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History of Yoga – An Overview

Posted Feb 08 2013 8:25am

Is India a backward country?

If your answer is truthfully in the affirmative, this aspect is delightful in some ways, as I grow older. Take the way my mom prepares food, whether vegetarian or meat. I can't get enough of it, and probably won't – for a lifetime.

Yet in more important matters, there's a hesitation or reluctance to move forward culturally – to accept change, commonly referred to as Westernization.

The education system is just appalling, and let's not even get started with politics either. It's a mess. A mess that can only be changed from the top-down. A mess that we would love to clean up but don't know where to begin…

But I digress.

It's also very evident in the manner in which we view yoga while foreigners who truly love our culture and its history for what it is, have given this form of physical exercise so much importance that it should be appreciated by one and all.

Yoga – What You Need to Know

To people who don't live in India, probably Hot Bikram Yoga comes to mind, thanks to the success that he has gained in recent times especially during a phase when the United States was in love with the Indian culture.

To be honest, the physical component of yoga is just one part and while this is good to practice for a start, very few people make an effort to imbibe the philosophy that Patanjali, its creator, gave great importance to.

Yes, yoga is actually a philosophy where all efforts are directed to reaching the state of "samadhi". However, that's probably asking for too much since most Indians aren't inclined to becoming a yogi or yogini either, thanks to these cultural shifts that we see in Indian society.

It's beautiful, to say the least, and it makes me very proud to be an Indian because what yoga aims at is pursuing a spiritual path that leads you to the truth.

History of Yoga – An Overview

Every Indian knows who Chandragupta Maurya was. Our history textbooks in school describes his reign being responsible for an era in Indian history called the 'Golden Age'.

(I must point out that it was during this time that education was given so much importance and which is something that we must focus on as a nation if we want to move forward.)

It was also during this era that Patanjali conceived yoga as a discipline using Samkhya, considered to be one of the oldest Indian schools of philosophy, to write the Yoga Sutras . A starting point for one and all in order to understand the rich history of yoga that has been passed on from generation to generation.

In his book, he outlined what a man or woman must do to attain 'samadhi' and explain eight steps to get there. Of course, considering the times that we live in, and in my opinion, it gets increasingly difficult to live up to this philosophy as the everyday hurdles before us get harder to beat.

And for that reason, using yoga as a way to stay healthy is probably the best , if not practical, course of action.

In Closing

If you would like to know more about the history of yoga , you can read up on Ashtanga Yoga .

What are the benefits that you've enjoyed from yoga as a discipline? Please feel free to share.

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