When you think of yoga, you may automatically think of doing unnatural poses and stretches on a yoga mat. You may think of sitting in a quiet, lowly lit room with instrumental music playing. Or you may think of bending over into a full body stretch, sweating profusely in a room with the temperature turned up high. What is so interesting about the practice of yoga is that it is so versatile, and all of these images are accurate representations of a variety of yoga exercises.
So how long has yoga been around? It’s hard to say. While the art and practice of yoga was developed over 5,000 years ago, many researchers believe that yoga has been practiced for hundreds of years prior to that. According to an article from Yoga Basics, the practice and teachings of yoga were orally transmitted as well as recorded on leaves that could have been destroyed easily. It is hard to pinpoint exactly how long ago yoga was formed, but there is no doubt that the practice has been carried out throughout the centuries.
In today’s blog post, we’re going to be taking a trip into the past to learn about the history of yoga and how traditional yoga exercises have translated into modern yoga. Continue reading along to learn more about the rich history of this popular mind and body exercise.
The History Of Yoga: Traditional To Modern Yoga Exercises
Like stated above, researchers are certain that yoga has been around for at least 5,000 years, and that it stemmed from Northern India. There are recordings of yoga being mentioned in the Rig Veda — the oldest sacred texts filled with songs and rituals. The practice of yoga slowly refined and was documented in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ, another Yogic scripture that taught rituals like sacrificing the self and the ego through knowledge and wisdom. With so many different documentations of the yoga practice and beliefs, yoga wasn’t very defined until the Classical period.
The classical period of yoga is defined by the very first organized and systematic presentation of yoga, in the Yoga-Sûtras — a text that brings to life the classical yoga practice of obtaining enlightenment. This text was created by Patanjali, who is often considered the father of yoga. His teachings and ways of thought are still referenced and practiced in today’s modern styles of yoga.
It was during the post-classical period of yoga that the physical benefits of yoga were focused on, centuries after Patanjali and his classical teachings. During this time period, the physical benefits of yoga began to be thought of as part of the path to enlightenment. The yoga teachers of this period developed yoga techniques called Tantra Yoga that focused on cleansing the body and mind in order to separate the two from the physical existence. These yoga exercises and teachings were what paved the path to Hatha Yoga — the western style of yoga.
The modern period of yoga started when yoga masters traveled West to share their teachings. It was also during this period that Hatha yoga became very popular in India. In the mid-1900s, yoga was introduced to the United States with the opening of yoga studios.
Today, the practice of yoga is very popular in the west. With studios opening up all throughout the United States, yoga exercises have become a daily routine for many individuals of all ages and all walks of life. From calming the mind to stretching and strengthening the physical body, there are many benefits of incorporating yoga into your day. Read more about that in one of our recent blog posts.
The Classes We Offer
As a Top Rated National® yoga studio in Greeneville, Love Yoga is proud to carry on the traditions that were started nearly 5,000 years ago. With a focus on rejuvenating and renewing the mind and body, our classes incorporate a variety of yoga exercises, from more classical positions to physical strengthening moves. If you’re interesting in joining a yoga studio to practice, or you’re wanting to try out a class for the first time, take a look at what we offer and our schedule. Contact us if you have any questions.