Respecting the Roots of Yoga

Updated: Feb 19

This practice that we love so did not start with us. It has a history.

Knowing the history will help us understand the practice.

Knowing the history will help us show respect for the practice.

Knowing the history will help us honor the creators of the practice.

As a history teacher AND a yoga teacher, you know this topic is my jam. I always knew it would be a big undertaking, because it's not just as simple as "In 2700 BCE yoga was created." There is a whole process to learning about history and cultures in general, and yoga's history is a very long and complicated one.

This will be the first of several blog posts teaching the history and meaning of yoga. This first post will be about setting a tone of respect for yoga, while also balancing the reality of our modern world.

Before we begin the process: I come to you with this information as a yoga practitioner, yoga & history teacher, and a lifelong learner. I am not an expert, I did not grow up immersed in yogic culture. I am passing along the knowledge I have acquired after six years of studying yoga. Thank you for learning alongside me!

Let’s dive in.


Respecting the History of Yoga

Yoga originated in India. Its presence is seen in the ancient scriptures of the religion Hinduism (1500's BCE), written in the language of Sanskrit. Buddhism was born from Hinduism (500's BCE), so yoga is also seen in Buddhist traditions. Yoga is also an entity of its own. The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali (200's CE) was the first text outlining yoga as we know it today.

Knowing this, we can respect that:

  • Yoga came from India.

  • The original language of yoga was Sanskrit.

  • Yoga originated in the East*, and not in the West.*

  • For some, yoga is a part of their religion/deep spiritual tradition.