Yoga has a 4,000-year-old history, originating in the ancient Indus Valley civilization, which covered Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North-West India. Five million people lived in this city, enjoying public baths and a sophisticated sewage system. Though some attribute yoga to Hinduism, this ancient practice actually has its roots in a tradition called Sramanas, which gave rise to Buddhism and Jainism.
As a result of Western philosophers’ embracing of yoga, the practice gained enormous popularity. The charismatic Krishnamurti began to attract leading thinkers to his Theosophical Society meetings, including Aldous Huxley, Bernard Shaw, Christopher Isherwood, and Greta Garbo. These intellectuals spread yoga across the globe. In the mid-20th century, a craze for yoga swept Europe and even Hollywood.
In the west, Yoga was reintroduced by T. Krishnamacharya, who was the most important student of Nathamuni in the ninth century. His disciples included Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Indra Devi. The early masters of yoga were believed to be superhuman, and were able to travel back to their home kingdoms. When they came back, people were eager to learn more about the ancient practices.
The ancient Indus-Sarasvati civilization is thought to be the first to use the word yoga as a philosophical system. Its origins are reflected in the Vedas, Upanishads, and Vedanta. Some of the earliest texts that document the practice of yoga include the Rig Veda, the oldest sacred text of the Hindu religion, which references many other philosophies and scriptures.
There are many theories about the origins of yoga, but the most widely accepted theory is that it originated in ancient India. Ancient India had yogis who practiced an advanced form of yoga 3,000 years before modern western culture took hold. Although the actual origins of yoga are unknown, it is important to note that the history of this ancient technique has inspired many modern-day practitioners. When interpreting its history, remember that the word yoga essentially means “joining.”
The term “purana” means ancient body work. Many yoga texts mention the concept of a human being falling ill as a result of an imbalance of their energies. The ancient word for purana means “ancient work,” and the teachings of yoga date back over 3,000 years. Although the origin of the practice is unclear, many yogic texts point to the ancient Indian doctor who discovered Thai massage.
The ancient practice of yoga came to the West in the early 1800s, with the arrival of yogic monks from India. They brought the ancient practice to the West, where it quickly gained popularity. The most famous of these export yogis was Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda, also known as the sage of the mind, traveled to the United States and translated ancient Yogic texts in English. His popularity caused yoga to become popular in the West, although many of its original practices were largely ignored.
The earliest teachings of yoga were written by a Tamil monk named Boganathar, who became the second most influential teacher of yoga in history. According to the texts, Boganathar began teaching yoga around 400 B.C., after learning about the Tantric Yoga practices of his master, Kalangi Nathar. These monks were initiated by the great Siddha Kalangi Nathar, who became immortal at the age of 315. This monk was a member of the Nava Nath order, which traced their lineage back to the Hindu god Shiva.