Yoga: A Historical Account
Yoga finds its origins in the earliest periods of Vedic spirituality. There are multiple interpretations of the exercise that have been popular throughout the years and what we know of it today isn’t what it actually was. One thing that has never changed however; that yoga was has always been associated with the cultivation of self-discipline, wisdom and truth. The word Yoga broken down in sanskrit actually means union, which is the action of learning how to severe the mind so that we can come to know our truth and be in complete oneness with the divine, from that which we came from, Purusha, God.
To understand Yoga, you’re going to need to understand how the Vedas associated the exercise with the elite of the time. These people were considered to be the embodiment of the divine and therefore the protectors of the truth.
The Vedas is filled with references of holy wars fought between the gods, who as creators and the destroyers of universes had chariots to travel in. These chariots were actually called “Yoga”; the warriors who used to ride chariots into battle had achieved divinity through their “Yoga” or chariots.
Although there is an intense focus on the war aspect of it, what’s important here is the similarity between the gods and the warriors who both rode these chariots called yoga. In that sense, the warriors had achieved divinity. Interestingly enough, these warriors also belonged to the cultural elite.
The Spirit and The Truth: Yoga Spreads
Throughout history, spiritual practices, such as yoga were a way in which one could attain truth or enlightenment. Which is a term used a lot today as a way to express a highly evolved state of consciousness in which all light has been brought into the dark recesses of the mind. Yoga and its many facets is one of the ancient practices which helps tame the mind and bring about greater states of peace.
Buddhism is another religion that advocates yoga as a way to achieve enlightenment. Although some people argue whether yoga is a part of the Buddhist tradition, there is common consensus that these two share major common characteristics.
The practice of yoga helps develop focus and concentration through a combination of practices. The goal is to help one settle into stillness and begin to tap into the reservoir of knowledge that has helped many understand the nature of reality, one’s relationship to the larger universe, growing into greater states of being “at one” with all.
Yoga in Modern Times
Today, the value of yoga has not diminished, in fact it continues to grow in popularity. Although people assume it to be a helpful exercise, there’s still much spiritual appeal to the practices, helping practitioners find balance within their body, mind and soul. As we begin to engage in the many aspects of yoga, we learn so much more about ourselves and the world around us.
Using a combination of yoga practices, such as asana (yoga poses), pranayama (breathing practices), mantra (one pointed focus upon a particular phrase), etc.; one learns how to transcend their contingent life experiences to embrace their true essence. Through this self-reflection, people become one with their spiritual selves to live better lives.
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