The History of Yoga

history of yoga

Yoga is a system of mental and physical practices that originated in India. It combines philosophy, meditation, breath work and lifestyle principles with physical exercise.

Its beginnings can be traced to the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India more than 5,000 years ago. It was first mentioned in the ancient sacred texts known as the Rig Veda and later refined by Brahmans and Rishis. They documented their beliefs and practices in the Upanishads, an immense work containing more than 200 scriptures.


The origins of yoga can be traced back to northern India over 5,000 years ago. It was first mentioned in the Rig Veda, a collection of ancient sacred Hindu texts from this period that was a major influence on the early yogis.

In these texts, tips for controlling one’s breath and balancing energies were discussed. These practices were later refined by the yogis and documented in texts like Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, which laid out the basic principles of yoga.

The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj,” which means “union.” It is commonly understood to mean the union of your mind, body and spirit or a union with god or the universe. It is a practice that leads you to the enlightenment of your inner divine Self.

Early Teachers

Yoga originated in India, and the early teachers of yoga hailed from the Vedic tradition. Their goal was to rejuvenate the body and prolong life by bringing it into harmony with the divine spirit.

They developed techniques that changed the physical body’s biochemistry, enabling it to be reorganized so that it was no longer the container that was to be discarded at the first sign of disease or weakness. They also incorporated advanced practices that were designed to energize the physical body and transform it into an instrument for spiritual growth.

Some of these yogis were Brahmins, and their teachings prospered through patronage. Others were Sramanas, ascetics and strivers.

The early yogis introduced yoga to the West, particularly to America. Indra Devi, a Russian-born disciple of Krishnamacharya, opened her first yoga school in Hollywood in the 1950s.

Exported to the West

During the first half of the 20th century, yoga took off in the West. People were increasingly interested in physical culture and wanted to improve their bodies, and they started searching for practices that would help them balance body, mind, and spirit.

The popularity of yoga in the West began with Swami Vivekananda, who traveled to the United States to promote his teachings and spread his vision. His hatha yoga practice was controversial, however, because he believed that postural poses would prevent a person from achieving spiritual growth.

In the past, yoga was marketed as an ascetic endeavour towards ideals of union with divinity. But today, it is a functional practice that helps improve mind-body health and makes an individual more energized.


Yoga has a long and complex history. In the past century it has gone through some serious changes, both inside and outside India.

As a result, it has become a global practice. There is an increased emphasis on meditation and spirituality, and a variety of different techniques are used to help people achieve these goals.

It is important to note that even as the modernization of yoga continues, it still has a connection to its Indian roots. While it is a westernized practice, it still incorporates some of the elements that were introduced during the Vedic Period and ancient Indian scriptures.

In fact, it has been found that yoga and other spiritual practices have helped to solve many of the social problems that plague our world today. For example, prisons are using yoga to aid their inmates with drug and sexual addiction. They are also using meditation to help their inmates overcome anger and hatred.