Yoga’s History and Growing Popularity

The earliest recorded instances of yoga are from oral transmissions of sacred texts. This was done as a way to keep it a secret. An early description of yoga was first recorded on fragile palm leaves. Most historians believe yoga is over 4,900 years old and some think it could be over 9,500 years old. There is an impressively long history associated with its development and practice.

Pre-Classical Yoga

Pre-Classical Yoga

It is believed the earliest development of yoga was from a civilization in Northern India known as Sarasvati. It is here where the first recorded use of the word yoga is found in a sacred text known as Rig Veda. This is a sacred text used by Brahmans known as Vedic priests. Yoga was carefully developed by the Brahmans as part of their beliefs. One of the most well-known scriptures containing yoga is the Bhagavad-Gîtâ.

Classical Yoga

Classical Yoga

During this period of its development, yoga was a combination of many different techniques, ideas, and beliefs. Often in conflict with one another. During this time, the first systematic presentation of yoga was created known as Patanjali’s Yoga-Sûtras. This is often referred to as classical yoga. This presentation organized the practice of yoga into specific stages and steps.

This was so a practitioner could utilize it on their way to enlightenment known at that time as Samadhi. Many yoga practitioners consider Patanjali to be the father of yoga. His work still influences many different types of modern yoga.

Post-Classical Yoga

The next step in the development of yoga occurred when yoga masters created a system to make the body healthy and extend a person’s life. This began a few hundred years after Patanjali. Yoga masters at this time stopped following the teaching of the ancient Vedas. They began to believe they could use the physical body as a way to achieve enlightenment.

This is when Tantra Yoga was created. It provides practitioners with techniques designed to cleanse their mind and body. The goal is to break free from what binds a person to their physical existence. This development of the connection between the physical body, and the spiritual evolved into what most people in the west perceive as yoga.

Modern Yoga

Modern Yoga

Between the 1800s and 1900s, yoga masters started visiting places in the west displaying their skills. This resulted in a huge amount of attention, and a significant following. In the late 1800s, Swami Vivekananda impressed the people in Chicago who attended an event known as the Parliament of Religions. This event was designed to create a dialogue of among faiths from around the world. He impressed them with his lectures about yoga.

Starting in the 1920s, and the following few decades, the promotion of Hatha Yoga was done in India by Swami Vivekananda as well as many other yoga practitioners. In 1924, the first Hatha Yoga school was opened. In 1936, the Divine Life Society was started by T. Krishnamacharya.

During this time, Swami Sivananda was able to write hundreds of books about yoga. He established many yoga centers around the world.Indra Devi started a yoga studio in 1947 in Hollywood, California. Since that time, many yoga teachers from around the world have popularized yoga. Millions of followers from many countries now practice it. There are a variety of yoga schools and styles available.

Growing Popularity Of Yoga

A survey concerning the popularity of yoga was conducted by the Yoga Alliance. The results show the number of individuals in the United States currently doing yoga has increased over 50 percent within the last few years.

It is estimated to be more than 35 million. The survey also showed 90 percent of people in the United States have heard of yoga. The results also illustrated that over 14 percent of people in the United States have done yoga for a minimum of six months.

A third of people in the United of States have also said they would try yoga within the next twelve months. Over 69 percent of yoga practitioners are women. The number of men doing yoga in the United states has more than doubled in recent years. Yoga is growing in popularity with adults over 50, the number of people in this age group doing yoga has tripled.

Future of Yoga

Future of Yoga

A new study illustrates how the popularity of yoga is increasing significantly. The results showed that over 36 percent of people in the United States who practice yoga have children under the age of 18 who are also practicing yoga.

The number of schools offering yoga as part of their curriculum is also increasing. It’s been shown children who learn yoga can relax and learn better than those who don’t practice it. More people are realizing the benefits of yoga. It is increasingly becoming a regular part of people’s lives.

The history of yoga is one filled with improving and enhancing the lives of people. It is not a muscle building exercise, but a way to improve the body and mind. Yoga is a powerful way to engage in self-transformation. Its message is one of being inclusive and providing benefits that are easily accessible to all people.