Yoga can be considered as the oldest 'recorded' form of exercise in the young history of Homo sapiens. Its origins can be traced back to c. sixth and fifth centuries BCE.
Some historians even put the date as far back as the Vedic age, where references to yoga could be found in the ancient Indian text viz. the Rig Veda. In other words, yoga preceded the Buddha. No wonder He was so taken in by this discipline that aims to straddle the spiritual, mental and physical realms.
Here is a comprehensive guide to yoga courses in India.
Tracing the Evolutionary Journey of Yoga in India
The history of yoga is conventionally categorized into four eras or periods by scholars across the ages.
- Pre-Classical Yoga believed to have been developed during the age of the great Indus Valley civilization five millennia before our time. That's what we call old!
- Classical Yoga, also called Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is often recognized as the first codified body of knowledge on the theories and practice of yoga.
- Post-Classical Yoga focuses on a way of life that encourages people to live in the moment instead of worrying unduly about liberation etc.
- Modern Yoga is the last and the contemporary phase of yoga. This was developed in the late 1800s and has been in vogue ever since.
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The yogic tradition has evolved primarily out of a few primitive forms of yoga.
This is one of the oldest arm of the yogic tradition. The aim of Karma Yoga is to focus on spiritual liberation. For this reason, it is also called Karma Marga. It is believed to have its roots in the Bhagavad Gita.
This is the oldest form of yoga and like Karma yoga, it also focuses on the spiritual journey of the yogi.
Another arm of yoga with roots in the Bhagavad Gita, Bhakti Yoga or Bhakti Marga focuses on loving devotion towards the divinities in the Hindu pantheon such as Krishna, Radha, Ganesha, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva etc.
As the name suggests, Mantra Yoga uses chanting of mantras so as to enable the yogi to move into a deeper level of consciousness.
This form of yoga is practised by those who want to achieve complete control over their mind and emotions. In other words, Raja Yoga teaches self-discipline.
Know Your Yoga
Before deciding to enrol yourself into a yoga studio or online yoga classes or appoint your very own private yoga trainer in Madurai, it is advisable to learn and understand the different forms of yoga. They serve different purposes.
This gentle form of yoga is most ideal for beginners who are looking to improve their body's flexibility and balance.
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Also known as power yoga, this form of yoga is ideal for those who are looking to lose bodyweight.
‘Surya Namaskar’ is a popular form of vinyasa yoga.
This form of yoga is recommended for those with chronic pain in their muscles and joints. Iyengar yoga is designed to help strengthen both.
This is the best-suited yoga for improving body flexibility.
An amalgamation of different breathing exercises, chanting and physical movements, Kundalini yoga is more spiritual in nature, helping you to relax.
Ashtanga yoga is an advanced form of yoga that includes physically intense poses and exercises.
It is exactly what it says! Designed for pregnant women and combining exercises and breathing techniques, prenatal yoga aims to reduce health risks during the critical prenatal stage of pregnancy.
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