History of Yoga: Development from Origin to Present

Yoga originates from the Sanskrit term "yuj," which means to unite. It is the connection of the particular self with the ultimate self. Yoga, as per Patanjali's traditional definition, involves regulating mental alterations. There are many types of yoga practices, but the core concept of each is mind control.

This current global interest in yoga techniques dates way back to the Indus Age culture. It has since undergone several alterations, and what we now call yoga is substantially different from how people perceived it earlier.

Yoga is a practice that helps people enhance or develop their innate strength in a balanced way. It provides the means to achieve total self-realization. The Sanskrit term "yoga" literally means "yoke." Yoga is thus a method of integrating the human spirit with universal space. Yoga, as per Maharishi Patanjali, is the control of mental changes. Let us look at the evolution of yogic practice from the beginning to the present.

History of Yoga

Here's a quick rundown of yogic technical evolution:

  • Primitive Era 
    The roots of yoga are in India. In more than a 1000-year evolution, Indian practitioners learned yoga instructional practices from creatures in the primal forest in mental exercise, mindfulness, and asceticism.

    Tantric yoga is popular right now. During the Indus River civilization, a group of local people wandered the Indian continent. Everything influenced them. They performed meaningful ceremonies and worshiped gods in order to discover the truth about existence. Tantric yoga is known for its devotion to erotic strength, particular function, and longevity.
  • The Vedic Period, The First Notion Of Yoga Evolved
    From the fifteenth to the eighth century, the arrival of nomad Aryans accelerated the demise of Indian indigenous civilization and gave rise to the Brahman culture. Yoga got its first description from the early theological Vedic, which described yoga as "discipline" or "moral law."

    In its final classic, yoga was a form of self-discipline and some material for breath control in its classic, which came from preceptors that devoted themselves to God for recitation.

    The Vedic practice began with physical exercise to gain self-liberation, and subsequently it evolved to the theological idea of recognizing the oneness of Brahman and oneself.
  • Pre-Classical Yoga
    Over five thousand years ago, the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in the Indian Subcontinent formed the foundations of Yoga. Earlier, yoga was common in the Rig Veda, the earliest religious literature. The Vedic were a series of books that included hymns, rituals, and customs for use by Brahmans, or Vedic priests.

    The transcendental divinations gradually polished and extended yoga by documenting their practices and ideas in the Hindu scriptures, a massive compilation spanning over 200 texts. The most famous Yogic text is the Atharva, dating back around 450 BC. 
  • Classical Yoga
    During the pre-classical period, yoga practice gave birth to many ideas, beliefs, and methods that frequently clashed and contradicted each other. The Patanjali's Yoga-Sûtras influenced the classical era and has the earliest systematic yoga techniques and teachings.

    This treatise, written probably in the 2nd century, covers the Raja Yoga method, sometimes known as "classical yoga." Patanjali's Yoga Sutras arranged yoga practice into an "eight-limbed route," encompassing the step-by-step process of achieving samadhi, or awareness. The Buddha is known as the father of meditation, and his technique continues to have a profound impact on most current yoga schools.
  • Post-Classical Yoga
    Yoga gurus developed a series of practices a few generations after Patanjali to revitalize the physique and lengthen the lifespan. They abandoned the traditional Vedic teachings and accepted physical existence as the way to awakening. They created Tantra Yoga, which includes advanced procedures for cleansing the minds and bodies in order to untie the social bonds that tie us to our mortal existence. This research of physical-spiritual linkages and muscle practices resulted in what we often call yoga today: Hatha Yoga.
  • Modern Period Yoga
    Contemporary yoga includes a number of systems that emerged in the early nineteenth century after the influence of the capitalist economy, colonial and technological initiatives, and worldwide advancements in fields ranging from philosophy to fitness and modern beliefs and values.

    Traditional yogis see mindfulness as a spiritual self-realization practice (moksha), whereas modern yogis see yoga practice as a muscular posture exercise (asana). Currently, yoga practice comes with the body in the form of Asana. Ancient Yoga practice does not always start with the physique but with the mind.

    The modern version of yoga practice may differ from the natural form, yet it relies on the same fundamental notions advanced by Patanjali. The main change appears to be that we now work on our physicality before focusing on our thoughts.
  • Yoga Philosophy Comes To America
    The origin of yoga dates back to over a thousand years, however yoga practice took root in America in the 1920s and through the 1930s. This was due to Indian immigrants rather than Indian experts who arrived in the US. These people were always in America when they could not get citizenship and rights. Following a succession of court battles and national statutes, many ex-students, workers, and social activists reinvented themselves as mystic authorities. 

    They traveled the country, earning a living by providing speaking events, private lessons, and, in some cases, personal expenses. In 1938, the American novelist Charles Ferguson jokingly referred to them as "mobile salesmen," noting that "during winter we may discover ads for the manifestations of Yoga practitioners in the towns of the East, and throughout the spring and early summer they labor in the rural areas."

    The rebirth of yoga practice in India reached the United States in the late 1930s. Previous concepts of yoga as cerebral and mystical began to fade, and the yoga techniques recognizable to modern devotees with their poses and fitness activities took root. People incorporated yoga into their lives; it became part of health and fitness periodicals; and yoga instructors began to include asana into their sessions.

Bringing Focus to Asana Practice

Asana is the practical discipline of yoga that involves the physique. Asana is another term for yoga positions or sequences. Asana is a Sanskrit term that means "position," particularly for relaxation. Asana is now associated with yoga, yet it is merely one of several aspects.

Many people are now interested in asana to understand what it is where it came from, and how its history allows for a more comprehensive approach. Yoga has evolved from being about attempting to place your foot above your head to having a more significant output. When we talk about asana, we're talking about the bodily yoga practice. There is a misunderstanding about meditation, and it may appear redundant.

Many current yogis begin by practicing yoga poses, often known as yoga asana. However, yoga asana is not the same as mindfulness yoga. An asana is a challenging physical condition that you perform with your physique. To practice Asana, we employ yoga positions. However, yoga positions are not a yoga technique.

Let's compare yoga to a burning fire. There are several methods for starting a fire. You may rub wooden sticks, bang a flint chip on metal, or use a magnifying glass to magnify the sunlight. The technique, however, should not be the fire but rather a way of starting the fire.

Similarly, asana is a method of doing meditation, but it is not yoga per se. There are many other ways to explore yoga, such as pranayama or relaxation techniques. 

Benefits of Yoga Asana

  • Yoga asana is a beneficial physical exercise for
  • Body Toning and Conditioning
  • Enhancing your agility and adaptability
  • Reducing irritation and, consequently, illness
  • Restoration of injuries

It may include a cardiovascular element, which stimulates your heartbeat and aids in weight loss.

As genuine as yoga's physical advantages are, yoga asana actually outperforms in terms of emotional and mental benefits. Yoga positions, if used correctly, may lead to a peaceful, positive outlook on life, as well as a sense of joy and serenity. To do so, we must understand another concept of asana.

  • Asana Promotes Mindfulness
  • It keeps us engaged.
  • It's easier to walk than it is to stay stationary.
  • We can concentrate on motion and bodily feelings.
  • Asana transforms into a motion meditation.

You may practice yoga from within, outwards, or vice-versa. Asana is from the inside out. It needs your body to examine your ideas, sensations, and thoughts. How well do you understand yourself? Take note of what you do. Of course, activities in yoga involve thinking and words, so pay attention to what you think or believe.

You may also practice yoga to improve your emotional and mental wellbeing. You may influence your thoughts and feelings by moving purposefully. Understand that our movements are a substitute for our thinking. You may change your inner state with a simple body motion.

The difference between Indian yoga and American yoga

Indian yoga differs from American yoga in many aspects. Though there are some asanas that are common, the concepts are vastly different. American yoga is more concerned with economics than Indian yoga, which is more concerned with spiritual and emotional health. Indian yoga techniques are a lifetime practice, but American yoga may target a specific outcome or for a project. 

Here are some of the major differences between American and Indian yoga:

  • 01: Yoga techniques
    The yoga practiced in India is the traditional and original version, but the American yoga technique is adaptable. The way yogi’s practice in India and America may differ. Indian yoga includes several kriyas and mantras, but Americans concentrate on flexibility and mobility.
  • 02: Yoga Versions
    Indian Yoga is a spiritual practice that people follow keenly. On the other hand, American Yoga is more focused on invention. American Yoga has developed several practices like fitness yoga classes, acrobatic yoga, and aerial yoga. But Indian Yoga has different artistic traditions, such as asanas and Bikram Yoga.
  • 03: Location
    Indian Yoga happens in a natural environment and has a greater emphasis on nature. Yogis practice at yogic centers in the United States.
  • 04: The Diet
    Indian yoga institutes adhere to the notion of strictly vegan foods because they think that in order for the body to heal naturally, it must ingest a diet rich in herbal spices and herbs. This is not true of American yoga places. They take a more contemporary approach to eating, believing that the body needs ayurvedic green tea, fresh fruits, and vegetables to detoxify. In this sense, American yoga adheres to a tailored food plan, but Indian yoga adheres to a yogic nutrition plan.
  • 05: Relationship with the Body
    Indian yoga is linked not only to the physical but also to the brain. It promotes mental peace and enhances enlightenment and tranquility. American Yoga is more concerned with the physical aspects and activities of the physique than mental aspects. The goal of American Yoga is to be fit, and it has no relation to nature.
  • 06: The Purpose of Yoga
    The primary goal of Indian yoga practice is to alleviate stress, pressure, or other detrimental issues. Yoga's goal is to bring serenity into one's life. American Yoga is unconcerned with a person's mental wellness. The main goal is to become a professional.
  • 07: The Technique
    As a meditation method, Indian yoga also aids in keeping our minds non-reactive to emotions such as grief, rage, and so on. American Yoga is a more physical form of yoga. Hatha yoga is the most popular yoga practice in India, whereas Vinyasa yoga is the most popular in the United States.

The Fundamentals of Yoga Practice

Yoga is a lifestyle. Yoga is a philosophy, not a religious practice. It aims to bring the mind, body, and spirit together. Yoga practices are practical and timeless; this is why meditation has been taught for many years and continues to be relevant today. This pragmatic discipline has the following concepts:

  • 01: Breathing Right /Pranayama
    Many of us may not realize that we breathe due to our contemporary lifestyles. Our respiration becomes shallow at best. Our body's cells all thrive on oxygen. Without an appropriate oxygen supply, human cells and tissues deteriorate, resulting in sickness.
  • 02: Relaxation/ Savasana
    Another component we must include in our daily routine is healthy relaxation, which allows the mind and body to replenish and revitalize. Rest and relaxation assist in calming the entire system.
  • 03: Nutrition and Diet
    What we consume impacts our health and happiness. Including vegetables and fruits in the diet is ideal for our health. It allows the body to get the most out of food, oxygen, water, and sunshine.
  • 04: Meditation and Positive Thinking
    Our minds are what propel our bodies. To keep our bodies in peak shape, we must have a calm and stable mind. Positive thoughts aid in the purification of the mind and the sensation of inner calm.


Millions of people have benefited from yoga practices. Over the years, yoga practices have evolved, and many people are taking a keen interest in the mindfulness techniques.  As mentioned in the article, the traditional yogic practices originating from India have been maintained and developed by yoga gurus from earlier civilizations. Every day, the discipline of yoga blossoms and grows more colorful as it spreads the world over. You may choose to practice yoga for spiritual reasons or for health benefits.