History of Yoga
Yoga is more than just a physical exercise. It is designed to be a meditation tied in with relaxation of the body and mind. The history of yoga is split up into four periods: the Vedic Period, Pre-Classical Period, Classical and Post-Classical Periods. In the Vedic Period, yogic teachings came from the Vedas, a collection of hymns which praise a divine power. From these praises, certain rituals and ceremonies were incorporated into stretches and the relaxation of the mind. The Pre-Classical Period’s yoga depended on the Upanishads, a book of scriptures that the people of India followed. This type of yoga focused on three subjects: the ultimate reality, the transcendental self and the relationship between the two. Today, this is where the main focus of modern day yoga derives from. In the Classical Period, a book called the Yoga Sutra was written to establish and define the standards of Classical Yoga. These standards were based upon what was important to be faithful and loyal to a divine lord. These standards included: social restraints or ethical values, personal observations of purity, tolerance and study, physical exercise, breath control or regulation, concentration, meditation and ecstasy. The people believed that an individual is composed of matter and spirit, and that in order for the spirit to be cleansed, the two components must be separated. Later on in time, the reason for yoga slightly changed. Not only was it done for body and soul connection, but it started to become a reason to be immortal, strengthening the body as a whole for longer life. Post-Classical Yoga focuses more on the present. As from before, yoga strived to liberate a person from reality, whereas now it teaches one to accept it and live in the moment. Once yoga was introduced to the West in the early 19th century, Indian philosophers modified the Classical Period’s standards of yoga to the Five Principles of Yoga, which included proper relaxation, proper exercise,...
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