The History of Yoga

history of yoga

Some yogis believe that yoga principles sprang from the shamanism and early spirituality of Stone Age civilizations. In yogic lore, Shiva is said to have imparted the ancient science of yoga to Saptarishis or seven sages who carried it around the world.

This era saw the creation of many of the concepts we associate with modern yoga like Bhagavad Gita and Raja Yoga. It also saw the creation of a new emphasis on the physical body.


The yogic discipline that has become the foundation of so many different forms of yoga today can be traced back thousands of years. Its history is one of innovation, practice and development, and it continues to evolve even today.

Its origin is rooted in Hindu lore, which says that Lord Shiva imparted Yoga to seven of his disciples who went off in various directions and spread its teachings across the world. During this time, it is believed that some yogis chose to live in woodlands and moors to be close to nature and keep their practices secret.

The 19th century saw a revival of Yoga in the West when Swami Vivekananda, who introduced Americans to yoga by speaking at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, encouraged interest through his writings and lectures. He also encouraged Indian gurus to travel to the West and teach yoga, such as Krishnamacharya, who developed a vigorous form of Yoga that is characterized by its emphasis on strength and endurance.


Yoga is a spiritual practice that aims to unify the mind, body and spirit. It also teaches us to be in harmony with nature and lead a healthy lifestyle filled with positivity and gratitude. Yoga helps us to reach a state of supreme bliss and moksha.

Yoga was first introduced to the world by Swami Vivekananda, who brought yogic philosophy to the United States in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair. He translated yogic texts into English and encouraged yoga’s spread across the country.

There is a myth in Hindu lore that Lord Shiva taught yoga to his wife Parvati, who then passed this secret art down to seven of her disciples. These sages then spread this knowledge to different parts of the world.

The rishis finally documented this once-secret yoga in the Upanishads, a set of Hindu philosophical-religious sacred scriptures. This was the earliest known period of yoga’s history. This era revolved around different spiritual concepts, including karma and jnana yoga.


The practice of yoga aims to create balance within and between our minds, body, soul and the world around us. This includes promoting respect for all life and the environment. It also encourages tolerance, compassion and loving-kindness towards ourselves and others – regardless of their race, religion or social status.

Yogic lore says that yoga was first given to mankind by Lord Shiva and is as old as civilization itself. Over the years, yogic practices were refined and spelled out in ancient sacred texts called the Vedas. These include the Rig Veda, which consists of over a thousand hymns and mantras.

Then, over 2000 years ago, a sage named Patanjali organized the contents of the Vedas and gave birth to Classical Yoga. He was also instrumental in helping yoga become popular in the Western world as well. He wrote over 200 yoga books and helped bring Yoga to the attention of Western yogis.


Yoga has been used to promote wellness and to treat various medical conditions throughout history. It is also being used by people around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic to stay healthy and cope with stress.

The first yogic texts emerged during the epic period (600 BCE), such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. These outlined three major paths of yoga: Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga and Jnana yoga.

Later, the Post-Classical era brought the practice to new levels of focus with books like Sritattvanidhi, which included detailed descriptions and illustrations for 122 yoga poses. This era also saw the rise of mantras, melodic sounds with spiritual interpretations that help us to connect with our higher selves.

In the 1900s, Swami Sivananda popularised yoga in America, spreading the philosophy and practice to a modern audience. This movement coincided with the rise of Western esotericism, as shown by the popularity of the Theosophical Society in this time.