The history of yoga!
Famous all over the planet, this discipline enchants all, but as everything that has ancient origins it brings with it tales, myths and marvellous tales.
HISTORY AND LEGENDS OF YOGA: THE ORIGINS, DIFFUSION AND FAME
Let us begin with the fantastic part of the legends, which tells us that one fine day the God Shiva decided to reveal all the secrets of Yoga to his wife Parvati.
Next to them was a fish lying and without getting noticed, listened carefully to all his wise teachings.
When the two divinities realised about the presence of the little intruder it was too late and the animal had already gone away, taking with him all the he had learned.
The fish swam far away experimenting on himself the sacred teachings that he had acquired and as time went by, he went through the evolutive paths of yoga and at the end turned into a man and became the first Yogini known in history by man.
Lets now move on to the historical part were we can say that scholars agree that the first testimonies of Yoga date back to 5000B.C. in India, where depictions of some positions have been found on coins, slabs and seals belonging to this period.
During those times all the teachings were handed down orally from master to disciple untill the first written signs were found on certain works.
Yoga was intended as a set of meditative techniques with the aiming of achieving the ultimate reality and control of the senses.
We can find the first written evidence in vedic scriptures, precisely the “Upanisad”, which are phylosophical and mystical poems written in Sanskrit, which explore the nature of the human soul.
And it is right on these ancient texts dating back to 3000 B.C. where we can find the very first Yoga teachings.
Also in the Bhagavad Gita we often find the word Yoga, mainly referred to as a way of life which guides towards liberation. The ancient monks infact believed that by controlling the body they would have managed to control the mind. It was hence borne as a very religious practice and lets say has in some way been coded with the most famous text also defined as the Yoga Bible, which indeed are; the YOGA SUTRAS, were moral themes, conduct and positions are tackled and also anything else were the great part was dedicated to meditation and the lotus position.
MODERN YOGA HISTORY
How has it than become the practice that we know today, with many different positions and styles, hence what is the story of this so-called modern yoga?
The merit goes to three Indians who lived at the begining of the 20th century and focused also on the physical aspects of yoga not only on meditation.
Swami Kuvalayananda, focused particularly on the infinite benefits that this discipline gives to our health.
Swami Sivananda and Krishnamacharya, instead focused on developing a wide range of asanas and Pranayama techniques.
Krishnamacharya also known as the father of Yoga. These are the people who have given way to the type of practice, especially physical, which has been enourmously widespread in the Western part of the World over the last years and which nowadays we call and know as Yoga.
In particular Krishnamacharya defined as “the father of Yoga”, has personally taught three masters who have particularly distinguished themselves and influenced the spreading of Yoga over the last years: Pattabhi Jois who gave birth to Ashtanga Yoga, Indra Devi who earned the nomination of “Yoga’s First Lady” and B.K.S. Iyengar who created a style characterised by particular attention to the alignments and the use of supports, called Iyengar Yoga, becoming an integral part till today of the history of yoga.