The History of Yoga - Where Did Yoga Come From?

No one knows exactly how old yoga is. It originated as long as 10,000 to 5000 years ago. It was passed down orally and has gone through much evolution. The earliest reference to Yoga was found when archeological excavations were made in the Indus valley - an amazing powerful and influential civilization in the early antique period. This sophisticated culture developed around the Indus river and the long gone Sarasvati river in northern India, on the border towards Pakistan and had sewage systems, baths as early as 2,600 BC.

While many religions continue to want to make yoga their own creation, it belongs to all of us. It has many facets that can be found in the Hindu and Buddhist faith, but the basic principals are universal and based on "the eight limbs of yoga", which can be found in all religions.


The History of Yoga is defined as four periods:

The History of Yoga - Where Did Yoga Come From?

Vedic Period, Pre-Classical Period, Classical Period, Post Classical Period and the Modern Period

History of Yoga

Yoga is said to be as old as civilization itself but the oral transmission of the practice, has left several gaps in its history. Earliest archeological evidence relating to yoga's existence is found in Mohenjodaro seals excavated from the Indus valley, depicting a figure seated in a traditional yoga pose. The stone seals place Yoga's existence around 3000 B.C.

The Vedic Period

The next reference to yoga is found in the Rig Veda, the oldest sacred text in the world. The Vedas, dating back to 1500 and 1200 BC, are a collection of hymns, mantras and brahmanical rituals that praised a greater being. Yoga is referred to in the book as yoking or discipline without any mention of a practice or a method to achieve this discipline. The Atharva Veda too mentions yoga with a reference to controlling the breath.

Pre-Classical Period

The creation of the Upanishads, between 800 to 500 BC, marks the period called Pre-Classical Yoga. The word Upanishad means to sit near and implies that the only way a student could learn the truths inscribed in the texts was by sitting close to a guru.

The Maitrayaniya Upanishad outlined a six-fold path to liberation. This six-fold yoga path included controlling the breath (pranayama), withdrawing the senses (pratyahara), meditation (dhyana), concentration (dharana), contemplation (tarka), and absorption (samadhi). Patanjali's Yoga Sutra was later to mirror these paths with greater elucidation and a few additions.

Two yoga disciplines gained prominence at this time: karma yoga (path of action or ritual) and jnana yoga (path of knowledge or study of the scriptures). Both paths led to liberation or enlightenment. The Bhagavad-Gita, composed around 500 BC later added the bhakti yoga (the path of devotion) to this path.

It was at the time of the Upanishads that the idea of ritual sacrifice was internalized and became the idea of sacrifice of the ego through self-knowledge, action and wisdom. This remains an important part of yoga's philosophy today. As with the Vedas, the Upanishads contained nothing of what we would term as yoga asana practice today. The first and probably most important presentation of yoga came in the next period.

Classical Period

Written some time in the second century, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras created a milestone in the history of yoga, defining what is now known as the Classical Period. This set of 195 sutras (aphorisms) is considered to be the first systematic presentation of yoga, and Patanjali is revered as the father of yoga.

Patanjali defined the eight-limbed path of yoga (ashtanga yoga), which described a practical treatise on living and laid out a path for attaining harmony of the mind, body and soul. Strict adherence to which would lead one to enlightenment. The sutras still serve as a guideline for living in the world, although modern yoga no longer sees the need to master the eight limbs in succession.

Post-Classical Period

It was in this period that the belief of the body as a temple was rekindled and yogis designed a practice to rejuvenate the body and to prolong life. It was no longer necessary to escape from reality; instead the focus was more living in the moment and on the correct path. The exploration of the spiritual and the physical halves and the need to harmonize the mind, body and spirit led to the creation of Tantra yoga, to cleanse the body and mind, and to Hatha yoga in the ninth or tenth century.

Modern Period

Yoga in its present avatar owes a lot to learned gurus who traveled west to spread the benefits of yoga, or researched and created different schools of yoga. In 1893 Swami Vivekanada addressed the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago and spoke about Raja yoga. Swami Sivanada wrote several books on yoga and philosophy and introduced the five principles of yoga. J.Krishnamurti, the prolific Indian philosopher, influenced thousands with his writings and teachings on Jnana yoga.

The defining epicenter of modern day yoga, as practiced in the west, began with Krishnamacharya, Mysore India in 1931.

T Krishnamacharya opened the first Hatha yoga school in the 1920s. Three of Krishnamacharya's most famous pupils were-Pattabhi Jois, who developed the school of Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, Indra Devi who introduced yoga to Hollywood, and B.K.S. Iyengar, who created Iyengar yoga known for its attention to body alignment and for its use of props.

Since then, many more yoga gurus have become pioneers, popularizing yoga and finding new styles in keeping with the changing times. Today there are limitless styles of yoga, all based on ingredients from the different paths of yoga (see: The Paths of Yoga).

Yoga in America has been more focused on the Asana side of the practice, but a true yogi knows there is much more to the experience. I always advise students to try different styles and you will find one that gives you the most enrichment.

Enjoy you spiritual journey...

The History of Yoga - Where Did Yoga Come From?

David Yglesias RYT is yoga teacher and made this page for his personal study on the subject and to share with his students. This page is made up of the work of many, so if you have information to add, please email me:

David Yglesias, RYT

Thanks for the many people that helped put this history together.

Yoga Explained

People want to be healthier these days and they are starting to realize that doctors and medicine can't always do the trick. Yoga is what a lot of people are using to help fix this problem in there lives. Yoga also helps people relax and can be very helpful after a stressful day. A lot of people think that Yoga is just a bunch of very tough aerobics and exercises, but they don't realize that there is a lot more to it than that.

Yoga is a group of old Hindu spiritual practices that started in India, where it still is a tradition and is seen as a means to enlightenment. The four main types of Yoga are Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga but there are many other types. In the America, the popular Yoga used by over 30 million people refers to Hatha Yoga, meaning forced Yoga.


Current yoga practices include traditional elements that come from Hinduism, like moral and ethical principles, postures to keep the body fit, spiritual philosophy, breathing exercises and relaxing the mind through meditation.

Yoga Explained

People who commonly practice yoga see it as beneficial because it leads to better health, emotional well-being and mental clarity. Yoga is expressed differently in different cultures. In Hinduism, yoga can be seen as a practice intended to bring people closer to God. In Buddhism, since they don't perceive there being a god, yoga helps people gain wisdom, compassion and insight. In western nations, where there more of an emphasis on individualism, so yoga practice may be used more as a way to become one with themselves.

Yoga helps master the body, mind and emotions. It is said to slowly gain knowledge of the true nature of reality. Yoga can be a way of increasing one's spiritual awareness and insight. While the history of yoga strongly connects it with Hinduism, it is said that yoga is not a religion itself, but has steps which can help people of all religions, as well as those who do not see themselves as religious.

Common to most types of yoga is the practice of concentration and meditation. Meditators sometimes report feelings of peace, joy and oneness. The focus of meditation may change from school to school. Some say it's a focus on one thing and only one thing, like breathing for example and others say it's a void, or being completely empty. Another common theme is the spiritual teacher, sometimes known as the guru, or lama. The guru guides the student through yoga's discipline from the beginning.

Traditionally, knowledge of yoga and the permission to practice it or teach it has been passed down by gurus and students. The yoga tradition includes texts which explain the techniques and teachings of yoga. Many gurus write on the about it, either giving modern translations of texts, or explaining how their teachings should be followed. The yoga tradition has also been a good source of inspiration for poetry, music, dance and art.

Yoga has helped many people for hundreds of years to open there minds and start really living, in a less stressful and healthier life.

Yoga Explained

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Yoga []

Yoga Tips - How Long Should You Hold Yoga Poses?

Many practitioners of Hatha Yoga often wonder how long each pose should be held. During the process of holding Yoga poses (asanas), there is actually no definitive amount of time that should be applied to each move. The asana should be held as long as it is comfortable and does not cause any pain or discomfort. In addition, it should be quite easy to breathe deeply and fully while holding each Yoga pose.

There is a misconception that pain should be felt during these poses. However, it is best for the person, who is practicing, to only hold them as long as there is no pain, and they are fully comfortable. As long as your body is comfortable, the asana can be held for minutes at a time. In fact, for restorative purposes, it is recommended to hold the poses for intervals of 60 seconds, while deep breathing is practiced. Deep breathing helps open up the ribs and helps stretch the spine.


Another way to determine how long to hold the position is to breathe in and out, up to five times during the process of holding an asana, but only if the position can be held without discomfort. Remember, the main focus is to be able to accomplish the pose while maintaining a comfortable position. Understanding safety during physical Yoga practice is vital to accomplishing these asanas, without causing any damage to the body. It is crucial to understand that Hatha Yoga is not a race, and taking the time to do the asana correctly is much more important than holding a pose for a long amount of time.

Yoga Tips - How Long Should You Hold Yoga Poses?

There are some asanas that are not meant to be done for minutes at a time. It is not always true that holding a pose for an extended amount of time is better. For example, the Peacock Pose (Mayurasana), the Eagle Pose (Garudasana), and the Crow Pose (Kakasana), are asanas that might not be executed for very long time, due to their ability to cause internal or external strain.

All of the meditative poses, however, can be held for longer periods of time, without any complications. For these types of postures, it is actually beneficial to retain the asana without needing to take a break. These poses include the Easy Pose (Sukhasana), the Corpse Pose (Shavasana), and the Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana). Asanas are meant to strengthen the mind and spirit, while toning the body, in a safe progressive manner.

© Copyright 2011 - Aura Wellness Center - Publications Division

Yoga Tips - How Long Should You Hold Yoga Poses?

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, has written many books on the subject of Yoga. He is a co-owner and the Director of Yoga Teacher Training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga Teacher since 1995. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit:

Hot Yoga?

There are a lot of yoga types and one of them is the famous hot yoga. The hot yoga
is characterized by a series of yoga poses which is done in a heated room. The room
where you perform the exercise is conserved at a temperature of 95-100 degrees.
This kind of exercise gives off a lot of perspiration during a session.

Hot yoga is advantageous because it cleanses your body and gets rid of the toxins
inside your body. Since is makes your body warm, the more flexible it gets.


When doing the hot yoga, you should have some accessories like your yoga mat and towel. Since you will be sweating severely, you should have something to wipe up
your sweat every other time.

Hot Yoga?

Some people who practice hot yoga do not wear very thick clothes because it causes
them to sweat more.

If you are going to practice hot yoga, you should be ready with your clothing. The
clothes you should wear should be appropriate. You can wear shorts during the

Wearing of shorts allows your skin to breathe and give off heat. Students are the
ones who usually wear shorts. They tend to wear small clothes because they are still
vigorous and they sweat too much. If you are taking hot yoga sessions, make sure
that you drink a lot of water. If you are in the class, you can also bring along your
own bottle of water so that you can drink anytime you want. It is important to bring
along a bottle of water so that you will not get dehydrated and so that the skin will
produce more sweat. Before having a hot yoga session, you should take note that it
is not advisable to eat two hours before the class starts. This is because your body
is opt for a heavy exercise.

Bikram's method is such a good yoga style. People who want to be slim can practice
this type of yoga because their fats and cholesterol will be burned through sweat.

Although it burns your fats, you should not be burning all of it because you still
need some. Yoga started about 2500 years ago which was founded by Patanjali.
After it's discovery, it was then practiced and spread around the world. Picture
yourself doing Yoga when you are suffering from illness like Fever where your body
temperature is at 105 deg. Fahrenheit! I bet you couldn't stand this kind of heat. If
ever you will, you have over fatigued yourself.

At the compassion of the disagreement is Choudhuryís wish to put off anybody
teaching yoga in a heated room from calling their class 'Bikram Yoga'. He would like
to put to one side this title only for those teachers who are qualified by his Yoga
College of India and who stick to his arranged process precisely. This has been
handled upon because there are a lot of people who imitate his teachings.

Now that you have learned the difference of hot yoga among all other styles, think
again if it satisfies your desired to release your sweat and excess toxins. Remember
that in doing hot yoga, all your energy is taken away. If your body has not a single
energy to waste, then hot yoga is not the 'perfect' yoga style for you.

Hot Yoga?

© Copyright Melvin Chua, All Rights Reserved.

Melvin has dozens more related articles and tips on doing yoga at his site: doing yoga [], check them out today!

Balancing Body And Mind Is Easy With The Help of Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga has been a very popular option for the people who wish to improve their spiritual health, body and mind since 15th century. This helps in striking a balance between these three components. The word yoga literally means the union or working together of mental, physical and spiritual health. It is very important for you to know about yoga asanas which are simple to follow and are beneficial for your health. The word "Hatha" denotes balance. It provides relaxation and rejuvenating to your senses. It relieves you from all types of stresses, worries, anxieties and tensions in life.

The yoga consists of stretching exercises, pranayama and meditation. With the help of this yoga, you will become more comfortable with yoga as it teaches you the most basic of yoga asanas. Anyone can practice this wonderful yoga like retired personals, house wives, public officials, students, businesspersons or and athletes. It makes you fit, active and healthy. It provides mental stability.


Benefits of hath yoga

Balancing Body And Mind Is Easy With The Help of Hatha Yoga

Benefits of yoga have been very well known to the people for centuries. Practising hatha yoga has several therapeutic, preventive, mental and physical benefits. It heals the body and makes you feel peaceful, calm and relaxed. It improves blood circulation and provides oxygen to various internal organs.

Following are some of the major benefits of Hatha yoga:

• Flexibility: One of the greatest benefits of this yoga is that it provides agility and flexibility to your body. If you practice this yoga on a daily basis, you will observe an improvement in muscle joint mobility.

• Posture: With the help of this yoga, you can expect an improvement in your posture. Through this wonderful yoga exercise, your spine will become strong. Besides, this increases your stamina.

• If you are suffering through back or neck pain, then one of the best possible solutions for you is this yoga which you do using your hands. Stretching and breathing exercises will help you in overcoming from chronic stress and bad knees.

• Breathing exercises in this amazingly fantastic yoga provides you an inner strength to fight with different types of physical pains like shoulder pain, back pain, headache or neck pain.

• One of the most striking benefits of this yoga is that it helps you to heal several types of diseases like arthritis, fatigue, chronic, asthma, arteriosclerosis, AIDS, diabetes and obesity. If you are over -weight, then this yoga helps you to lose all extra fat from your body.

• It will boost up your metabolic rate and accelerates the digestion of food in the body. The chances of falling prey to health problems like diabetes, heart diseases and high blood pressure decrease to a great extent with the help of this yoga. The yoga also improves overall immunity of the system.

• This yoga is very good for the health of pregnant women. It saves them from several problems like backache, depression and overweight. It is observed that the women who try out hatha yoga can handle labor pains in an easier and better way.

Balancing Body And Mind Is Easy With The Help of Hatha Yoga

There are innumerable physical, spiritual and mental benefits of yoga. Hatha yoga makes you feel good and look young. It is the best way to refresh your mind and keep yourself away from health problems.

Free Yoga Exercises Routines

Who would not like to learn yoga for free? Just like everyone, you too would be interested in doing this set of free yoga exercises that are meant just for you! These yoga exercise training will instruct you on how to practice yoga; you just need to follow the instructions carefully and with confidence.

Ashtanga yoga is a series of different types of exercises which should be practiced regularly to improve an individual's health. Yoga increases the vital flow of energy and gives a peace of mind. The free exercises given below are nothing but different poses which need to be practiced correctly.


Yoga is also a way of living life. It includes performing daily routine activities at a regular time everyday. Consider the habit of getting up in the morning. In yoga, the daily routine starts with having the a fixed procedure of practice everyday in three points; first, Japa meaning chanting some mantra over and over to maintain the same consciousness; second, study by reading some yoga scripts; and third, meditation which should be performed at a fixed time in a fixed place everyday.

Free Yoga Exercises Routines

The initial pose of these free yoga exercises should be the Corpse pose, and be repeated between other asana (yoga poses) and as a final relaxation. This pose looks easy and it's really good too. But it should be used for more than relaxing. You should use this pose for meditation while allowing your mind to gain strength and relax.

Start these yoga exercises with the warm up exercises to relax and prepare your muscles for the next exercises. After warm up you can perform the shoulder lifts the natural following exercise and the eye exercise, which can improve your eyesight and prevent tiredness. For the next exercises you can practice sun salutation which will stretch all your body muscles, this to prepare for the much more difficult exercises. Try also leg raise, which will tone your leg muscles, giving you more endurance and improved flexibility; head stand pose is also good for resting some of your organs such as heart.

Once you prepare your mind and body for more difficult yoga exercise, get going in the following manner.

Start with the bridge and plough poses; this will increase your back's flexibility. Initially, you may find it difficult to attain the final position. But with practice you will be able to reach this "asana". At first you will not be able to do it perfectly, but remember it's important to try to reach the perfect position and train your body to eventually reach the perfectly balanced position.

After this pose, try the forward bend pose to stimulate the nervous system. Then you can attempt the fish pose, it tones the chest muscles and lungs.

Next pose is called cobra pose. Women who suffer from menstrual problems can try the cobra pose, it stimulates the pelvic and lower abdomen area, improving the circulation and massaging the internal organs.

If you want to strengthen the lower back, then you should try the locust pose. Locust pose is also known to help prevent constipation.

The bow is another pose that will help your back area remain strong and flexible at the same time and abdominal fat my also be reduced if proper diet is applied. Furthering this yoga exercise you can try the half spinal twist pose for your spines.

Breathing is a very important aspect in practicing yoga. You can learn proper way of breathing and improve on it by practicing the crow pose. With this pose, you can improve your joints and arm strength too. Then you can try the hands to feet pose and the triangle. This pose requires your body's strength and flexibility.

At the end of all these yoga practice exercises, make sure that you perform the corpse pose to regain any energy that has been lost during these free yoga exercise and also to give rest to your body.

You can try all these free yoga exercises one by one and see for yourself which ones work the best for you. Once you know the poses that benefit you the most, just make sure that you do not overstretch yourself in doing those exercises and that you follow the same set of exercises regularly.

Free Yoga Exercises Routines

Learn about yoga and get 5 free yoga exercise lessons by visiting yoga exercises tips []. To learn more about the various postures visit good yoga postures [].