WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga works on the mind, body and spirit.
Traditionally Yoga is a method of joining the individual self with cosmic consciousness, universal spirit or divine.
The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” meaning to join or unite. It is the Union of the individual's mind, body and soul.
The aspirant (one who aspires, as to advancement) depressed at seeing and experiencing the same existence birth after birth, turns their attention towards the supreme soul.
THE ORIGINS OF YOGA
The roots of yoga can be traced back roughly 5000 years ago. Sanskrit is an ancient Indic language that is the language of Hinduism and the Vedas, It is the classic literary language of India.
Originally, yoga was passed on as an oral tradition. It was brought through an unbroken lineage of gurus and disciples working together to preserve the sacred teachings.
THE VEDIC PERIOD OF YOGA
The Vedic period of Yoga was an estimated historical date of 4500-2500 B.C.E. This time was based around the Brahmin priests connection to different deities.
There are four books that make up the Veda.
Rig, Yajur, Samantha and Atharva Vedas, consisting of hymns that were passed on to the ancient rishas. This was considered information from the supreme consciousness, which was thought to be “revealed” and passed onto the Brahmin priests.
PRE CLASSICAL PERIOD OF THE UPANISHADS
This period is also known as the post Vedic period. The estimated historical date of this time was 1500-1000 B.C.E. The Upanishads begin to introduce inner sacrifice (antar Yajna) without the sole need for a priest.
At this time more emphasis was put in devotion, personal worship and the replacement of sacrifice with worship.
CLASSICAL YOGA PERIOD
The classical Period of Yoga was a time when the six schools of Yoga philosophy heightened their struggle for intellectual supremacy.
The estimated historical date for this time was 1000 B.C.E- 300 B.C.E.
During this time the Brahma-Sutra by Badarayana and “The yoga sutras of Patanjali“ were written. Ethical guidelines and mystical powers are the more famous aspects of the teachings. These were aimed at liberation struggle from the cycle of life and death caused by karma.They also focused on meditation and stillness of the mind.
The post classical yoga period was estimated at 1500-1000 B.C.E
This was the tantric period and it put focus on the feminine psycho cosmic energy (Shakti). In this period the use of the “body as a temple” began to evolve. This went on to produce the Hatha Yoga practices. There are two fractions of Tantra. The left handed and right handed tantrics. The left handed tantrics had acts of the 5 Ms. Tantra became unpopular due to this. The 5 Ms were Madya (wine), Mansa (meat) Matsya (fish) Mudra (parched grain) and Maithuna (coition).
These were against most other Yoga traditions. The tantric masters aspired to create a body that they called “adamantine” a body not made of flesh but of light (joytir) the immortal substance. The tantrics viewed the body as a dwelling place for God or the divine.
THREE POPULAR LINEAGES OF YOGA
After the British Empire invaded India many of its treasures were revealed to the West. Theses included it's philosophies, ideals, beliefs, and religions. A popular form of Yoga with “effort” came to be known. This was Hatha Yoga. Due to the energetic nature of the West and there difficulty in sitting in meditation for long periods, Hatha yoga became the more acceptable view of what Yoga is today. Yoga has been traditionally passed on from guru to guru on an individual level, then the gurus began to write down there teachings. Eventually in time, Yoga masters began to teach groups of students all aspects of Yoga and how to teach it.