Do you think yoga is just the latest fitness fad garnished in bright Lulus and blonde hi-lights? Don’t let the popularity of the profound practice mistake you. Check out some basic history of the ancient practice.
Stretching the Sands of Time
In a culture smothered in SlimFast fixes and pop a pill miracles, yoga can easily be mistaken as a fad that will last as long as the twenty lost pounds that Atkins promised. The ancient practice, however, is much more than a flash in a trendy pan.
Not only does it produce stronger, more flexible muscles, yoga, a Sanskrit term that implies to yoke or unite, is an all-encompassing, body, mind and spirit practice with deep historic roots. Although its exact conception is unknown, artefacts of figures in yoga positions have been found that date the practice back at least 5,000 years.
In the Beginning
Yoga was first referenced in the Vedas, the scriptural basis of modern day Hinduism. Devoted Hindi’s sought yogic guidance in their quest for living in divine harmony. During the Pre-Classical Period the Upanishads adapted yogic concepts to assist followers of Brahma in pursuit of enlightenment. In the same period, approximately 500 B.C the Bhagavad-Gita, a Hindu scripture dedicated entirely to the practice of yoga, was born.
Then Came Patanjali
Yoga remained an exclusive feature of Hinduism and Buddhism until the second century when a physician named Patanjali penned theYoga Sutras. Most of modern day yoga is based on the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. The Sutras provide an ethical blueprint for living a moral life and attempted to give a traditionally spiritual practice scientific validity. At the heart of his work is the eight-fold path where Patanjali enhanced the practice by providing a methodical approach to spiritual enlightenment.
Today, yoga comes in many forms and is shaped to suit many lifestyles. Many practice to release stress, recover from injuries and to enhance muscle flexibility and strength. There are many schools of yogic thought, from Bikram and Moksha to Kundalini and Anusara, one of the newest branches of the ancient practice. With so many styles and teachers to choose from, there is little reason not to hop on a mat and see what all the hype is about.