Yoga’s Scholarly Contribution

The earliest reference to yoga is in the Vedas, India’s oldest texts on religion and mysticism, written between 2500 B.C. and 600 B.C. Scholars consider the Vedas the scared seeds that later flourished into India’s religious and philosophical practices.

The Vedic people inhabited the Indus’s Valley from around 1800 B.C. to 1000 B.C. The concept of altering one’s consciousness appears to have played a rather dominant role in Vedic society.

Much later, an isolated group of self-seekers began a more mystical search for transcendentalism. They became known as Upanishads and authored writings on the means of achieving enlightenment. Upanishads is a Sanskrit word that means “to sit next to.” Before the phenomenon of yoga classes, yoga was taught one on one, handed down orally from teacher to student. Both the writings in the Vedas and Upanishads texts were concerned with the spiritual component of yoga. It was the Bhagavad Gita, a national cherished Hindu epic text that contains essential yoga concepts, that first espoused other yoga practices.

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