Yoga Past and Present

The real facts about the history of yoga are ambiguous. Its roots are traced back to more than 5000 years. The archaeological excavations in the Indus valley are the reason of earliest reference to yoga. The figure found there represents a yogi who is sitting in crossed-legged position with hands resting on his knees. The whole period of the history of this era is divided in four main periods of development namely the Vedic period, pre-classical period, classical period and post-classical period.

First of all in the Vedic period the Vedas contains the oldest techniques. At that time people relied on Vedic yogis to teach them about living in divine harmony. The creation of Upanishads is known as classical yoga. Some of characteristics are not only from Hinduism but also from Buddhism. During the 6th century, the Buddha started stressing the need for meditation and practice of physical posture. The Bhagavad-Gita or Lord’s song was created around 500 B.C. It is confirmed that it has been an old practice.

Classical period is marked by the creation of sutra which was written by Patanjali in second century. The eight limbs of yoga sutra include Niyama, Yama, Asanas, Prayanama, Pratyahara, dharana, Dhyana and Smadhi. Patanjali believed that all the individuals are composite of matter and spirit. According to him, the both should be separated in order to cleanse the spirit. In the start the yogis focused on the meditation and totally neglected the Asanas. Later, the importance for the Asanas was revitalized.

After the period of yoga sutra, a lot of schools and forms were developed to impart knowledge to different people interested in this profession. This era was mostly like the post classical and vedict traditions with the characteristic of unification of mind and body. In that era, yogis focused on meditation and contemplation. However, the new generation later developed a system for exercise such as deep breathing to help the body to keep itself young. The present day practice of this technique was started by Swami Vivekananda and it has a deep impact on Americans. The masters started their travel to the west to attain 1920’s the Hutha was introduced by T. Krishnamacharya. He traveled through India and to give people the instructions about various techniques and poses. He also opened the first Hatha School dealing with various aspects. During the 150s a teacher wrote a book on this subject. Yoga entered the world of sports through this book. Today we see many players has incorporated yoga in their injury reducing, strengthening and focus oriented trainings.

Today it is followed by 30 million people all around the world and it has gained tremendous popularity. It has become most rapidly growing health movement of today. Everyone, from artists to common man, is aware of health and mental benefits of this simple practice. It is being recommended by doctors as the relief of stress. Studies have shown that the success rate of treating depression with yoga is 73%. Attitude of people towards health, spirituality and way of life has changed lot. Yoga helps you in all your stress.

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