.

Chandanee Sembhoo
Chandanee Sembhoo 5pts

Before z yogis used to do a lot those exercises. But is it possible nowadays? Can someone do such things as shown in z pic.?

Ernest Dominguez
Ernest Dominguez 5pts

More and More better life for me. F poo r this body has been through a hard life.

Ln Jeffries
Ln Jeffries 5pts

I love doing Yoga poses several times a week. I always feel stronger afterwards.

Deepak DS
Deepak DS 5pts

Yoga originatedd in egypt? Pls wake up

Kittu Vaisak
Kittu Vaisak 5pts

Guru Anjana ......Hello I am myself a yoga teacher... You should concentrate more on breathing techniques...70-80% of the body toxins evacuate via breathe only ...When u do breathing techniques your skin pores will open and the toxins evacuate..so by gradual practice u will get a clear skin .. Breathing techniques like Bhastrika pranayam ..kapalbhati and anuloma viloma helps in detoxification ...U can also follow Asanas along with it.Going to a teacher and learning will be good more than online study if u are doing that.. The most quantity of anti oxidants helps in healthy skin is there in pomegranate.. Have half or one pomegranate each day ..it helps... :-) :-) :-) :-)

GuRu ANjana
GuRu ANjana 5pts

respect for u,,,, can u kindly tell me pls,, what yoga asanas i shd do for removing acnes /pimples from my skin,,, and wat food is recommended ,,, shall be obliged ,,,

Ayurveda
Ayurveda 5pts

Yoga, Yog originated in ancient India!

GuRu ANjana
GuRu ANjana 5pts

u can read in anywhere,, yoga is only mentioned in hinduism,, which is originated in india,, there are four types of yoga,, Admin, pls say it yog not yoga,, karma yog is a part of it,,,, nothing is originated in egypt or any other middle east country,,

Bd Prasad
Bd Prasad 5pts

yes it is true................................!

Rohan Kokane
Rohan Kokane 5pts

how is that so??Yoga originated in INDIA.

Vishnudas
Vishnudas 5pts

These are the pictures, but the real beauty when you enter into this picture.

Alex Lusty
Alex Lusty 5pts

Diss an Alexander at your own peril, yogurts.

Ayurveda
Ayurveda 5pts

Akila Barrett Now that's something which is really...really absurd!

Akila Barrett
Akila Barrett 5pts

Dont know why they have to lie. Yoga originated in Egypt.

Korbin Krein
Korbin Krein 5pts

Ashley McCauley Katelyn Redfoot Logan Creech

雅幸山木
雅幸山木 5pts

やっぱ、飛んでる人いるじゃん!

Ront Ogawa
Ront Ogawa 5pts

Jovena Naidu nice history n alot of info..u tell me k agter reading..hehehe