Probably the biggest mystery that surrounds yoga is its time of origination. The first written documentation of yoga is found in an ancient Indian text named Rig Veda. Some of the seals that were excavated from the Indus-Sarasvati carry yogic postures carved in them. Thus it can be safely said that at least 5000 years ago yoga, the science and art of that unites the body&soul&mind to heighten the sense of spirituality, was originated in India.
Broadly, the timeline of the history of yoga can be classified into 4 major sections:-
1.Pre-Classical Yoga –
The pre-classical period of yoga is assumed to have lasted for 2000 years up to 2ndcentury B.C. Apart from the Vedas, which include Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda, several other Hindu literatures came into existence which includes the Bhagwat Gita, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata etc. The concept of yoga has been mentioned in each of these sacred texts and the purpose of yoga largely revolved around self-realization and meditation in the bid to discover the spiritual truth.
2.Classical Yoga –
Classical yoga refers to the period when sage Patanjali’s “Yoga-Sutra” came into existence. Yoga-Sutra is credited for systematically documenting yoga for the first time and moreover highlights the processes of Raja Yoga. Written around 2ndA.D, this text contains 200 statements that will forever serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement for millions of yoga practitioners all over the globe.
3.Post-Classical Yoga –
Today, Hatha Yoga has emerged as the most popular form of yoga which aims to prolong lifespan by revitalising and healing the body. Hatha Yoga came into being in this post-classical period with the discovery of alchemy. The yogis started teaching such asanas that were capable of changing the biochemistry of the body. Before this period, yogic activities were restricted only to the premises of spirituality.
4.Modern Yoga –
It was with the efforts of Swami Vivekananda that the modern age of yoga began. It was in the US’s Parliament of Religion in 1893, when Swami Vivekananda enlightened the western world about the benefits of yoga. Since then, yoga started to transcend the boundaries of India as the world admitted the effectiveness of one of the world’s ancient science.