Yoga helps to bring a balance between our body and mind. We can term yoga as the science of better life. Yoga is actually a Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which means ‘to unite’. It unites your body and mind for a better and healthy life. It unites the individual realization with the universal awareness, thus you can live a healthy life. Yogi is a person who achieves the status of Moksha or Freedom. Yoga can keep your body away from all agonies which occur in daily life. Basically, you get to know yourself or become self-conscious with Yoga. It has an important role in Indian culture.
Various researchers reveal that Yoga was there even before religion was introduced to the human beings. It could be as old as human civilization. From the excavations at Indus Valley and from the scriptures written by the foreign scholars about India, it can be believed that the entry of Buddha and Yoga have connections. Some postures of Yoga were found in Indus Valley excavation materials. Yoga was introduced to the society, not for individual satisfaction. It could be termed as a devout obedience based on the science of the human body. Yoga also hints about inner engineering, which could uplift humanity and social intervention.
The Origin of Yoga
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According to Vedas, Yoga was originated in the Vedic period. The oldest Yoga teachings were known as Vedic Yoga or Archaic Yoga. These teachings can be found in Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. Vedic Yoga had a very close connection with human life. It connects human life with the invisible world. Vedic Yoga is actually known to be the root of Yoga. A person who is the master of Vedic Yoga is known as a ‘Seer’ which means ‘Rishi’ in Sanskrit. This was very much connected to the traditions and rituals.
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Pre-classical Yoga has been discussed in the Upanishads. They have covered the history of more than 2000 years. Pre-classical yoga had many variations but most of them are very close to the Vedic yoga. In Upanishads, Vedas were scripted in 3 topics, the final truth, the transcendental self, and the connection between these two. Because of this, Yoga is mentioned in the Upanishads too. Yoga has been discussed in Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and in Mahabharata also. Earlier, Yoga was connected with Buddhism and Hinduism because Buddha introduced meditation and nirvana in the Indian soil. Meditation is one of the major aspects of Yoga with which you will reach a point where you will leave your body and will get connected with the divine supremacy.
Patanjali wrote the Yoga Suthra, which uniforms the Classical yoga. This was written in the 2nd century. This century is known as the classical period of Yoga. ‘Suthra’ means a thread, so Yoga Suthra is the ‘thread of memory’. Patanjali students learned Classical Yoga in a systematic manner. According to Patanjali, humans are made of spirit and matter. If you can separate spirit with the help of Yoga, you can achieve Moksha.
Post-classical period yoga was only focussed in the present. Yoga Suthra became the main teaching point of Yoga. In the post-classical days, Yoga had a huge change from the Classical period. People started to recognize the power of the human body. The Yoga gurus started to adopt new training methods to revive the human body.
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The modern era of yoga was started in 1893, after the Chicago speech of Swami Vivekananda. His speech and presentation made the whole universe to think about Yoga. He impressed everyone who attended the function. Yoga and Vedanta students were impressed and started following him. Later, there was another Yoga Guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, who was known for his skills. Now, Yoga is being promoted all over the world by Swami Ramdev of Patanjali trust. In Gujarat, there is a university called Lakulish Yoga University in Ahmadabad where you can do a three-year degree course in Yoga.