From where History of yoga in India started? It is a question for everyone who is new in this niche. The description of the origin of Yoga included in shiv Samhita which describes the proper yoga background with the knowledge of inventer of Yoga. Swara Yoga which gives the definition of the origin of yoga mainly focuses on inner engineering of Vata, Pitta and Cough.
The balancing of these three components in the body makes the body healthy. This science mainly focuses on maintaining an equilibrium between body and mind. It is an art of healthy living which is the basic requirement in modern life. The History of Yoga is deeper. I am starting with the meaning of word yoga. It mainly derives from the Sanskrit word “Yuj”, meaning “to join” or “to yoke” or “to unite”.
According to ancient scriptures, Yoga leads to a path on harmony between an individual and the universe. Living with freedom is the main concern of practicing yoga which gives you oneness inside you. It will also execute harmony between body and mind. It takes you to a path i.e.”Moksha“. Yoga also helps in developing the inner science comprising of a variety of methods by which you can be master in yourself and can attain your goal. It leads to a path of humanity i.e. basic human values.
Perception of the History of Yoga in India:
Some scholars believed that Yoga is came into view in 5000 BCE and some believe it came into view in 10000BCE. If we go back to 5000BCE(Indus valley civilization) we got the proof of Yoga existence from seal and fossil. The origin of Yoga is long before the first religion or belief system. In the yogic lore shiva is the first yogi or Adiyogi or Adiguru who has never introduced himself. he just spread the knowledge of Yoga to Sapta rishi best known as seven sages. Several thousand years ago on the bank of lake Kasntisarovar in the Himalaya Adiguru poured his knowledge into the legendary seven sages or Sapta Rishi.
Sapta Rishi has taken away this yogic knowledge to every direction of the world including Asia, Northern Africa, South America, and the Middle East. The last Rishi, who was more knowledgable, came to India. He distributed the core yogic knowledge in India. The name of this last Rishi was Agastya Muni. That is why the yogic system found its fullest expression in India.
Classification of yoga in India:
The Brief History of yoga in India has categorized into six categories according to the time period.
- Pre-Vedic period
- Vedic period (1700BCE-500BCE)
- Pre-classical (500BCE-200BCE)
- Classical (200BCE-500CE)
- Post-classical (500CE-1500CE)
- Modern (1800CE-1900CE)
Pre Vedic period:
This period of yoga has its existence 5000 years ago in the history of yoga when Indus- valley civilization existed. Some significance like Pashupati seal in meditation gives clarity about the existence of Yoga in this period. There is a concern by scholars that this period would have remained female-oriented because the seal and statue of the female have more numbers than males. It is the time where everything is in an orderly mannered without the ruler or king. The work carried by mutual understanding and this can’t be possible without yoga. There is no sign of war between the community so it is clear that they are following Ahimsa which is the basic need to be yogi.
This period of yoga 1700BC-500BC knows as the Vedic period in the history of yoga. In this period of Yoga the old scripture “Rig Veda” has written. It also contains black magic theory. The focus is on the spiritual world rather than the physical postures of Yoga. This textbook deals with different magic spills. This Veda is oldest scripture also deals with tantra vidya. This veda comprising the shiv story of yoga known as shiv samhita or shiv Sarvodaya. In this period yoga is not in a proper format and indexing so it is difficult for a normal person to do yoga.
This period extends from 500BCE-200BCE in the history of yoga. In this period of yoga Jainism and Buddhism tradition became very popular have their significance on the peak. Both are based on inner engineering and pratyahara. The only difference in both is that Jainism is focused on to make life difficult for a normal person whereas Buddhism focuses on the feasibility of life. Both are less difficult in comparison to the Hindu religion which was came from Arya at that time. That is the reason people on that time-shifted towards these two religions.
The classical era of yoga:
It has a time span of 200BCE-500CE. Maurya and Gupta dynasty ruled the country in this period of yoga due to which the significance of the combination of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism tradition has been found. Ajanta and Ellora caves are also constructed in this period which consists of statue and pillars related to these religions.
This is the era where Maharishi Patanjali has given eight limbs of Yoga which is also known as Ashtanga in the history of yoga by which he has indexed and properly formated yoga and made it feasible for every human being. These 8 limbs will take you from knowing yourself to a state of samadhi in a proper way. This system is properly managed for a normal human being.
The post-classical era of yoga:
It has a period of 500CE-1500CE where Bhakti yoga is more focused than any other form of Yoga. Surdas, Mirabai, and Tulsidas are the main contemporary poet of this era who believed in the bhakti-yoga. Another form of yoga discussed in this era is Hatha yoga, which mainly focuses on physical postures.
Modern era of yoga:
Modern era of yoga basically focuses on Hatha Yoga. In the century of 18th and 19th yoga scholars began travel to the west. It is started with Swami Vivekananda in 1893 parliament of religions in Chicago when swami vivekananda wowed the attendees with his lectures on Yoga. In 1920 Hatha yoga is strongly promoted in India by T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda, and other yogis. Krishnamacharya opened the first Hatha yoga school in Mysore in 1934. also Sivananda placed the foundation of Divine life of society in 1936 at the bank of Holy river Ganga. The three disciples of Krishnamacharya i.e. B.K.S Iyengar founder of Iyengar yoga,TKV Desikachar and Pattabhi Jois, continue his legacy and spread the knowledge of Hatha yoga.