Saturday, March 29, 2008

The History Of Yoga

The History Of Yoga Image
Our knowledge of yoga comes to us mostly from the "Yoga Sutras" of Patanjali, who lived some time in the early Christian era. The "Yoga Sutras" is the most authoritative ancient scriptures on yoga. However, Patanjali did not invent the system of yoga. It was practiced on the Indian subcontinent much before Patanjali by the followers of Jainism, Shaivism [Hinduism], Buddhism, and many ascetic traditions -- some of which were later integrated into the Vedic religion.

The Indus people were probably familiar with some aspects of yoga. Followers of the "Samkhya" School used yoga as the means to liberate themselves from the hold of Prakriti. The "Samkhya" philosophy was probably the oldest of the Indian traditions to use yoga for spiritual liberation.


The Jain yoga is also considered to be one of the most ancient yoga systems practiced on the Indian subcontinent. It focused more on self-denial and restraint to the extent of self-mortification as the means to liberation.


The Buddha was against hurting the body for spiritual aims. He advocated a softer approach or the Middle Path in which the emphasis was more on using right means to achieve right ends. The ancient Buddhist yoga consisted of the practice of "dhyana" [jhana] or "meditation" and becoming aware of breath and bodily sensations to cultivate mindfulness.


The third part of the video deals with yoga in the Vedic tradition and concepts of yoga mentioned in some of the earliest Upanishads:

* "Katha Upanishad"
* "Brihadaranyaka Upanishad"
* "Svetasvatara Upanished"

It also describes how Vedic rituals were internalized for the purposes of self-realization.

* Justin Blaha through Prof. Rev. Dr. James Kenneth Powell II ( This piece offers a basic but fairly thorough introduction to the ancient Jain tradition and compares it with core aspects of Buddhism. Similarities and differences are soon apparent.

You also may enjoy this free books:

Samuel Croxall - The Secret History Of Pythagoras
Joseph Ennemoser - The History Of Magic Vol 2

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