Do You Know The History of Yoga? An Insight To Its Origins and Importance.7 minute
Yoga is a very broad term that we are not fully familiar with. And, if you are wondering how did it evolve and what importance does it have in our lives, read on to know everything about Yoga.
We human beings have explored nature to the extent where everything seems to us ‘already known’. We have reached Mars, been deep into the sea, and know almost all possible development methods. But Yoga is one thing that introduces us to something entirely unheard of. It's your inner voice. On this international yoga day, let’s explore the importance of yoga and its history.
Do you know Yoga is known to reduce disturbance, be it mental or physical? I don’t know about you, but this is what experts and researchers have to say.
Wanna know more about this BROAD term? Read on.
What exactly is Yoga?
Many of you might think of Yoga as merely a practice in which you move your body into different postures. But is it so? Why do you think monks, gurus, successful people, and happiest people wake up early in the morning daily. That too, just for some movement on their yoga mats or gardens?
To put it simply, it's the union (Yoga) of energies that keeps your mind free of thoughts and full of peace. In other words, it's that thing that connects your soul to nature which is indeed the Only truth of this entire universe.
We may not know the exact meaning of Yoga, but this is what Yoga Sutras and Patanjali have to say. It's the practice that combines together all 3 aspects of the human body- Physical, Mental, and Spiritual. However, what we know today is the modern form which is generally practised worldwide.
How did Yoga evolve?
What if I tell you, the specific yoga origin and the story of its formation are unknown? That may not be something you don’t know, but one thing is for sure, it developed in Ancient India. Yoga is an ancient tradition that has been around for centuries! It originated in India, and it's said to be over 5,000 years old.
What Sadhguru says is that around 15,000 years ago, there lived a man in the high peaks of the Great Himayals. He sat on a mountain and did nothing, just sat for months without any food, water, or anything. People gathered around him and somehow got inspired. That person is what we call today, Adiyogi (aka Lord Shiva).
Some may find it unbelievable, but Sadhguru is right when he says that Lord Shiva was really Adiyogi - The first yogi ever. He spread the knowledge of this magical practice to 7 people known as ‘Sapt Rishi’.
What happened next? These Sapt Rishi travelled to 7 directions globally- America, Africa, Europe, Northern Asia, South East Asia, and more. Australia was not a part of it. As they spread in 7 different directions, they sparked the light of Yoga amongst other people. This was important to them because they wanted people to have at least some aspect of spiritual connectivity.
As a result, people in other parts of the world did not take it seriously. However, in India, people admired the concept of Yoga and how this simple breathing exercise changed people's lives.
The earliest practice of Yoga
I know many of you would not believe in what I just told you. However, if you are still confused, the scientific mystery of the origin of yoga still remains unknown. So, here are some of the early known possibilities that Yoga was actually a part of the ancient Indian lifestyle.
1. Indus Valley Civilization
Yoga could have existed a lot before the Vedas were actually written. So, we can say it was quite a common practice in Pre-Vedic times. One of the biggest known justification for this was when the Pashupati Seal was excavated from an Archeological Survey of India.
Many experts believe that this seal belonged to the Mohenjo Daro of the Indus Valley Civilization. You will notice how this horned deity is sitting in meditation while surrounded by animals and other people. This is what Yoga is all about, being in yourself and ignoring all disturbance.
2. Vedic period
After the incident of excavation, it became clear how Yoga became a broad topic of discussion in other ancient texts. Coming a bit forward in time, it was like 1500 BCE when Vedas were written. The concept of Yoga was mentioned in RigVeda, which further became the introduction of Yoga to modern people.
Do you see how this pattern is working? Please don’t confuse your mind as there is more to it. For instance, epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata also mentioned the use of Yoga by people of that time. How exciting and old it is?
Decoding yoga for modern people
Yes! It’s like decoding some computer language into a normal one that makes it easy to understand. Well! Undoubtedly there has to be something that would make it easier to understand to people living in today’s effortless world.
Let’s focus on how modern people got a thorough knowledge of what Yoga was all about. Obviously, it was thousands of years ago, but still there are things to figure out.
One biggest source came from Patanjali by Maharishi Patanjali. He was that god’s source who wrote 200 sutras, out of which many were about the already-existing practice of Yoga. All thanks to him that we still are familiar with this great practice.
How is Yoga so important for us?
If you are someone who practices yoga every day, you can relate to how exciting it is. Not just in terms of its health benefits but how it teaches you to live ‘in the moment'.
Now, for those familiar with Yoga but don’t practise it regularly, you are missing out on a lot. Down here are a few benefits that are rarely known to people about Yoga. Read on to find out:
1. Best to treat anxiety disorder
Well! We keep hearing that Yoga helps in controlling our minds. But is it treating serious mental issues? The answer is Yes! Yoga is as effective as any specific mental therapy like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Students dealing with stress related to work, career, education, and more got clear ideas and a much more calm mind through Yoga. This is not about bragging, but it is genuinely what science has found out. Don’t believe me? Read this study yourself.
2. Improves flexibility of your body
Well! No wonder why many people think Yoga is all about stretching. But the problem is, it is not just stretching but more than that. Whatever Yoga you pick to go for, it will make your body more and more flexible with stronger muscles and improved body posture.
However, people who think you need to be flexible to do Yoga, it's a total myth. You don’t need flexibility, but with time, as you practise Yoga, it will make it one. Try it for about 30 days and see the difference I am talking about.
3. Cures deadly diseases
Be it blood sugar level or bad cholesterol, arthritis, Yoga has a cure for almost all the diseases in the world. Believe it or not, you can probably prevent coronavirus as well.
There are several postures that have individual benefits. Unlike any other workout, with Yoga you can literally focus your attention on improving a particular spot or area, dealing with any such disease? Get used to Yoga and see the magic.
4. Beauty-enhancing and anti-ageing miracle
How many times have you seen celebs talking about Yoga as their secret for glowy skin, toned body, and gorgeous hair? They are not lying. It is actually true. All the breathing exercises and stretches you do on the mat will leave you with a long-lasting & healthy effect on your skin and hair.
5. Weight loss secret?
Yoga may not be one of those heart-pounding exercises. It can be as slow, steady and strenuous as picking up rocks. In fact, it improves breathing and helps you increase metabolism. Moreover, combine it with a healthy diet and see what it does to tone your body.
Types of Yoga
There are many different types of Yoga - but what is the difference? Anyway, there are four main categories: Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Hatha Yoga. Let’s go through them one by one.
- Hatha Yoga: Hatha Yoga is a gentle style of Yoga that focuses on developing strength and flexibility. It's like a full-body workout that will do wonders for your body.
- Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga yoga is a rigorous style of Yoga that focuses on synchronizing breath with movement. It is sometimes called the "eight-limbed" path to enlightenment because it takes practitioners through eight steps, or "asanas."
- Iyengar Yoga: Iyengar Yoga is a form of Yoga that is more focused on alignment, precision and attention to detail. It is often recommended for people who have injuries or are recovering from an injury.
- Vinyasa Yoga: The popular yoga style Vinyasa Yoga is great for beginners because it focuses on synchronizing breath with movement. It is known for its physical and mental benefits. It requires the practitioner to hold poses for extended periods, while breathing deeply.
What Swami Ramdev has been teaching to the world has become the biggest reason why the world knows what Yoga is. On the other hand, celebrities like Shilpa Shetty, Jennifer Aniston, Malaika Arora, and many others adore Yoga.
This year’s 21st June is gonna be a special day. Why? Because this day, thousands of years back, the great Yoga spread into the world. Are you still away from this awesome thing? Start your journey of Yoga and see what it does to your entire life.