Elephant Festival in India

History of Hatha Yoga

How It Begun

Yoga is the philosophy, science and art of holistic living where the ignoble in man is transformed into the noble. This is one of the most ancient science and cultural heritage of India. Generally, the word Yoga means union and etymologically it has been derived from the Sanskrit root meaning to bind, join, attach any yoke. It signifies union with the Supreme Universal Spirit to obtain relief from pain and suffering.

According to the scholar Panini in his writings, it has three meaning-union ' Yuj ' which means 'unity', 'join' or 'oneness'. There are also many different ideas related to Yoga, where it comes from, what it is all about, and how to practice a range of techniques. Yoga can be traced back to the Rig Veda, the oldest Hindu text which speaks about yoking of mind and body. Generally, it is recognised as an ancient system of philosophies, principles and practices derived from the Vedic tradition of India more then 5000 years ago but some researchers think that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old. Yoga works on all aspects of the person; the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Yoga is more then mastering postures and increasing flexibility and strength. In Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism the word yoga means "spiritual discipline". People often associate yoga with the postures and stances that make up the physical activity of the exercise, but after closer inspection it becomes clear that there are many more aspects of yoga. For a better discussion of the history of Yoga, we could divide it into four periods: