A Brief History of Yoga
The practice of yoga is thought to date back over 5,000 years. Its origins can be traced to India, where it was first mentioned in the sacred Hindu texts known as the Vedas. These ancient texts also contain the first recorded mention of meditation.
Yoga is an extremely diverse practice that can take many different forms. However, at its core, yoga is a system of physical and mental exercises that are designed to promote health and well-being. The physical exercises, or āsanas, are perhaps the most widely-recognized aspect of yoga. They are designed to strengthen and open the body in order to prepare it for meditation.
The mental exercises, or prāṇāyāmas, are breathing techniques that help to calm and focus the mind. In addition to these physical and mental exercises, yoga also encompasses ethical principles, known as yamas and niyamas, which promote living in harmony with others and oneself.
Yoga may be more than 5,000 years old, but it is still hugely popular today. In fact, according to a recent study by Yoga Journal, 37.7 million Americans practice yoga—a number that has increased dramatically in recent years. Yoga’s popularity is likely due in part to the fact that it offers so many benefits. For example, regular yoga practice has been shown to improve mental and physical health in a variety of ways.