Knowing the exact history and orgins of yoga is difficult as it is a tradition that was passed down through oral transmission and the use of ancient recording methods such as on fragile leaves or drawings on stone seals. Because of this, it is hard to find the exact dates and time periods of when the idea of yoga was born, as ancient artifacts have been studied but researchers can only figure out an approximate origin date of 3000 BC.
The traditional purpose of yoga was to transform one’s self through the transformation of the ego and spiritual discipline. Nowadays, we think of yoga solely as a series of yoga asanas and yoga poses that are done in a workout session. Despite the inspiration for yoga coming from Eastern relgions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Shamanism that focused on understanding the world and self enlightenment, these are the principles that we have forgotten in modern yoga.
It was said that at the start, yoga was found in one form only and today that one single action has been transformed into many types of yoga that are constantly being updated for our needs!
The Philosophy of Yoga
Yoga originally was an activity that focused on understanding the world, it later became an act that also helped with self-improvement. It was not until later in the sixth century BC where Buddhism took the idea of yoga and introduced different yoga postures and stances. The philosphy of yoga is one that is extremely complicated and rich with many explanations and ideas, yet the principal focus is on uniting the mind, body and spirit.
The art and science of yoga is to create a union between your breathing and your body to create an awareness of yourself being an individual intimately connected to the whole of creation. The fundamentals of yoga, written down around 200 AD in India in a sacred text, explain the concepts of yamas and niyamas:
- Yamas – moran disciplines and restraints
- Compassion for all living things through non-violence
- Commitment to truthfulness
- Honouring trust through not stealing from others
- Moderation and self-control through restance of reactivity
- Restraining the desire for wealth and letting go of attachment to materialistic things
- Niyamas – personal observance and self-restraints
- Purity of body and mind through cleanliness
- Modesty and contenment with what you have
- Disciplined use of our energy
- Self-reflection and consciousness
- Understanding the divine flow and Spiritual presence around us
Many of the different yoga positions and actions that you do can bring about great yoga benefits for your mind and body.