Historical past of Yoga within the Western World

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Yoga just isn’t solely about asanas (physique postures) that we see or carry out largely within the west as we speak. It’s greater than that. Yoga is an expertise of the final word actuality, a results of bodily, psychological, and religious follow.

Yoga has been modified and categorized all through historical past. Nonetheless, the oldest kind and data of Yoga is one talked about in varied Hindu scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Puranas, Vedas, and Upanishad. In Bhagavad Gita, three varieties of Yoga are talked about; Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Jnana Yoga.

People practicing Yoga

Yoga in trendy occasions is a set of historical methods that contain respiratory, meditating, and performing completely different physique postures that carry stability to thoughts, physique, and soul.

The title ‘Yoga’ derives from the Sanskrit ‘Yuj,’ which suggests unite, be part of, or union. So, yoga is the state the place one realizes the final word actuality. Those that are related with the Final Consciousness are known as Yogis. By means of yoga, they will stroll and dwell a life like free spirits free from worldly sufferings.

Due to this fact, the primary goal of Yoga is Self-realization and attaining liberation. This text will discover the origin of yoga, its historical past, and its growth within the Western world.

Origin of Yoga

Historians and Researchers consider yoga got here from India and existed even earlier than the emergence of the primary human civilization. Virtually all Hindu scriptures point out Yoga, However, there is no such thing as a single founding father of Yoga, some consider Lord Shiva was the primary Yogi who handed the data of Yoga to nice Saptarishi (seven mighty sages). In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says he first gave the data of Yoga to Surya Dev.

Within the Indian subcontinent, yoga has developed essentially the most. Many sages and yogis traveled throughout all components of India to unfold the Yoga science and educate the true function of life.

How lengthy has yoga been round? – There isn’t a precise date or time to contemplate the origination of Yoga. Artifacts, texts, and fossils from one of many oldest civilizations, the Indus Valley Civilization, show varied Yogic rituals, asanas, and figures that indicated yoga’s existence up to now.

Furthermore, the phrase Yoga was first talked about in Rigveda. Apart from that, yoga’s presence existed within the different three Vedas, 108 Upanishads, Buddhist and Jain texts, Darsanas, and epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana.

Throughout this timeline, yoga was practiced beneath the steerage of expert gurus and had a big worth within the rituals. Surya Namaskar, or Salutation to the Solar and Pranayama (respiratory train), was invented throughout this Vedic interval. Later sage Patanjali compiled all the traditional Yoga-based texts right into a single e book known as Yoga Sutras to protect the existence of classical yoga.

All of the sages, saint, acharyas, and yogis contributed their Yogic data to texts and books for the expansion and conservation of yoga.

Historical past of Yoga within the West

As we enter the trendy period, yoga is rising in popularity within the west. At present’s Yoga is Modernized Yoga which is extra simple than classical yoga. It’s simple to grasp and to carry out by all ages teams folks. Furthermore, trendy yoga offers extra worth to bodily features like asanas than the psychological and religious features of classical and post-classical yoga. Thus, trendy yoga is extra like an train to harmonize bodily and psychological power relatively than a medium to attach with the final word actuality.

Modern Yoga

Within the nineteenth century, Europeans and People found yoga for the primary time. However they had been keener on yoga’s philosophical concepts. Regardless that there have been some treaties on Yoga in English by N.C Paul (A Treatise on Yoga Philosophy, 1851), they targeted on the bodily features. Thus, it was unable to know the general public’s consideration again then.

Earlier than the Nineteen Fifties, western public faculties and universities had been unaware of bodily yoga, but it surely got here into the highlight that 12 months. A preferred Yoga e book by a Romanian Scholar, Mircea Eliade (Le Yoga: Immortalité et Liberté, 1954), grew to become one of many important sources for yoga within the west. This e book focuses on asanas (bodily place) to arrange oneself for pranayama and meditation. For his e book, Eliade acquired impressed by a treaty on Hatha Yoga from the fifteenth century. It talks in regards to the stability between physique and thoughts.

Vivekananda at the Parliament of Religion
Swami Vivekananda on the Parliament of Religions. (Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

1863 AD is when one of many best Yogis got here to this world, the good Swami Vivekananda. He was the primary Yogi to ever journey to the west to popularize yoga. In his whole life journey, he visited a number of nations and took part in quite a few World Conferences so he might educate western society about yoga and its significance.

Swami Vivekananda additionally wrote books on yoga and even translated your entire Sanskrit language Yoga texts into English. So non-Sanskrit folks might learn, perceive and follow it independently.

After Swami Vivekananda, Paramahansa Yogananda traveled to Boston to attend the World Non secular Honest to propagate the Kriya Yoga to the west. Kriya Yoga is a type of yoga popularized by the good yogi Sri Lahiri Mahasaya.

Yogananda Teaching Yoga In The West
Paramahansa Yogananda Instructing Yoga

In 1896, one other nice yogi, Shivapuri Baba was invited by Queen Victoria of England to provide her personal classes on Yoga. After Queen Victoria died in 1901, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean and reached America. Shortly after arriving in america, he met with President Theodore Roosevelt.

Shivapuri Baba in Padmasana
Shivapuri Baba

As US Immigration imposed limits on Indian immigration in 1924 AD, the creator, Theos Casimir Bernard, visited India to acquire data of Yoga. After learning and training for 23 years, he got here to the US and wrote a e book on Hatha Yoga which remains to be fashionable amongst Yoga practitioners as we speak.

Because the Nineteen Fifties, the institution of a number of Yoga institutes and organizations has began in each nook of the world.

BKS Iyengar was one other grasp of Yoga answerable for publicizing yoga to the western world via the tv packages similar to BBC and extra. Apart from, he was one in every of “Time’s 2004 Most Influential Folks within the World”.

In 1965 AD, the US authorities eliminated the bounds imposed on Indian immigration. Such steps facilitate varied Yogic and Non secular gurus to journey to the west to unfold their teachings. Since then, yoga has turn into a method to dwell a more healthy life.

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, an Indian scholar, yoga practitioner, and ayurvedic physician, is usually cited as the daddy of recent yoga within the west. His disciples had been one of many influencing forces for popularizing yoga within the west. Certainly one of his disciples was Eugenie Peterson or Indra Devi. She was a California-based Yoga practitioner. For a decade, she traveled between Hollywood and Mexico to show yoga.

In Hollywood, Indra Devi taught yoga to celebrities, making her a well-known face within the US. Her contribution to yoga earned her the title of “First girl of Yoga.” Later she shifted to Argentina and continued instructing yoga there.

Within the Nineteen Seventies, an Indian yoga guru, Ok. Pattabhi Jois, launched the vinyasa type of Yoga within the US and Australia, broadly often known as Ashtanga Yoga. Equally, Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, or Yogi Bhajan, an Indian- American yoga guru, scholar, and entrepreneur, launched his type of Kundalini yoga within the US. As well as, he established the 3HO (Wholesome, Pleased, Holy Group) basis in over 35 nations worldwide to unfold his teachings.

As the worldwide media and Web began to develop within the late twentieth century, yoga was one of many scorching subjects. It was in every single place, from televisions to radios, newspapers, magazines, and on-line. Realizing the worth of yoga on people’ bodily physique and thoughts, western folks accepted yoga brazenly. Equally, they even included yoga of their day by day life as an train to dwell a cheerful, wholesome life.

(Final Up to date On: June 26, 2022)

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