You may be wondering where yoga came from, but aren’t sure how to explain it to a layperson. This article will give you some history on the ancient Indus valley civilization, Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras, and Swami Vivekananda. Then, you can use this information to better understand Ashtanga Vinyasa and other forms of yoga. But before you dive into these topics, read this first.
Indus valley civilization
It is widely accepted that the origins of Yoga can be traced back to an ancient civilization, namely the Indus Valley Civilization. The ancient civilization is known for many Sumerian inventions, dating back to the seventh millennium B.C., which was also responsible for the emergence of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The origin of Yoga is unclear, but recent genetic studies have provided more evidence that it did.
Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutetras are a collection of 195 aphorisms that explain how to perform the eight limbs of yoga. While yoga has many meanings, the contemporary definition is “union.” Patanjali’s Yoga is more aptly translated as “concentration and discipline” and examines the human spirit’s relationship to the material world. The Sutras are a great source of information on Yoga and the first two limbs of the Eight Limbed Path.
Yoga was once largely unknown to the West, but it became increasingly popular in the 19th century thanks to Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu monk who spoke to a large audience in Chicago. His oratory skills made him famous throughout the West, though his audience wasn’t all that enthusiastic. Vivekananda is credited with introducing yoga to the West and giving it a scientific rationale. The four major Yogas were also developed by Swami Vivekananda: Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Karma Yogic disciplines.
The term “Vinyasa” refers to the flow or progression of movements between the asanas in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. This style of yoga is famous for its jump-throughs and fluid transitions between poses. Vinyasa is most often used to describe a linking sequence that builds upper body strength and counterpoises the spine.
A key aspect of Vinyasa Flow is intelligent sequencing. By linking breath with movement, the Vinyasa style supports the body as it moves into and out of poses. Inhalation naturally lengthens and expands the spine and belly. Exhalation, on the other hand, encourages the body to contract and retract. The inhalation occurs while moving into a pose, and the exhalation occurs while descending.