Yoga is India‘s gift to the mankind. The practice of yoga in India can be dated long back in the history. The first source of Yoga is the Rig Vedas. The timeline describing the practice of yoga in the early texts is unclear. The Upanishads also have a mention of yoga in them. It was later in the first Millennium that the yoga sutras of Patanjali were framed by Patanjali who tried to reform the concept of yoga into a form of life. These sutras became famous in the West in the 20th century. Another form of text depicting Yoga emerged around the 11th century known as Hatha yoga, in the tantra. Some seals have been discovered from Indus Valley civilization which portrays the practice of yoga.
Yoga gurus from India in the modern day history traveled to the West to promote and teach Yoga, following the success of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th and early 20th century. Till 1980, yoga became quite popular in the West but mainly as a form of physical exercise, something that will keep the people in shape. It was later in the coming years that it was adopted as a way of life which will not only have physical ground but also mental and spiritual core. This was proved when it was given the title of an intangible Cultural heritage by UNESCO. In India, it has a meditative and spiritual meaning.
Yoga : Importance and Growth
Focusing on the importance of Yoga, an International Day of Yoga was declared by United Nations General Assembly on June 21st in the year 2015. Since then, 21st of June is celebrated every year as Yoga day throughout the world. Even a Guinness World Record was set by India in the inception year 2015, for most number of people performing Yoga at the same time. 35,985 people did yoga at the same time throughout the world. Another very record that was set up was for the largest number of participating nationalities which was 84.
There are 196 Yoga Sutras or aphorisms. There are 84 classic Yoga Asanas, the Asana is one of the 8 limbs of Yoga. Research has suggested that yoga improves social and occupational functioning in schizophrenic patients. The Supreme God related to yoga is Lord Shiva who is considered the Adi Yogi or the First Yogi. Some of the common teachers who have spread Yoga in the West are Swami Vivekananda, Paramahansa Yogananda, B K S Iyengar. Swami Vivekananda wrote a book named Raja Yoga in Manhattan in 1896 and which had a major impact on Western understandings of what yoga was. B K S Iyengar started many yoga teaching institutions through Europe and USA. He was one of the most renowned, contemporary yoga teacher in the world.
Yoga and The World
The impact of Yoga in the world cannot be undermined. All over the globe people have incorporated the spiritual and physical discipline of yoga in their lifestyles. This can be well understood by the fact that around 16 million Americans practice yoga and spend $5.7 billion dollars on gears.