The Origin, History, and Development of Yoga
The nature of yoga is a kind of mental outlook based on subtle science, connecting body and mind harmoniously. It brings us healthy living like art and science. The word ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, referring to “to join” or “to unite”. According to yogic scriptures, the practice of yoga brings us to the integration of individual consciousness and universal consciousness, connecting our mind and body, man and nature. We want to reach self-realization and learn to overcome sufferings and predicaments by learning yoga to get to the state of freedom. Yoga practice aims to bring back freedom, health, harmony, and peace to our life. Basic humane values are the core value of yoga.
History and development of yoga
The practice of yoga is considered the beginning of the dawn of civilization. The science of yoga born thousands of years ago, very much earlier than the birth of the first religion or belief. In yoga lore, Shiva is treated as the pioneer to practice yoga.
Thousand years ago, Adiyogi imparted his knowledge to the legendary “seven sages”. Then the sages spread his theory around the world, such as Asia, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and South America. The global ancient culture has similarities. Yogic culture has the most profound effect in India. Agastya brought and deepened this yogic culture during his trip to India. The existence of the heritage of seals and fossils in the Indus Saraswati valley civilization proved the presence of yoga in India. Yoga has been spreading in many corners including folk stories, Indus valley civilization, Buddhist, Tantric traditions, and so on. Pure Yoga has become popular in South Asia. It was at that time when yoga was practiced following the rules and guidance of the Guru. Its core spiritual value is of great importance. In the Vedic period, the sun was the most important symbol. Surya namaskara was created on account of this influence. Sage Maharshi Patanjali collects and clears up the information and knowledge about the existing yoga to make it systematized. Not only Patanjali but many yoga masters and sages also made a great contribution to yoga development and preservation by systematizing and recording the literature and practice.
Many pieces of evidence proved that yoga began in the pre-Vedic period (2700 B.C.) and then stepped into Patanjali’s period. The valuable resources and information come from the Vedas (4), Upanishads(108), Smritis, teachings of Buddhism, Jainism, Panini, Epics (2), Puranas (18), and so on.
The period between 500 BC - 800 A.D. was the golden age for yoga development in history. In this period, commentaries of Vyasa on Yoga Sutras and Bhagavadgita have shown up. Mahavir and Buddha, the two great religious teachers in India, played a very important role in this period. The concept of Five great vows created by Mahavir and Ashta Magga was treated as the early core value of Yoga sadhana. Three types of yoga, Gyan yoga, Bhakti yoga, and Karma Yoga had their fullest expression of human wisdom. It has a profound effect even in modern times of yoga, which people still follow its method to find peace. During 800 A.D. - 1700 A.D, yoga came into the post-classical period. The teachings of Suradasa, Tulasidasa, Purandardasa, Mirabai boost in this period. Some famous yogis like Matsyendaranatha, Gorkshanatha, Cauranginatha, Swatmaram Suri, Gheranda, Shrinivasa Bhatt stand out during this period. During 1700 - 1900 A.D, yoga came into the modern period. The great Yogacharyas- Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Paramhansa Yogananda, Vivekananda are the prominent representatives who had a great effect on pushing yoga forward. In modern times, yoga is widely accepted and practiced by people who convince it will be of great help for health, preservation, and peace. Swami Shivananda, Shri T.Krishnamacharya, Swami Kuvalayananda, Shri Yogendra, Swami Rama made great contributions to modern yoga.
In the past few decades, modern yoga had a complete transformation. It gets out from the shackle of creed and social status coming into every home. The benefits of yoga have been recognized by people around the world and June 21st is defined as International Yoga Day.
Nowadays, yoga education is becoming more and more important and it is brought to the yoga institutions, yoga colleges, Naturopathy colleges, and Private trusts & societies. Many yoga therapies and training centers are built in hospitals, Medical Institutions, and Therapeutical setups.
Yoga has gone through a long way in history and has become what it is now. Thousands of people reap its benefits. The practice of yoga changes our life and the way we are thinking. Keep learning and practicing, you will get more from yoga.