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  The History of Yoga

Pre-Classical Yoga, The Vedas

The Four Vedas: Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. 

The people of the land are obedient and follow the teachings of the books.

Brahmans, the Vedic priests teach the writings of the Vedas.

The word yoga first surfaces in the Rig Veda.

Yoga means to “yolk”.

Upanishads are composed. 

Language is Sanskrit.

Bhagavad-Gita, India’s most famous poem and one of first known yogic scriptures.


Classical Yoga, Patanjali

2,000 years ago. 

A time of conflict, people’s ideas begin to become more individualized.

Patanjali’s Raja Yoga “classical yoga” is formed.

“Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras, 195 statements, a spiritual guidebook, provides the framework for modern-day yoga. 

Patanjali pioneers Ashtanga Yoga, or the eight limbs of yoga. 

The purpose is to master the mind and body in an effort to connect with God.


Post-Classical Yoga, Hatha Yoga

The teachings of the ancient Vedas are rejected.

The physical body is seen as the means to achieve enlightenment.

Importance of the physical practice develops.

Hatha Yoga “ha” translates to sun, and “tha” translates to moon, the unity of opposites.

 Practiced for the purpose of preparing the mind for meditation.


Modern Period, Parliament of Religions in Chicago 

Teachers come to the West with teachings of yoga:

    Swami Vivekananda, 1893 Parliament of Religions in Chicago

      Lineages form from his teachings:

        Krishnamacharya and Swami Sivananda teachers in India.

Subsequent teachers in the West:

    Iyengar, Desikachar, and Jois. 

History of Yoga.pdf