Yoga History

Yoga dates back 5,000 years, between 2700 and 1750 BC, on the Indian subcontinent of the Indus Valley where a highly organized civilization flourished. Very little documentary evidence exists of their early history, but e a few ancient archeological artifacts found in caves. 5,000 year old ceramics from the ancient cities of Mojendro-Daro and Harappa depict yoga positions. The Vedas were compiled more than 5,000 years ago by rishis (seers) and yogis. The Indian civilization did not derive from the Indo-European invaders since it existed before their arrival. The Indus civilization was started in Sarasvati valley until The Sarasvati river dried. The Indus civilization continued in a modified form after the drying-up of the Sarasvati.

The text attributed to the Indus are the Vedas. The Vedas – are a collection of 1008 hymns on theology, social institutions, legal systems, ethics, cosmology, philosophy and science. The Rig Veda is considered an authoritative sacred work by the Hindu faith. Its myths, male and female Vedic Gods. Ganesha, Krishna, Indra, Shiva, Vivasvat, Agni, Shakti and Parvati personified the forces of nature.

Spiritual texts include the Brahmins and the Upanishads. The Brahmins (Brahmanas), written about 800-600BC, deal with the rules and regulations for rituals performed by the Brahmin priests. There are over 200 Upanishads but only 10-12 are considered the most authoritative.

The Bhagavad Gita (the Song of the Blessed Lord), written around 300BC, is a spiritual poem on yoga. The ‘Gita’ is part of the eight chapter epic called the Mahabharata. The Bhagavad Gita is a discourse delivered by Krishna (the Lord) to Arjuna (the hero) expounding on the ultimate goal of life. Between 200-800BC Patanjali detailed the entire sum of knowledge about Yoga in 196 aphorisms (sutras), referred to also as Raja Yoga. Patanjali is part of the classical yoga era, when thousands of yoga asanas were still being practiced. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is considered the authoritative text on classical yoga.