Yoga’s timeline coincides with our own ‘cradle of civilization’, which began in the Tigris and Euphrates Valley of Mesopotamia, more than 5000 years earlier. In Northern India around the exact same time, a civilization was already developed in the Indus Valley, rich in art, jewellery, and cultural artefacts, consisting of some forms of composing. Agriculturally minded, they concentrated on growing wheat and barley.

yoga history

Understandably, over such an extended period of time, Yoga has become many things to many people. Some Yoga purists, those that pursue a more spiritual path, are abhorrently repulsed by what Yoga has ended up being today, with celebs making it ‘things to do’.

A couple of thousand years back, Yoga needed clarifying. One guy took on this mighty mission and spent his entire life time in dedicated devotion to the philosophical and spiritual suitables of Yoga, as he translated and understood it, at the time. His deep dedication permitted him to perceive with terrific insight into the mysteries beyond the physical kinds, and physical advantages of Yoga.

According to various historical scholars, Pantanjali, thought about the ‘Dad of Yoga’, was an ever so humble doctor, who wandered through-out India someplace between 200 BC and 200 AD. He was a moral man, assembling and codifying a moral viewpoint of life and living.

If he were alive today, he’d laugh heartily at all the sights in any Yoga studio. Yoga today, as it’s practiced, mostly focuses on a fixed variety of physical postures, workouts, and breathing techniques. These provide only physical results, although some mental advantages are likewise attained.

Spiritually speaking, the Yoga of today is far eliminated from the Yoga of the other day, as taught by Pantanjali. Putting his passion to words he produced what was and is, essentially a reliable template for living a moral and honest presence.

We know of this today by his work, The Yoga Sutra of Pantanjali, a compendium of 195 sutras he recorded so that individuals would incorporate his teachings into their lives. Strangely enough, despite the fact that this work is considered the basic text on Yoga, and he its’ dad, you won’t be able to find one reference of a single posture or asana within it!

He emphatically taught and securely thought that you can not practice Yoga, by pressing out a few postures, while breathing deeply. Basically, to paraphrase him, one can not go to a Yoga class, and afterwards go home to enjoy TV, kind on your phone, gather your email, or take-out the garbage. To him, Yoga existed to grow not just the body and the mind, but also, most notably, to develop spiritual awareness.

This is the missing link and heritage of Yoga today. The centerpiece of Pantanjali’s teachings focused on the ‘eightfold path’ of Yoga. A spiritual course, that if followed will result in a spiritual state of enlightenment called Samadhi or absolute bliss.

Somehow, over the past 2000 years, the majority of us have actually seemed to miss our bliss-absolute or not! The Yoga of today appears to be more focused on flattening bellies than it does on achieving spiritual freedom. While Yoga has amazing advantages and adds to a longer life, the real history and philosophy of Yoga is rooted in the spiritual, and not just the physical.