Lesson 1/16 | Study Time: 10 Min

You might already have an idea of what Yoga is… 

To understand it clearly, you must know its roots, the beginning, and what it has become.

Yoga is an ancient and holistic practice that combines physical, mental, and spiritual elements to achieve balance and harmony in the body and mind. The philosophy of yoga is based on the concept of unity – the idea that everything is connected and interdependent.

A look at the history of Yoga will help you to appreciate its rich tradition and importance and who knows, it might also help you to incorporate Yoga as a daily routine in your life. 

Although Yoga is said to be as old as civilization, no physical evidence supports this claim. The earliest archaeological evidence of Yoga's existence could be found in stone seals that depict figures of Yoga Poses. The stone seals place Yoga's existence around 3000 B.C. 

Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Yuj'(Yoke) which essentially means union, to join or unite. The union in this context is referred to the union of the individual soul (spirit) with the supreme/universal soul. It is the yoking of all the powers of body, mind, and soul to God (mythologically) or the universal energies (in quantum physics).

Four Yugas or ages are believed to repeat in a cycle. The four Yugas are:

1. Satya Yuga (also known as Krita Yuga or Golden Age): This is the first and most virtuous age in the cycle, where people follow dharma (righteousness) and there is no place for evil or dishonesty.
2. Treta Yuga: In this age, people start to deviate from righteousness and there is some decline in moral values.
3. Dvapara Yuga: This age sees a further decline in morality and righteousness, with people becoming more materialistic and indulgent.
4. Kali Yuga: This is the last and most impure age, where evil and sin dominate and morality is at its lowest. It is believed that in this age, people have the greatest need for spiritual practices and guidance.

A Story of How Yoga was delivered to Humanity

Yoga was discovered in INDIA and is believed to be evolved during the period of the “Satya Yuga” (Age or Era of Truth) in Hinduism when mankind is governed by gods, and every manifestation or work is close to the purest ideal and mankind will allow intrinsic goodness to rule supreme. It is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Age. "This period became known as a time of everlasting peace and abundant blessings, filled with seekers of the Eternal Truth. That is why, probably, even today we associate yoga with sages and hermits.
 Traditionally, Lord Shiva, also known as (Adinath), is credited with propounding yoga. It is said that on a lonely island, assuming nobody else would hear him, he gave the knowledge of Hatha yoga to Goddess Parvati (Lord Shiva’s wife), but a fish heard the entire discourse, remaining still throughout. Lord Shiva took mercy on the fish (Matsya) and made it a Siddha, who came to be known as Matsyendranaatha. Matsyendranaatha taught Hatha yoga to Chaurangi Nath, a limbless man who was given hands and feet by Matsyendranaatha just by looking at him. Yoga passed from Adinath to Matsyendranaatha to ChaurangiNath (Gorakshanaath) and many till today…the latest is Patanjali.