In today’s world, most people are familiar with the practice of yoga. A common assumption of yoga is that it’s an ancient practice involving moving the body into specific postures for relaxation and health. An interesting fact about yoga is that the only thing that’s ancient about today’s version is the name “yoga.”
A Little About the History
According to historians, Sanskrit writings use the term “yoga” in reference to an animal’s yoke and a war chariot. In earlier times, yoga was also a definition for being warlike. People thought that when a chariot warrior was killed in battle, he went to heaven in a divine yoga.
The word “yoga” also appears in a set of old sacred texts known as the Rig Veda. These early writings were printed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization. This group of people lived in Northern India more than 5,000 years ago. The Veda texts are writings that include songs, rituals and mantras used by Vedic priests called the Brahmans.
Yoga has experienced many phases. For instance, in its pre-classic phase, it was a mix of different beliefs, ideas and techniques. This was a confusing time for yoga because these different elements often contradicted one another. Yoga’s classic age is defined by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras since this was the first systematic arrangement of yoga.
Several centuries following Patanjali’s yoga introduction, yoga masters developed a system of practices. They designed them to revitalize the body and increase the lifespan of those who practice. These yoga masters turned away from the teachings of the ancient Veda texts and focused on using the physical body to obtain enlightenment.
A Familiar Practice
Those who practice yoga think that they know what it’s designed to do, but like most aspects in life, there are still interesting things to learn about it. To learn more about this ancient practice, study its old and new history.