History of Yoga: What You Need to Know

how to practice yoga

By now we have all heard about the great benefits of yoga. But did you know Ayurveda and yoga are called sister sciences both born in India? The western world has found a multitude of ways to slice and dice the yogic practice into whatever we want. However, have you ever stopped and wondered where it actually came from? Maybe not, but knowing where it came from and why it is used in the yogic culture is important. It is important to know the connection of Ayurveda and Yoga. To understand that, we know that just the practice of yoga does not mean you are living a yogic lifestyle.

A complete yogic lifestyle include the principles learned and applied through the 8 fold raja yoga path. Along with this the Ayurvedic practices make a complete yogic lifestyle. Click the link to learn more about Ayurveda. Or continue to read below about the practice of one of the paths of an Ayurvedic-Yogic lifestyle – yoga.

We have an opportunity to learn the true purpose of a yogic practice, and mindfully incorporate it into our daily routine. And when we mindfully do anything, we expand the benefits of that practice.

What is the History of Yoga?

Yoga is a practice that was born over 5000 years ago along the Indus Valley in India. This was at the same time that Ayurveda was born. Both practices came together to teach people how to live. While yogic practices are focused on the gaining mastery over the mind through posture work or asanas, Ayurveda is focused on the healthy living side. There are 8 limbs of yoga with body posture being just 1 of those 8. So what happened to the other 7 limbs? Well, true yogis strive to practice all 8 limbs and not just the 1 limb of yoga.

If you want to learn more about yoga in its true form, pick up the oldest texts in the world to-date and you can learn from the OGs. The most prescribed yogic text where yoga in its truest form originated from is the Rig Veda. Some of these versions are in English but have been lost in translation a little. They are however very rich in knowledge about the yogic practic as well as Ayurveda and other life lessons.

What is Yoga?

So, what is it anyway? Yoga meaning “union” is not simply a method to twist and hold you body in positions just to see how strong you are. No! It is a method that is and was used by yogis and sages of the Indus Valley to allow for prana or breath to flow through the body. The yogis believe that there is an energy body within and around us. And every breath we take in, is the flow of prana or energy that is entering our body. And for you to be “energized” throughout your body, energy needs to move in and out of every part of your body.


Yogic poses or asanas are a method of putting your body in certain postures for certain time periods, to allow prana to easily flow through. The basic goal of yoga is to allow your body to receive the pranic distribution. This is needed so you don’t have any stagnation of energy causing you to get blocked in both mind and body. This is very similar to those who feel lethargic but are super pumped after they choose to go for a run. The pranic energy moving through your energy body is similar to the blood that is pumping through your veins after a run. However, that is not the only benefit or goal of yoga.

Yogic practices are extremely helpful in gaining mastery over your body and mind. It is also important in balancing out your doshas. But, this is not the only practice that is needed to balance your doshas; as mentioned above, it is just one limb of it. There are various other changes that are needed to balance your doshas, and those fall into the Ayurvedic bucket. What are doshas you ask? You can read about that here.

Is Yoga Good for Everyone?

Yes and no. The question isn’t really whether its good or not, it is “which” type is good. According to Ayurveda, we all have a certain blueprint or doshic constitution that we were born with. We are born with it and we die with it. In the time between, the doshic constitution can go out of balance. When this happens, disease and other ailments starting overtaking our body and mind.

Yogic practices are recommended to bring your body and mind back into balance. However, for a person with a pitta constitution (someone that is hot and angry in both mind and body), power yoga is definitely the wrong yoga to practice. By practicing power yoga, the person is creating a scenario where they are agitating and heating up the body even more.

Likewise, for a person of vata nature (cool and etheric), a grounding yoga is best. And so who can practice power yoga then? Someone of a primarily kapha nature.

Since these terms and associations will not mean much to you, I recommend you seeing a Ayurvedic Counselor to get an idea of what type of yoga is best for you. That way you are not unconsciously aggravating a condition in your body by practicing any and every kind out there. Feel free to drop me a note below and I can connect you with an Ayurvedic Counselor today.

Yoga for Flexibility & Strength

Having said all that, if you want to practice yoga, definitely do it. Be mindful about why youre doing it and make sure you are doing the right yogic practice for your body and mind. And while you are working on your body, your mind is expanding and opening up too. So it’s a win-win if you know what yoga is right for you.

In Conclusion

Yoga is for everyone. Yoga heals and builds the mind-body connection. We all need to treat not only our bodies but minds better too, and yoga is one of the safest and easiest ways to get started on that journey. Here are 5 of the best Yoga teachers I’ve found online that can help you get started on your journey for the comfort of your living room.

What yoga practice do you follow?

Featured image courtesy of unsplash.com

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