History of Yoga
Currently, yoga is being practiced all over the globe in both its traditional forms and contemporary forms.  Owing to its expertise in yoga, India is widely regarded and admired globally. This is one of the major reasons for India being a major attraction that draws foreign explorers who are in search of ancient knowledge.  Regarding the origins of yoga, two types of theories exist: as per the linear model, the Vedas indicate that yoga has Aryan origins; mostly, this model has been advocated by Hindu scholars. According to the synthesis model, yoga is an amalgamation of Aryan elements with native, non-Aryan practices, and this theory is supported by western scholars. ,  Moreover, the word “yoga” traces its origin to the Sanskrit word “Yuj,” which implies “to join or attach.” Therefore, the word “yoga” denotes a sense of union, i.e, the connection or union with our inner being. ,  A yogi or yogini (referred to woman) is defined as an individual who practices yoga or follows the philosophy of yoga with a high degree of dedication. 
Different References to Yoga in History
* Indus Valley Civilization: Evidence of yogic practice in the ancient age was detected by some researchers in the archaeological artifacts obtained from the Indus Valley civilization in Sind, which showed progress from around 2500 B.C.  Hence, the practice of yoga was of extreme significance in the Dravidian era. Certain seals among the artifacts of Mohenjo Daro depict images of gods and goddesses in yogic postures.  The central figure of the Pashupati seal is believed to display an “asana” posture, according to some scholars of yoga such as Werner, McEvilley, and Eliade. These scholars are of the opinion that the pre-Aryan heritage had an important role to play in the development of yoga. 
* Vedas: The Vedas, a large set of religious texts having origins in ancient India were codified between 1200 and 900 B.C. References to yogic-like practices were found in the Vedic texts. ,  In the Atharvaveda and the Brahmanas, techniques for breath control and vital energies have been described. 
* Upanishads: The first occurrence of the word “yoga” is observed in the Kathopanishad (around 3rd century B.C.),  where the following is stated in sloka 11— “Tam yogamithi manyanthe, sthiram indiram dharanam.” The preceding statement implies that firm control over senses is regarded as yoga. Yoga is the highest state achieved when there exists perfect control over the mind and the five senses and a stable intellect is attained. ,  The Svetasvatara Upanishad summarizes a process through which the body can be maintained in an upright position while the regulation of mind is done through restraining the breath. A six-fold process of yoga has been explained in the Maitri Upanishad — (1) control of breath (pranayama), (2) detachment of the senses (pratyahara), (3) meditation (dhyana), (4) placing of the concentrated mind (dharana), (5) philosophical study (tarka), and (6) absorption (samadhi). These terms (excluding tarka) will, at a later stage, account for five of the eight elements of Patanjali’s astangayoga scheme. 
* Samhitas: In chapter-5, sloka 9 of Siva Samhita, it is conveyed that yoga can be divided into four classes — mantrayoga, hathayoga, layayoga, and rajayoga. In chapter-3, sloka 84, it is stated that 284 asanas (postures) exist in yoga, and the following four are suggested to be practiced among them — siddha, padma, ugra, and swastika. 
* Mahabharata and Bhagwad Gita: In the Mokshadharma section of the 12th chapter (Shanti Parva) of the Mahabharata (around 3rd century B.C.), an ancient form of yoga referred to as nirodhayoga (yoga of cessation) has been described.  In nirodhayoga, emphasis is placed on progressive detachment from the contents of empirical consciousness such as thoughts, sensations, etc. until the realization of purusha (self) is attained.  Overall, in Mahabharata, the purpose of yoga is stated as the unification of the individual ?tman with the universal Brahman that encompasses everything. 
The Bhagavad Gita is an essential part of the Mahabharata and is the chief holy scripture of the Hindus. The Gita too contains elaborate lessons related to yoga. It contains a complete chapter (ch. 6) that is devoted to conventional yoga practice. The Gita outlines three major classes of yoga, namely karma yoga (yoga related to action), bhakti yoga (yoga related to devotion), and jnana yoga (yoga related to knowledge). 
* Buddhist Era: Various treatises were established by the Buddhist tradition of Abhidharma, and these treatises were instrumental in further expansion of the teachings on Buddhist phenomenological theory and yogic methods. In Buddhist yoga, a broad range of techniques are included that aim towards acquiring essential virtues or qualities known as the 37 aids to awakening. The eventual goal of Buddhist yoga is bodhi (awakening) or nirvana (cessation), which is conventionally considered to be the permanent end of suffering (dukkha) and rebirth. Developments occurred in the diverse Buddhist traditions at a later stage, resulting in novel innovations in yogic methods. Prominent texts like Yog?c?rabh?mi-??stra (compiled in the 4th century) contain Indic meditation teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. Furthermore, the meditation practices of Mahayana established and adopted novel yogic techniques, for instance, the use of mantra and dharani and visualization techniques. Chinese Buddhism, which is one of the oldest forms of Buddhism in history, established its own yogic practices, like Hua Tou and the Chan practice of Koan introspection. Similarly, tantric techniques were developed and adopted by Tantric Buddhism. The yogic systems of Tibetan Buddhism are based on these tantric methods. 
* Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: It is generally considered that Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are the first compilation of the formal yoga philosophy. The compilation was done by sage Patanjali in India who collected knowledge related to yoga from ancient traditions and combined and organized them in a text. This text is one of the most significant classical texts in Hinduism and has gained a lot of attention and interest from all over the globe. The main characteristic of Patanjali’s Yoga sutras is its description of ashtanga (or “eight-limbed” yoga), which includes yama (abstinences), niyama (observances), asana (yogic postures), pranayama (control of breath), pratyahara (detachment of the senses), dharana (mental focus), dhyana (to meditate), and ultimately, samadhi (attaining liberation).  Modern yoga tradition regards Patanjali’s Yoga sutras to be one of the foundational texts of classical yoga philosophy. 
* Hatha Yoga: The tenth to eleventh century witnessed the rapid emergence of a novel regimen of yoga referred to as the “yoga of forceful exertion” or hatha yoga,  as described in works such as Yogavasistha and the original Goraksa Sataka. 15 The features of Patanjali’s Yoga sutras are combined with posture and breathing exercises in hatha yoga. , , ,  It involves enhancing asanas into complete body postures, the use of which is widely prevalent in the current age. Overall, hatha yoga, in combination with its numerous modern variants, is the most popular style of yoga today, and in a way, represents yoga as a whole in the current scenario. 
* Modern Form of Yoga: Around the mid-19th century, yoga and other subjects of Indian philosophy drew the attention of an educated western society. The first Hindu scholar who involved in active advocation and propagation of the features of yoga to the western society was Swami Vivekananda, who travelled to the United States and Europe in the 1890s. Vivekananda believed that practicing yoga involves psychological benefits along with simultaneous spiritual advancement. He explained that yoga also assists in emphasizing on the self, which he considered to be in compatibility with the modern democratic emphasis on an individual. Swami Vivekananda garnered a lot of praise and appreciation for his detailed and inspirational explanations on yoga, which aroused huge interest among the Western scholars. The Western society’s opinion on yoga was also largely influenced by certain theosophists, including Madame Blavatsky. ,  In 1899, Ida C. Craddock (1857–1902), who was an active advocate of yoga in America, founded the Church of Yoga.  Another notable scholar in modern yoga was the social radical and tantric modern yoga advocate Pierre Bernard (1876–1955). His followers continued to instruct yoga well into the second half of the 20th century.  The founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship and a noted yogic guru from India, Swami Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952), happens to be the second Indian guru who journeyed from India to the United States and received a huge following among American citizens who showed interest towards modern yoga and Indian spirituality. , , 
It was in the 19th century that modern yoga went completely global. Entrepreneurial gurus tactically took part in the global market and achieved success in marketing yoga through establishing continuity between their yoga brands and prevailing values and requirements. ,  Consequently, modern yogic methods underwent a transformation from mostly being controversial, elite, or countercultural ones to pop culture varieties.  In the current age, modern yoga is commonly prescribed as a part of self-development and is considered to impart increased beauty, strength, and flexibility as well as reduce stress levels. , , 
In the present day, yoga has emerged as a part of popular culture in urban regions all over the globe. Yoga has advanced into a worldwide multi-billion-dollar business, and it continues to thrive as an important aspect of the lifestyle of humans around the world. 
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