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The History of Yoga


Yoga today is a popular physical and mental exercise throughout the World. You will find Yoga practiced in a variety of forms, from Bikram yoga performed in heated conditions, the extraordinary athleticism of Ashtanga vinyasa flow yoga, the gentle Hatha  yoga practice and the transcendental meditation practice of Raja yoga. All of these practices including Cobra Yoga can trace its origins to the long historic Yoga traditions of the past.



If you are new to the practice you may have a visual idea of what Yoga is. Perhaps you have seen footage or images of participants stretching on Yoga mats. The history of Yoga is important to help new students understand its value. Yoga is not a new exercise fad but a system which has been developed over  thousands of years.



The reason it has survived is simply because it works. It offers both mental and physical strength and health.



The word Yoga is a Sanskrit word that has two meanings.


1. To Join


2. To concentrate


The origins of Yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions. (Vedic Period  1750-500 BCE.) Major artifacts and writings  have been dated to this period.



The book 'The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali' has been dated from the first half of the 1st millennium CE. The Yoga Sutras is one of a key surviving major text on Yoga. and is still studied and used by practitioners today.



Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the West following the success of Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda in the late 19th and early 20th century.



Yoga in the 21st century is often associated with its physical form and the study of it's Asanas (postures.)  Gurus  such as Tirumalai Krishnamacharya and Bishnu Charan Ghosh  reintroduced the practice of these postures  to the populous and prevented them from disappearing into history.



Later students of Krishnamcharya  such as B.K.S. Iyengar and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois popularised and adapted the Yoga practice. Iyengar introduced alignment concepts and modifications. Pattabhi Jois  introduced a flowing sequence with progressive stages. Today Ashtanga Yoga is one of the most popular forms of yoga in America and has developed a cult following amongst celebrities such as Madonna, Trudi Styler, Sting, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Geri Halliwell and Darryl Hannah,

Bishnu Charan Ghosh Proponent of the 84 Asanas (postures.) Series.

Krishnamacharya often considered to be one of the most influential. and preserver of Hatha Yoga ( The physical practice of yoga.)

B.K.S Iyengar  developed  Iyengar Yoga. Iyengar introduced concepts on modification, props such a Brick, straps were introduced to aid posture holds

Sri K Pattabhi Jois developed Ashtanga vinyassa flow yoga. Pattabhi Jois developed a powerful sequential flowing system which enhanced the aerobic physical quality of yoga becoming one of the most popular systems in America today.