Yoga

Periods in Yoga History

What makes you have interest in yoga? Is it the healthy benefits or the wonders to your spirit and your mind along with your closest people? Whatever they are, it would be better for you to have a comprehensive knowledge about the yoga history.

Previously, we have written a brief description about yoga. The previous article was explaining about the origin of yoga name, disciplines of yoga in the early ages, the Bhagavad Gita as the most comprehensive description of yoga at that time, yoga concepts of universal consciousness to the mainstream yoga philosophy.

Inside this article, we provide information about yoga history and finally, the periods in yoga history.

Yoga itself originated in India more than five millenniums ago. The recent evidence about the age of yoga was found in the early 1920’s, among the ruins of the Indian ancient cities, Mohenjo Daro and Harappa. There, depictions carved on a stone seals that strongly bear a resemblance to yogi-like figures was found. Then, the amazing sustainability of yoga goes along the way with the Hindu society and culture, especially the Indus-Sarasvati civilization.

In general, the history of yoga can be divided into four periods.

The periods in yoga history are as follows:

Vedic Yoga (also well-known as Archaic Yoga)
Vedic Yoga teachings were found in the Rig-Veda and the other three ancient hymnodies. Rig-Veda is Sanskrit words. Rig means praise and veda means knowledge. So, rig-veda can be translated as praise of knowledge.

While the other three ancient Vedic Yoga hymnodies are:

  • Yajur-Veda (Knowledge about Sacrifice)
  • Sama-Veda (Knowledge about Chants)
  • Atharva-Veda (Knowledge about Atharvan)


Preclassical Yoga

Preclassical yoga has an extensive length period of time. Ended at the 2nd century A.D. and still can be traced two millenniums back (2000 years).

The most remarkable of Yoga scripture in this period is Bhagavad Gita.

Classical Yoga

Classical yoga is labeled to the Raja Yoga (also known as the eightfold yoga). Raja Yoga was taught by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra. The Yoga Sutra itself might be written in the 5th century A.D.

Postclassical Yoga
Postclassical yoga refers to all teachings after Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra period. In this period, Yoga took another perspective into the hidden potential of human body while the previous Yoga teachers and practitioners had no particular attention.

Modern Yoga
Modern yoga period begins with the increasing interest and impression by the western people. Young Swami Vivekananda was the person who started it at the Parliament of Religions which was held in Chicago, the USA in the year 1893.

After Swami Vivekananda, several Yoga teachers also involved the western yoga movement such as Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Rama Tirtha, Jiddu Krishnamurthi and many others.

In the upcoming articles, we will write further about the yoga history and development in each period.

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