By , on August 15th, 2022 Healthy Lifestyle


The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to unite’. Literally, “Yoga” means “Union” – with “The Ultimate”.

Today the practice of Yoga has become so ubiquitous world-wide, and many see Yoga as a system of health and fitness regimen. Even so, a good number of folks, especially in the West, are skeptical about this “new-age” hype and wonder if Yoga is some strange voodoo practice from the far-east. Some folks have even asked me if Yoga is some superstitious Indian practice being marketed to the gullible based on illusionary health and wellness claims.

In this article, I’ll try to provide some basic clarification regarding the fundamentals of the science and practice of Yoga. When did we humans start practicing Yoga? Where did this practice originate? Is there any science behind Yoga practices? These are some of the questions we will address in this article.


The origin of Yoga goes back thousands of years – even before the first religions or belief systems were conceived.
In the yogic lore, Shiva is seen as the first yogi or AdiYogi, and as the first Guru or AdiGuru. It is AdiYogi who initially sowed the seeds of Yoga in the human mind.

Over 15,000 years ago, on the banks of lake Kantisarovar in the Himalayas, AdiYogi transmitted his profound knowledge of yogic science to the Saptarishis or “seven sages”. These sages carried this powerful scientific system of practice to various parts of the world including Asia, South America, Middle East and Africa.

Even so, it was primarily in India that the yogic science and lifestyle found its fullest expression. Therefore, the science and system of Yoga are widely considered as an “immortal cultural outcome” of the Indus-Saraswati Valley, or the antient Indian civilization.

Yogic practices originated and evolved upon an extremely powerful, yet subtle, scientific foundation that stemmed from a profound understanding of the human system as well as life in total.


Years after AdiYogi introduced Yoga to the world, Patanjali, the great Indian sage and scientist, categorized and codified the principles and practices of Yoga in his treatise “Yoga Sutra”.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the oldest written record of Yoga, is a timeless treasure-trove of guidelines for a meaningful and purposeful life. Even the framework for the various forms of modern-day Yoga practices is derived from the Yoga Sutra.

Patanjali defines Yoga as having eight components or eight limbs, referred to as “ashtanga” in Sanskrit. The eight limbs are:

  1. Yama (i.e. abstinences)
  2. Niyama (i.e. observances)
  3. Asana (i.e. yoga postures or Yogasanas)
  4. Pranayama (i.e. breath control)
  5. Pratyahara (i.e. withdrawal of the senses)
  6. Dhaarana (i.e. concentration)
  7. Dhyana (i.e. meditation)
  8. Samadhi (i.e. absorption)

Initially, the practice of Yoga was limited to India and the far East. But during the last two decades or so, Yoga practices have gained global popularity.

The global popularity status of Yoga didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it has been a gradual transformation of “East meets West”.

One of the earliest recorded significant events crucial to disseminating the science of Yoga to the western world was in 1893. That was when the great Indian Yogi, Swami Vivekananda, graced the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago and sowed the seeds for a promising global spirituality.

Then in 1920, another great Indian Yogi, Yogananda Paramahamsa, who is widely regarded as the “father of Yoga in the West”, established the Los Angeles based Self-Realization Fellowship. Through this Yogananda disseminated simple, yet powerful Yoga practices to millions of Americans.

Over the years, many more Yogis, Great Masters and Yoga teachers have dedicated their lives to disseminate the tools of Yoga to improve the lives of millions across the globe.

Fast-forward to 2014…..
Recognizing the universal appeal of Yoga, on 11th December 2014, by resolution 69/131, the United Nations proclaimed June 21st as the International Day of Yoga.


The reason that people take up Yoga practices vary widely.

Modern scientific studies have shown that certain Yoga practices can cause beneficial changes to brain activity, body chemistry and physiology. So some see Yoga practices as a health and fitness exercise system. Some others look at Yoga as a type of gymnastics-like exercise practice where one gains mastery to twist and turn the body into all sorts of mind-boggling postures. However, all these perspectives are a gross underestimation of the essence and power of Yogic science.

Sadhguru says that Yoga is a science to determine the nature of who you are and what you want to be.
Yogic scriptures indicate that practicing Yoga can lead to the union of individual consciousness with the Universal Consciousness. Nirvana, Moksha, Kaivala, Mukthi and Self-Realization are some of the terms used to refer to this experience of the state of oneness of existence. A person who experiences or attains such a state is said to be in Yoga and is called a Yogi.

Although there is ample scientific evidence that the practice of Yoga results in physical and mental well-being, Yogis say that such wellness outcomes are only natural consequences that a Yoga practitioner experiences along the way. The goal of all Yogic practices is Self-Realization!

The subtle science of Yoga is based on a deep understanding of the human system and all aspects of Life. It has evolved and matured over thousands of years, and it can empower humans to blossom into our full potential.

So, Yoga practices are powerful scientific tools that have the potential to upgrade and transform who we are!


Sadhguru: What is Yoga? Part 1

Sadhguru: What is Yoga? Part 2

Isha Kriya: A Free Guided Meditation

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