The history of Yoga - Vinyasatreats
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The history of Yoga

Where does yoga come from?

Yoga’s origins can be traced to northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in ancient sacred texts called the Rig Veda. The Vedas are a set of four ancient sacred texts written in Sanskrit. The Rig Veda is the earliest amongst the vedas and is a collection of over a thousand hymns and mantras in ten chapters known as mandalas, which were used by Vedic age priests. Yoga was refined and developed by Rishis (sages) who documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads, a huge work containing over 200 scriptures.

Yoga is amongst the six schools of philosophy in Hinduism, and is also a major part of Buddhism and its meditation practices. You can find out more about the history of yoga here, from the Shri Yogendra Museum of Classical Yoga – the world’s first museum dedicated to yoga.

Literally translated as seat, the term āsana these days is used to refer to the practice of physical yoga postures or poses.

Prāna in Sanskrit refers to the life force within every being. In relation to modern-day yoga classes, the term prānāyāma is used to describe breathing exercises, which clear the physical and emotional obstacles in our body to free the breath.

For example, Ujjayi
Commonly translated as “victorious breath”, ujjayi breath is performed by restricting the air flow at the back of the throat, while breathing in and out of the nose. This creates a note on exhalation, often compared to the sound of the oceans.

What about the postures?

When starting with yoga, there will be certain postures which become the foundation of your yoga practice. Anchoring your practice with these postures allows you to reap the benefits of yoga – flexibility, improved muscle strength, protection of the spine, increased blood flow, and even improved happiness.