Origins of Yoga
Posted by Administrator on 4/19/2011
The origins of Yoga are uncertain but the oldest archaeological evidence found, dating from around 3000 BC, was found in stone stamps which contained pictures of yoga positions belonging to the civilizations of the Indus Valley and Saraswati.
Yoga is also mentioned in detail in Hindu scriptures. The oldest of the Hindu scriptures are among the oldest in the world and it is here that they make reference to Yoga. Hindu culture and in general all the religious-philosophical elements and records of India are recorded, which has its origin in the Vedas which are sacred texts that originally came from Sanskrit.
This Vedic knowledge was preserved from generation to generation originally by oral tradition, through the recitation of its contents in the form of aphorisms. This was a combined wisdom of human knowledge that touched the physical, metaphysical and spiritual parts of the human psyche.
This Vedic knowledge were collected in writing, for the first time about five thousand years ago and the first written evidence found in the Vedic scriptures, the four Vedas, date back to 2500 BC. In the West the best known part of the Vedas are the Upanishads, treatises and poems that explore philosophical and mystical nature of the human soul. It is in the Upanishads, the last part of the Vedas (1500 BC) which where the basis of the yogic teachings.
Among the topics discussed was a narrative of moral and philosophical issues. An important part of the Mahabharata is the Bhagavad Gita, this consists of eighteen chapters, which discuss different aspects of Yoga. I around 500 BC Patanjali compiled all the existing knowledge about Yoga in the Yoga Sutras, a basic text unanimously recognized by all yoga schools. Over the years many authors have commented on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which are classified in the 8 progressive steps (ashtanga yoga) the yoga most developed in the West is Ashtanga yoga.
Ashtanga yoga, or yoga of the eight steps as it is sometimes known includes a set of techniques that are complementary to each other and to every yogi's practice. The first 4 steps develop a particular practice focusing on the "external", the last 4 steps are more focused on the "internal".
Contemporary Yoga started about 1900 AD, many teachers came to the West thus creating the origin of the different schools that are currently known. Western culture has ignored Indian philosophy until just over a hundred years ago, practically, until some European philologists began to study Sanskrit in the nineteenth century.
Many schools focus on the physical fitness of the yogi and have developed a wide variety of yoga styles. Yoga is much more than just physical fitness, it promotes all round well being in the physical, mental and spiritual realms. In the West, the most popular styles of yoga are Hatha, Ashtanga, Bikram (hot yoga) , and Kundalini – although many other types exist as well. The history of yoga continues as this fascinating form of stretching and controlled postures continues to promote well being in both the East and Western hemispheres.