Since the time immemorial, yoga postures have benefited people of all ages. But, it is still not clear that when yoga came into existence. The different postures of yoga embossed in ancient cave drawings are the only evidences found by the archaeologists. These drawings were from 3000 BC.
Because of same characteristics in yoga and shamanism, it was believed that that yoga came into existence during the Stone Age Shamanism. However, to know more about existence of yoga, it has been divided into four periods, namely the Vedic Period, Pre-Classical Period, Classical Period and Post-Classical Period.
Vedic Period is a period when sacred texts called Vedas were was composed. The Vedas are a collection of hymns that talk of divine power. They also have yogic teachings which include many rituals and ceremonies that help and motivate to go beyond the limitations of the mind. In this period, people were dependent on yogis who preached and taught the way to live in divine harmony.
Pre-Classical Yoga mainly consists of composition of Upanishads which portray the capability to see inner being which the result of dedication of Brahman. It laid emphasis on three subjects, namely the ultimate reality, the transcendental self, and the connection between them. Yoga is related to Hinduism as well Buddhism. In Buddhism, meditation is the word which explains different postures of yoga. The first one to prove this was Siddharta Gautama who attained enlightenment at the age of 35.
Bhagavad Gita, a conversation of Arjuna and Hindu god Krishna, is also concentrated entirely on yoga. It basically says that devotion, knowledge and deeds should be brought into a person's lifestyle.
The advent of Yoga Sutra written by Patanjali marked the Classical period. It was aimed at increasing the standard of classical yoga. It has 195 sutras and eight principles. Yama talks of ethical values; Niyama is the person’s perception towards purity, tolerance and study; Asanas is physical postures and exercise; Pranayama is breathing mechanism; Dharana means concentration; Dhyana is meditation; and Samadhi means ecstasy.
Post-Classical Yoga is all about enjoying the present situation. Many yogis give their opinion on this. One of them, Swami Sivananda, a doctor from Malaysia introduced five principles, namely proper relaxation, proper exercise, proper breathing, proper diet and meditation.
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