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Yoga History

Written by Medindia Content Team | Reviewed by Medindia Complementary Medicine Team


The history of yoga is divided into four broad categories:

1. Vedic
2. Pre-classical
3. Classical
4. Post-classical



The ancient texts of Vedas are the oldest scriptures in the world. The Sanskrit word Veda means "knowledge" and rig means "praise". Thus the Rig Vedas are a collection of hymns that are in praise of a higher power. Other three Vedas are Yajur Veda (knowledge of sacrifice), Sama Veda (Knowledge of chants), and Atharvana Veda (knowledge of Atharvana).


Vedic Yoga can also be called Archaic Yoga, as people believed in a ritualistic way of life. Rituals, sacrifices, and ceremonies existed because they were considered a means of connection to the spirit world. People turned to rishis or Vedic yogis for illumination. Vedic masters were blessed with a vision of the supreme reality and their hymns speak of their marvelous intuitions.



This covers an extensive period of approximately 2,000 years until the second century. Gnostic texts, called the Upanishads, that spoke in detail about the self and ultimate reality appeared. There are approximately 200 Upanishads. One of the most remarkable yoga scriptures is the Bhagavad-Gita, which was composed around 500 B.C.

The central teaching of the Gita is, to do ones' duty and not expect the fruit of the action.

In 1200 BC the great teacher Rishaba, who was the exponent of the tradition of Jainism, also emphasized on efforts dedicated to the liberation of the spirit.

It was during this time, that Yoga found its way into Buddhism too; Lord Buddha was the first Buddhist to study Yoga. Buddhist scriptures lay stress on meditation and physical postures, which are Yogic processes.

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sinjkaler, United Kingdom

I have also done an article on The Origin and back fround of yoga and also articles on everything to do about yoga. Hope you have a read.

amittt, India

what about swami dhirender brhamchari yoga guru of former prime minister of india late indhira gandhi he also wrote books on yoga YOGASAN VIGYAN and YOGICSHUKHAM VYAM which is famouse books of yoga

Prasannanandaji, India

The names of Swami Ramadeva and Sri Sri Ravishankar need to be added

dr.rajarshi, India

First thing i want to say is YOGA is not a Exercise program. The word YOGA was taken from Sanskrit word called "YUJ". Yoga is made of eight tools, hence it is called as ASTANGAYOGA. YAMAs(donts), NIJAMAS(do's), ASANAS(postures), PRANAYAMA(breathing techniques), PRATHYAHARA(controlling of senses), DHYANA(concentration), DHARANA(meditation), SAMADHI(liberation).This says ASANAS, the so called physical movements came first and then came the meditation.

thank you

tasnim, United Kingdom

Can anyone please help me.

I need to know how and when did the word Yoga appear. Was Yoga taken from a religious practice and made into a form of exercise program incorporating movement. I understand thaat people meditated sitting and then came the physical movements of Yoga.

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