A Beginner’s Guide to the History of Yoga

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A Beginner’s Guide to the History of Yoga

BY MARA CARRICO  |  

Learn about the history of yoga, the roots of this ancient practice and tradition.

Sanskrit, the Indo-European language of the Vedas, India’s ancient religious texts, gave birth to both the literature and the technique of yoga. One definition of the word Sanskrit, “well-formed, refined, perfect or polished,” connotes substance and clarity, qualities exemplified in the practice of yoga.

 

The Sanskrit word yoga has several translations and can be interpreted in many ways. It comes from the root yug and originally meant “to hitch up,” as in attaching horses to a vehicle. Another definition was “to put to active and purposeful use.” Still other translations are “yoke, join, or concentrate.” Essentially, yoga has come to describe a means of uniting, or a method of discipline. A male who practices this discipline is called a yogi or yogin; a female practitioner, a yogini.

See also Why Teach Sanskrit Names?

Yoga comes out of an oral tradition in which the teaching was transmitted directly from teacher to student. The Indian sage Patanjali has been credited with the collation of this oral tradition into his classical work, the Yoga Sutra, a 2,000-year-old treatise on yogic philosophy. A collection of 195 statements, the Sutra provides a kind of philosophical guidebook for dealing with the challenges of being human.

Continue reading at: http://www.yogajournal.com/article/beginners/the-roots-of-yoga/

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