When Did Yoga Start?
The origins of yoga are a matter of debate. There is no consensus on its chronology or specific origin other than that yoga developed in ancient India. Suggested origins are the Indus Valley Civilization (3300–1900 BCE) and pre-Vedic Eastern states of India, the Vedic period (1500–500 BCE), and the śramaṇa movement.
Pre-philosophical speculations of yoga begin to emerge in the texts of c. 500–200 BCE. Between 200 BCE–500 CE philosophical schools of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were taking form and a coherent philosophical system of yoga began to emerge. The Middle Ages saw the development of many satellite traditions of yoga. Yoga came to the attention of an educated western public in the mid 19th century along with other topics of Indian philosophy.
The origins of yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions; it is mentioned in the Rigveda, but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, in ancient India’s ascetic and śramaṇa movements. The chronology of earliest texts describing yoga-practices is unclear, varyingly credited to Hindu Upanishads. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali date from the first half of the 1st millennium CE, but only gained prominence in the West in the 20th century. Hatha yoga texts emerged around the 11th century with origins in tantra.
Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the west, following the success of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a system of physical exercise across the Western world. Yoga in Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise; it has a meditative and spiritual core. One of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism is also called Yoga, which has its own epistemology and metaphysics, and is closely related to Hindu Samkhya philosophy.
Yoga started about the 2nd Century B.C., when its main principles were set forth in the Yogasutras by the sage Patanjali. This system of Hindu philosophy is based on the idea that man’s bondage results from the identification of the soul with the body and that his freedom comes when he realizes the two can be separated.
In yoga the mind is controlled by the constant practice of meditation and non-attachment to material objects. There are different types of yoga designed for different temperaments. Karma yoga is suited to active minds, and deals with the performance of duties in which the doer renounces attachment, motive and the result of what he does.
Jnana yoga is for philosophical minds, and teaches how to discriminate between the real and the unreal, and how to renounce the unreal. Bhakti yoga shows the way to cultivate the love of God for His own sake, deals with self control and concentration. The final aim of all these systems is the liberation of the soul from the bondage of matter. Hatha yoga deals mainly with physical exercises and is chiefly concerned with health and long life.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word signifying the union of a person’s soul with the supreme spirit. A person who practices yoga is called a yogi. Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Among the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Rāja yoga.