| Seal found in Indus Valley
The earliest traces of Yoga activity
were found in the Indus valley in the 1920’s. Seals were found showing men in the Lotus position and were thought to
be from around 3000BC. The oldest known evidence of Hatha Yoga being practiced dates back to 2500BC. Hatha Yoga
is a complete disclipline and practice for the harmonious development of the entire being.
The Bhagavadgita and the Upanishads are the main foundation of yoga teaching and the
earliest writings are about 3000 years old. The later Upanishads (300 BC) teach the method of yoga. These writings were the beginnings of Yoga
as we know today, and from them came the four main Paths of Yoga which all lead to the same – union with Brahman or
Karma Yoga – the yoga of action – this teaches selfless acts, no gain or reward. And to purify
the Ego. Mind is focused on repeating a mantra while engaged in any activity.
Bhakti Yoga – The path of
Devotion. The motivation is the power of unconditional love and devotion. Chanting and singing the praises of God,
also prayer, worship and ritual, surrendering to God.
Jnana Yoga – The yoga of knowledge or wisdom, this is the study of yoga, the philosophy of Vedanta.
The yogi needs to practice the other paths before this, as this one is the search for self-realization.
Raja Yoga – The
science of physical and mental control, or ‘royal road’. This is the Yoga most practiced in
class in the UK. Hatha Yoga (Ha means sun; tha means moon) is the practical side of Raja Yoga The word “Yoga” means “yoke
or union” and the union applies to the body, mind and breath, bringing together in harmony so that during your lifetime
you are able to guide your own destiny with a healthy mind, a flexible body and a steady breath in all conditions, and preparing
the body and mind for dharana, dhyana and samadi.
basis of today's Yoga is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. (The Eight Limbs of Yoga)
(these are five restraints – moral injunctions)
(these are five observances – positive qualities)
- Pranyama (Breathing and kriyas – purification practice)
(Withdrawl of the senses to still the mind)
- Dharana (Concentration)
- Samadhi (Superconsciousness)
This yoga has been developed for Western bodies.
Many interpretations have been passed down by Gurus, teachers and from students of yoga being taught through the centuries
right up to the present day. For a more comprehensive list of the different yoga schools, click on this link: