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Discover Yoga's Ancient Origins

Embark on a Journey through time...

Yoga, a practice that has captivated hearts and minds around the world, has a rich and intricate history that spans millennia.

Let's appreciate the profound depths of this ancient tradition, and journey it’s fascinating history...

1) The birth of yoga

The origins of yoga are shrouded in the mists of time, but it is believed to have emerged over 5,000 years ago in the ancient Indus Valley civilisation, now modern-day India. Its roots can be traced back to the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation, who sought to understand the nature of existence and the connection between body and mind.

2) Early Philosophy: the Vedas

The philosophy of yoga began with the creation of the Vedas, the sacred texts of ancient India, which laid the foundation for the development of yogic thought. They contained hymns that allude to the practices of meditation and asceticism, which are central to yoga.

3) The Evolution of Yogic Traditions

Yoga evolved and diversified into various schools and paths. The Upanishads, a collection of philosophical texts, delved into the inner workings of the mind, providing insights into meditation and self-realisation. It was during this period that the concept of karma and reincarnation became intertwined with yogic philosophy.

4) Patanjali: The Birth of Classical Yoga

The most notable figure in shaping yoga as we know it today is the spiritual philosopher, Patanjali. His Yoga Sutras, outlined the Eight Limbs of Yoga, a sort of road map for mental and spiritual growth. These include ethical guidelines, physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), and meditation techniques, and act as a guiding light for practitioners on a journey of self-discovery and inner balance.

5) Yoga Spreads Globally

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw yoga's resurgence in India and its introduction to the West. Pioneering spiritual leaders like Vivekananda and Yogananda played pivotal roles in sharing the benefits of yoga with the world. Vivekananda emphasised the practical application of yoga in everyday life, and his teachings had a profound impact on Western understanding of Eastern spirituality. Yogananda's famous autobiography illuminated the journey of self-realisation, knowing one's true self.

6) lets get physical!

Yoga, once a largely spiritual practice, began to place greater emphasis on physical dimensions. Hatha Yoga further developed in the early 20th century, placing a strong emphasis on physical postures and breath control. In the mid-20th century, Iyengar Yoga arrived, focussing on very precise alignment of postures, and Western popularity surged during the same era, largely due to Bikram Yoga, featuring a heated room and specific postures. Vinyasa (a fluid, adaptable sequence) and Ashtanga (a specific, unchanging sequence) also gained traction in the latter half of the 20th century, further expanding the spectrum of physically demanding yoga.

7) Yoga Today

Fast forward to the present, and yoga has become a global phenomenon. It has transcended boundaries and is embraced by people from all walks of life, offering a path to physical wellness, mental clarity, and spiritual awakening.

The history of yoga is a testament to the enduring principles that transcend time and culture.

They offer a path to self-discovery and wellbeing, as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.

Yoga helps us find to balance in our hectic lives, reduce stress, improve physical and mental wellbeing, and to truly make the most of the time we have.

Namaste peeps – see you on the mat!

A sneaky treat for you: use the code HISTORY for 10% off any class (not valid on workshops or events).


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