Fast Wisdom with Bliss: The Story of Yoga

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Join Bliss on a mind-expanding adventure exploring the ancient history of yoga, a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices that originated in ancient India. Through love, joy and wisdom we can learn anything! That's Fast Wisdom with Bliss: The Story of Yoga!

Namaste! Welcome to Quick Wisdom with Bliss! My name is Bliss

Meow! And this is my cute little furball friend Joy

Spirituality is everywhere

In the air we breathe, in nature all around us, and even written into our very DNA

We are energy, and together as energy, we're all connected

We're all one

United as one, we are here on the stage of life to love and help each other live the best we can

Now, I know you've come today to learn about a very special topic, so let's put on our fun caps and get started on this sacred exploration! This is Quick Wisdom with Bliss! History of Yoga Joy and I hope you're ready to strike a pose for this latest edition of Quick Wisdom with Bliss! Today we're going to dial away all the stress you may be feeling and to help your mind and body become one

Are you ready? Joy? Joy? Where did you go? Whoa! That's quite an interesting pose! Let's get stretchin'! When it comes to exercise, you can help maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind quite like yoga, but where did this melding of mind, body and spirit come from? Get ready to learn all about the history of yoga! The art of yoga is comprised of a group of physical, spiritual and mental practices or disciplines that first originated in ancient India

As such, yoga has become one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions

Currently, there's a vast variety of yoga schools, practices in schools in Buddhism, Jainism and, of course, Hinduism

The term yoga in the Western world frequently indicates a modern form of Ahatha yoga, which is yoga as exercise, which consists mainly of various postures known as asanas

The origins of yoga are believed to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions, but that's just a speculation

Yoga is mentioned in an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns known as Rigveda, but it's more likely to have developed around the 5th and 6th centuries BCE in ancient India's ascetic and Sramana movements

A chronology of the earliest texts available describing yoga practices is anything but clear, very accredited to a series of Hindu sacred treaties written in Sanskrit known as the Upanishads

The yoga sutras of Patanjali date from the first half of the first millennium CE and went on to gain prominence in the West during the 20th century

Hatha yoga texts appeared sometime between the 9th and 11th century with origins in Tantra

What's that, Joy? How did yoga get here? It was yoga gurus from India who later introduced yoga to the West after the success of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th century and early 20th century with his conversion of yoga tradition, which excludes asanas

Outside of India, yoga has developed into a posture-based stress relief physical fitness and relaxation technique

However, yoga in Indian traditions is more than simply just physical exercise, it has a spiritual core and meditative core

The impact that postural yoga has had on physical and mental health has been a topic of systematic studies and evidence suggests that regular yoga practice can offer many benefits for low back pain and stress

On December 1st, 2016, yoga was listed by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, as an indefinable cultural heritage

In the spiritual sense, the word yoga is first seen in epic Sanskrit during the second half of the 1st millennium BCE

It has become associated with the philosophical system which are presented in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the chief aim of which is the uniting of the human spirit with the divine

The term Kriyayoga has a technical meaning in the Yoga Sutras

Choosing the practical aspects of the philosophy, for example, the union with the supreme expected in performance of the duties of everyday life

But according to Panini, who was an ancient Sanskrit philologist, grammarian and a revered scholar in ancient India, the term yoga can be established from either of two roots, Yujyayoga meaning to yoke or yuj, Samadhau meaning to concentrate

In the context of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the root Yuj Samadhau is deemed by traditional commentators as the correct etymology

In accordance with Panini, legendary Hindu author Vaisyasa, who wrote the first commentary on the Yoga Sutras, says that Yoga means Samadhi or concentration

Wow! Isn't the world magical? It's always telling us something if we take the time to listen

Now listen to this! Wanna know something interesting Joy? Even though Yoga has been practiced for years, there's no general consensus on Yoga's chronology or mention of any specific origin other than the fact that Yoga was developed in ancient India

Possibly places of origins include the Indus Valley civilization during the years 3300-1900 BCE and the pre-Vedic eastern states of India, the Vedic period which took place between the years 1500 and 500 BCE and the Sramana movement

According to British scholar Gavin Flood, some continuity might exist between the various traditions

This dichotomization is a bit simplistic, for continuities can without a doubt be found between renunciation and Vedic Brahmanism, while elements from non-Brahmanical Sramana traditions also had an important part in the formation of the renunciate ideal

Pre-philosophical speculations of Yoga began to appear in the texts of 500 and circa 200 BCE

Between 200 BCE and 500 CE, philosophical schools of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism were forming and a more coherent philosophical system of Yoga started to take shape

The Middle Ages witnessed the development of many satellite traditions of Yoga

Yoga was brought to the attention of an educated western public during the mid-19th century alongside other topics of Indian philosophy

Yoga may even have some pre-Vedic elements

Some believe that the practice of Yoga began in the Indus Valley civilization

Scholars have noted that the Pashupati seal which was discovered in an Indus Valley civilization site shows a figure in a position that looks like an asana that is used for meditation

Moolabandha Asana

This interpretation is thought to be speculative and uncertain by more recent analysis of Srinivasan and may be a case of projecting later practices into archaeological findings

Some researchers have favored a more linear theory that tries to interpret the origin and early development of Indian contemplative practices as a sequential growth from an Aryan Genesis

Just like traditional Hinduism considers the Vedas to be the ultimate source of all spiritual knowledge, the concentration, ascetic practices and bodily postures that are described in the Vedas may actually have been precursors to Yoga

According to Professor of Religious Studies at Cardiff University, Jeffrey Samuel, our best evidence to date suggests that Yogic practices developed in the same ascetic circles as the early Saramana movements such as Buddhists, Jainas and Ajivikas probably in around the 6th and 5th centuries BCE

Yoga concepts began to emerge in the texts of circa 500-200 BCE such as the early Buddhist texts, the Middle Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and Shantipalva of the Mahabharata

But it's only with Buddhism itself as presented in the Pali Canon that we can talk of a systematic and comprehensive or even integral school of yoga practice which is the very first and the oldest to have been preserved for us in its entirety

The timing and completion of these yoga-related early Buddhist texts remain, just like the ancient Hindu texts, unclear

The earliest Buddhist sources like the Majjhima Nikaya talk about meditation while the Angudra Nikaya describes Jahayins or mediators which look like early Hindu descriptions of Muni, asanas and meditating ascetics, but these meditation practices are not referred to as yoga in these texts

The earliest specific discussion of yoga in Buddhist literature as understood in modern contexts comes from Theravada and the later Buddhist Yogacara schools

One yoga system which predates the Buddhist school is Jain yoga

However, since Jain sources post-date the Buddhist ones, that makes it extremely hard to tell the difference between the nature of the early Jain school and the elements which were derived from other schools

Alexander Wine, a translator for the Clay Sanskrit Library, maintains that elemental meditation and formless meditation may have come from the Upanishadic traditions

The earliest known references to meditation can be found in one of the oldest Upanishads, Brihadranyaka Upanishad

The initial appearance of the word yoga, with the same meaning as the modern term, can be found in the Katha Upanishad which was probably written in between the 5th and 3rd century BCE

Back then, yoga was defined as the steady control of the senses that along with cessation of mental activity can lead one to a supreme state

Katha Upanishad puts together the monism of early Upanishads with the concepts of Samkhya and yoga

It describes various levels of existence according to their location to the innermost being Atman

Therefore, yoga is seen as the ascent of consciousness or the process of interiorization

This is the earliest literary work which accurately highlights the fundamentals of yoga

What do you think about that, Joy? You're so cute, Joy

I love you

Sorry, lost in cuteness

Let's continue

When looking through the hymns in Book 2 of the Svitashvatara Upanishad, which was yet another late 1st millennium BCE text, a procedure is outlined in which the body is held in upright posture, the breath is restrained and mind is meditatively focused, preferably inside a cave or a place that is simple, plain, of silence or gently flowing water with no noises and no harsh winds

Joy, what are you doing in that boat? Oh, I get it

You're trying to help me tell the story

What a good smart girl you are

Or maybe you're just getting my attention for a treat

Alexander the Great traveled to India during the 4th century BCE

In addition to his army, there brought Greek academics with him, who would later go on to write memoirs about people, geography and the customs they witnessed

One of Alexander's companions was an academic named Onesikritis who claimed those Indian yogins, also known as Mandan, practiced aloofness and different postures, standing or sitting or lying naked and motionless

Onesikritis goes on to write that he and his colleague Kalanis tried to meet them but were originally denied an audience

Onesikritis and Kalanis learn that the yogins consider the best doctoring a life as rid the spirit of not only pain but also pleasure, that man trains the body for toil in order that his opinions may be strengthened, that there is no shame in life on frugal fare and that the best place to inhabit is one with scantiest equipment or outfit

These principles are extremely significant to the spiritual side of yoga's history

These principles may even reflect the ancient roots of undisturbed calmness and mindfulness through balance, in later works of Hindu Patanjali and Buddhist Buddha Gosa respectively

A description of an early form of yoga known as Nirodha yoga which means the yoga of cessation is contained within the Moksha Dharma section of the 12th chapter also known as the Shantiparva of the Mahabharata from the 3rd century BCE

Nirodha yoga underscores progressive withdrawal from the contents of empirical consciousness such as sensations, thoughts, until purusha or self becomes realized

Terms like vichara meaning subtle reflection, vivika meaning discrimination and others which are akin to Patanjali's terminology are mentioned but not described

There is no uniform goal of yoga mentioned in the Mahabharata

Separation of self from matter, perceiving Brahman which means the ultimate reality underlying all phenomena everywhere and entering into Brahman are all believed to be the goals of yoga

Samkhya, one of the six astika schools of Hindu philosophy and yoga are condensed together and there are even some verses which describe them as being identical

Moksha Dharma, a term in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism for various forms of emancipation, enlightenment, liberation and release also tells of an early practice of elemental meditation

Mahabharata defines the purpose of yoga as the experience of uniting the individual Atman with the universal Brahman that pervades all things

The Bhagavad Gita which means the song of the Lord is part of the Mahabharata and also home to some truly extensive teachings on yoga

In addition to an entire chapter that is dedicated to traditional yoga practice including meditation, it introduces three prominent types of yoga Karma yoga, the joy of action Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion Janana yoga, the yoga of knowledge The Gita consists of eighteen chapters and seven hundred shlokas which means verses

Each chapter is named as a different yoga thereby delineating eighteen different yogas

Many scholars divide the Gita into three sections with the first six chapters with two hundred and eighty shlokas dealing with Karma yoga, the middle six containing two hundred and nine shlokas with Bhakti yoga and the last six chapters with two hundred shlokas as Janana yoga

However, this is rough as elements of Karma, Bhakti and Janana are found in all of the chapters

Joy, are you ready to learn more? That's what I thought

Here we go

Blessings of knowledge

Let these facts heal us with understanding

Yoga is talked about in the ancient foundational sutras of Hindu philosophy

The Vaisesika Sutra of the Vaisesika school of Hinduism, was dated to have been written sometime between 6th and 2nd century BCE, discusses yoga

According to endologist and specialist on early Buddhism, Johannes Bronkhorst, Vaisesika Sutra details yoga as a state where the mind resides only in the soul and therefore not in the senses

This is the equivalent to Pratyahara or the withdrawal of the senses and the ancient sutra maintains that this leads to an absence of Sukha meaning happiness and Dukha meaning suffering, then speaks of other yogic meditation steps to follow in the journey on the way to the state of spiritual liberation

In between the Mauryan and Gupta eras taking place from circa 200 BCE through 500 CE, the Indic traditions of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism were taking shape and more coherent systems of yoga began to emerge

This period saw a lot of new texts from these traditions which were discussing and systematically compiling yoga practices and methods

Some of the key words of this era include the Yoga Yajnavalya, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Visuddha Maga and the Yoga Karabhoomi Sastra

One of the most famous early assertions of Brahmanical Yoga thought is the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and some scholars now believe that it included both a commentary and the Yoga Sutras

As the name indicates, the metaphysical basis for this text is the Indian philosophy termed Samkhya

This atheistic school is mentioned in Kautilya's Arthashastra as one of the three categories of Anviksikis meaning philosophies alongside yoga and Karavaka, the two schools have differences too

Yoga accepts the conception of a personal god while Samkhya develops as a rationalist, non-theistic, atheistic system of Hindu philosophy

At times Patanjali's system is referred to as Seshvara Samkhya in contrast to Kapila's Nirivara Samkhya

The parallels between Yoga and Samkhya are so close that German born philologist and orientalist Max Müller declared that the two philosophies were in popular parlance distinguished from each other as Samkhya with and Samkhya without a lord

The Yoga Sutras are shaped by the Sramana traditions of Jainism and Buddhism and they may even represent a greater Brahmanical attempt to adopt Yoga from the Sramana traditions

There are many parallels in the concepts in ancient Samkhya, Yoga and Abhidharma Buddhist schools of thought, particularly from 2nd century BCE to 1st century AD

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is a mixture of the three traditions

From Samkhya the Yoga Sutras borrowed the Reflective Discernment or Adhyavasaya of Prakthri and Parusam meaning dualism, it's a metaphysical form of rationalism, as well as its three epistemic methods of acquiring reliable knowledge

From Abhidharma Buddhism's idea of Niradhasamadhi, Yoga Sutras adopt the pursuit of a changed state of awareness, but unlike Buddhism's concept of no soul nor self, Yoga is realist and physicalist like Samkhya in believing that each individual has a self and soul

The third concept, Yoga Sutras mixed into its philosophy is the ancient ascetic traditions of introspection and meditation, as well as the Yoga beliefs from Middle Upanishads like Svatashvatara, Katha and Maitri

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are widely believed to be the first compilation of the formal Yoga philosophy

The verses of the Yoga Sutras are concise

Later, many Indian scholars examined them and published their commentaries like the Vyasa, Bahasya

Patanjali gives a meaning to the word Yoga in his second sutra

This terse definition hinges on the meaning of three Sanskrit terms



Taimini translates it as Yoga is the inhibition or the niruddha of the modifications or virti of the mind or siddha

Swami Vivekananda translates the Yoga Sutra as Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff from taking various forms

American Indologist Edwin Bryant says that to Patanjali, Yoga essentially consists of meditative practices culminating in attaining a state of consciousness free from all modes of active or discursive thought and of eventually attaining a state where consciousness is unaware of any object, external to itself, that is, is only aware of its own nature and consciousness, unmixed with any other object

According to Yoga Master, a silent monk and a commentator of Indian scriptural tradition of Dharma and Moksha, Baba Haridas, the meaning of Yoga is understood as the practice of mental control or niruddha, then its goal is the unqualified state of niruddha, meaning the perfection of that process

In that context, Yoga implies duality as in the bringing together of two principles or things

The result of Yoga is the non-dual state and as the union of the lower self and higher self, the non-dual state is characterized by the absence of individuality

It can be described as eternal peace, pure love, self-realization or liberation

That is quick wisdom if you ask me

What do you think Joy? Well said Joy, I couldn't agree with you more

Now, are you ready to get deeper into this? Okay then

Vedanta and Yoga are the two largest surviving schools of Hindu traditions

They share a lot of the same thematic principles, concepts and belief in self-soul but split in degree style and some of their methods

Yoga school accepts three means to gain reliable knowledge while Advaita Vedanta accepts six ways

Yoga school teaches that in the state of Moksha, each individual discovers the blissful, liberating sense of himself or herself as an independent identity

In contrast, Advaita Vedanta maintains that in the state of Moksha, each individual discovers the blissful, liberating sense of himself or herself as part of oneness with everything, everyone and the universal self

They both hold that free conscious is aloof yet transcendent, liberated and self-aware

Furthermore, Advaita Vedanta school urges the implementation of Patanjali's Yoga practices and the reading of Upanishads for those seeking ultimate freedom, the supreme good and Jeevan Mukti

The Yoga Yajnavalkya is a classical dissertation on Yoga that has been accredited to the Vedic sage Yajnavalkya

It takes the shape of a dialogue between Yajnavalkya and the renowned philosopher Gargi

The text contains 12 chapters and its beginnings have been traced back to the period and time between the 2nd century BCE and 4th century CE

Several Yoga texts such as the Yoga Kundalini, the Hatha Yoga, Pradipika and the Yoga Tattva Upanishads have adopted verses from or make lots of references to the Yoga Yajnavalkya

The Yoga Yajnavalkya describes 8 Yoga asanas, Padma, Swastika, Gomukha, Veera, Badra, Simha, Mayura and Mukta along with many different breathing exercises for meditation and body cleansing

The Buddhist tradition of Abhidharma has created various dissertations that have gone on to further expand upon teachings of the Buddhist phenomenological theory and yogic techniques

These have had a distinct influence on Buddhist traditions such as the Theravada and the Mahayana

During the Gupta period taking place from the 4th to the 5th centuries, a movement of Northern Mahayana Buddhism that was eventually designated Yogakara started to be arranged with the writings of the Buddhist scholars Vasubandhu and Asanga

Yogakara Buddhism got the name as it gave a yoga, a framework for taking part in the practices that can lead an individual along the path of the Bodhisattva towards awakening and full Buddhahood

Its doctrines can be found in the comprehensive and encyclopedic work

The treatise on the foundation for yoga practitioners, which was translated into Chinese and Tibetan and thereby exerted a meaningful influence on the Tibetan and East Asian Buddhist traditions

Just like the Northern tradition, the South India and Sri Lankan based Theravada schools has also developed manuals for meditative and yogic training, mainly the Vimuttamaga and the Visuddhimagga

According to the Dhatvarata Sutra, 2nd century CE Jain Text, Yoga is the sum of all the activities of mind, speech and body

According to Uma Svati, an early 1st millennium Indian scholar, Yoga is the cause of Asrava or karmic influx as well as one of the essentials in the path to liberation

In his Niamasara Akarya Kundakunda details yoga bhakti meaning devotion to the path of liberation as the highest form of devotion

Akarya Himachandra and Akarya Haribhadra speak of 12 minor vows of lady as well as the 5 major vows of ascetics under yoga

This has led certain Indologists like Professor Robert J

Zindenbos to call Jainism a system of yogic thinking that transformed into a full-fledged religion

The five, the constraints of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali have a resemblance to the five major vows of Jainism indicating a history of strong cross-fertilization between these two traditions

The Bhakti movement was a development in medieval Hinduism that advocated the concept of a person or god or supreme personality of godhead

The movement was started by the Alvars of South India in the 6th to 9th centuries and it began gaining influence throughout India by the 12th to the 15th centuries

Shaiva and Vaishnava Bhakti traditions brought together aspects of the Yoga Sutras such as devotion to their practical meditative exercises

Bhagavata Purana explains the practice of a form of yoga called Viraha or separation bhakti

Viraha bhakti emphasizes one-pointed concentration on Krishna

Now let's learn about another kind of yoga

Tantra is a variety of obscure traditions that began to arise in India no later than the 5th century CE

Tantric yoga develops complex visualizations which included meditation on the body as a microcosm of the cosmos

It includes the use of breath control known as pranayama, mantras, and the manipulation of the subtle body including its chakras and nadis

These teachings on chakras and kundalini would become very important to later kinds of Indian yoga

During its long history, some ideas of Tantra school influenced the Bon, Hindu, Jain and Buddhist traditions

Elements of Tantric yoga rituals were adopted by and influenced state functions in medieval Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in East and Southeast Asia

By the turn of the first millennium, Hatha yoga emerged from Tantra

Vajrayana is also known as Tantric Buddhism and Tatrayana

Its texts were compiled beginning with the 7th century and Tibetan translations which were completed in 8th century CE

These Tantra yoga texts were the main source of Buddhist knowledge that was imported into Tibet

They were later translated into Chinese and other Asian languages, helping spread ideas of Tantric Buddhism

The Buddhist texts Havajara Tantra and Karyagiti introduced hierarchies of chakras

Yoga is a significant practice in Tantric Buddhism

The Tantra yoga practices include breathing exercises and dasanas

The Nyingma traditions practice Yantra yoga, a discipline that includes breath work, meditative contemplation and other exercises

In the Nyingma tradition, the path of meditation practice is divided into further stages, such as Upayoga, Kriyayoga, Mahayoga, Yogayana, Anuyoga and Atiyoga

The Sarma traditions also include Kriya, Upa and Yoga, with the Anutra yoga class taking the place of Atiyoga and Mahayoga

These fun facts fill my heart with happiness

I love learning, don't you? I hope these spiritual concepts are becoming clear

Let's keep learning! Sikhism yogic groups had become prominent in Punjab in the 15th and 16th century when Sikhism was in its early stages

Compositions of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, described many conversations he had with Jogis, a Hindu community that practiced yoga

Guru Nanak rejected the rites, austerities and rituals that were connected with Hatha yoga

He propounded the path of Sahaja yoga or Nama yoga instead

The Guru Granth Sahib states, Listen, Oh, Yogi Nanak tells nothing but the truth

You must discipline your mind

The devotee must meditate on the world divine

It is his grace which brings about the union

He understands

He also sees

Good deeds have one merge into divination

The first Hindu teacher to actively advocate and spread aspects of yoga, not including asanas, to a Western audience, Swami Vivekananda, toured Europe and the United States during the 1890s

The reception which Swami Vivekananda was treated to built on the active interest of intellectuals, in particular the New England Transcendentalists, which included notable people like Rolf Waldo Emerson, who drew on German Romanticism and philosophers and scholars like G



Hegel, the brothers August Wilhelm Schlegel and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Max Müller and others who had interests in things Indian

Theosophists, including Madame Blavatsky, also had a major influence on the Western public's view of yoga

Limited views current at the end of the 19th century provided a basis for the reception of Vedanta and of yoga with its theory and practice of correspondence between the physical and the spiritual

The reception of yoga and Vedanta thus combined with each other and with the currents of religious and philosophical reform and transformation throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries

Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher and professor Mircea Eliade brought with him a new element into the reception of yoga with the strong emphasis on tantric yoga in his seminal book Yoga Immortality and Freedom

With the introduction of the tantra traditions and philosophy of yoga, the conception of the transcendent to be attained by yogic practice shifted from experiencing the transcendent in the mind to the body itself

Yoga as an exercise is a physical activity that's mainly comprised of asanas, often connecting by flowing sequences called vinyasas, sometimes accompanied by the breathing exercises of pranayama and usually ending with a period of relaxation or meditation

It is frequently known simply as yoga

Despite the existence of multiple older traditions of yoga within Hinduism where asanas played little or no part, some dating back to the yoga sutras and despite the fact that in no tradition was the practice of asanas central

Yoga as exercise was created in what had been referred to as the modern yoga renaissance by the blending of western styles of gymnastics with postures from hatha yoga in India in the 20th century pioneered by Sri Yogendra and Swami Kuvalayananda

Before the year 1900 there were few standing poses in hatha yoga

The flowing sequences of salute to the sun, surya, namaskar were pioneered by the Raja of Amdh, Bhawan Rao, Srinivas Rao, Panth Pradhindi during the 20s

Many standing poses currently used in gymnastics are incorporated into yoga by Indian yoga teacher, Ayurvedic healer and scholar Tirumalai Krishnamacharya in Mysore from the 30s up to the 50s

Several of his students went on to found influential schools of yoga

Patabhijos created Ashtanga vinyasa yoga which in turn led to power yoga

BKS Iyengar created Iyengar yoga and systemized the canon of asanas in his 1966 book, Light on Yoga

Indra Devi taught yoga to many film stars in Hollywood and Krishnamacharya's son TKV Desi Kachar founded the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandalam in Chennai

Other major schools founded in the 20th century included Bikram Chowdhury's Vikram Yoga and Swami Sivnanda of Rishikesh's Sivananda Vendanta School of Yoga

Modern yoga spread across America and Europe and then the rest of the world

The number of asanas employed in yoga as exercise has increased rapidly from a nominal 84 in 1830 as illustrated in Yoga Pradipika to some 200 in Light on Yoga and over 900 performed by Dharmamitra by 1984

At the same time, the goals of Hatha Yoga namely spiritual liberation through the raising of Kundalini energy were largely replaced by the goals of fitness and relaxation while many of Hatha Yoga's components like the purifications, mudras which are seals or gestures including the bandhas, locks to restrain the prana or vial principle and pranayama were much reduced or removed entirely

The term Hatha Yoga is also in use with a different meaning, a gentle unbranded yoga practice independent of the major schools, sometimes mainly for women

Yoga has turned into a worldwide multi-billion dollar business involving classes, certification of teachers, clothing, books, videos, equipment and holidays

The ancient cross-legged sitting asanas like lotus pose known as padmasana and siddhasana are widely recognized symbols of yoga

Yoga is like super popular, it became so popular in the west that the United Nations General Assembly established June 21st as International Day of Yoga and it has been celebrated annually in India and around the world since 2015

Yoga is practiced with a variety of methods by all Indian religions

In Hinduism, practices include Janana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Laya Yoga and Hatha Yoga

What is often referred to as Classical Yoga, Astanga meaning Yoga of 8 limbs or Raja Yoga is mainly the type of yoga outlined in the highly influential Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The origins of the Classical Yoga traditions are unclear though early discussions of the terms appear in the Upanishads

The name Raja Yoga meaning Yoga of Kings originally indicated that the ultimate goal of Yoga Samadhi but was popularized by Vivekananda as a common name for Astanga Yoga, the 8 limbs to be practiced to attain samadhi as described in the Yoga Sutras

Yoga is also considered as one of the orthodox philosophical schools of Hinduism, those which accept the Vedas as source of knowledge

Classical Yoga incorporates metaphysics, epistemology, systematic exercises, ethical practices and self-development techniques for body, mind and spirit

Its epistemology and metaphysics is similar to that of the Sankhya school

The metaphysics of Classical Yoga like Sankhya is mainly dualistic, positing that there are two separate realities

These are Prakriti meaning nature which is the eternal and active unconsciousness source of the material world and is composed of three gunas and the Purusas meaning persons, the plural consciousnesses which are the intelligent principles of the world and are multiple, inactive and eternal witnesses

Wow, I can feel my spirit evolving as we learn all this new and important information and there is more

Each person has an individual Purusa which is their true self, the witness and the enjoyer and that which is liberated

This metaphysical system maintains that Purusas undergo cycles of reincarnation through its participation in and identification of Prakriti

Liberation, the goal of this system, results from the isolation of Purusa from Prakriti and is achieved through a meditation which detaches oneself from the different forms of Prakriti

This is done by silence once thought waves and relaxing in a state of pure awareness of Purusa

Unlike the Sankhya school of Hinduism that follows a non-theistic atheistic rationalist approach, the Yoga school of Hinduism believes in the concept of a personal yet essentially inactive deity or personal god

Some Christians use Yoga and other aspects of Eastern spirituality with their prayers and meditation

This has been accredited to a deep need to experience God in a far more complete way

In the year 2013 Monsignor Raffaello Martinelli was servicing his congregation for the doctrine of the faith

Martinelli worked for over 23 years alongside Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who would go on to become Pope Benedict XVI

According to Martinelli, a Christian can learn from other religious traditions like Yoga, Zen, mantra and controlled respiration

He went on to quote, aspects of Christian meditations

Just as the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions, these ways should not be rejected because they are not Christian

Instead, an individual can borrow from them what they find to be useful as long as the logic and requirements of the Christian conception of prayer aren't never changed

It is within the context of all this that these bits and pieces should be gathered and expressed anew

A while back, the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian organizations expressed concerns and even respectful disapproval of some of the Eastern and New Age practices that include Yoga and meditation

In the years of 1989 and 2003, the Vatican published a pair of documents, A Christian Reflection on the New Age and Aspects of Christian Meditation

These documentations were mostly critical of New Age and Eastern practices

The 2003 paper was issued as a 90-page handbook that detailed the Vatican's position

The Vatican advised that too much concentration on the physical aspects of mediation can degenerate into a cult of the body and that making bodily states equal with mysticism could also lead to psychic disturbance and at times to moral deviations

Things like that have been compared to the early days of Christianity in which the Church was against the Gnostics' belief that salvation did not come through faith but instead it would arrive as a result of some other inner mystical inner knowledge

The document also states, one can see if and how prayer might be enriched by meditation methods developed in other religions and cultures, but reveres the idea that there must be some fit between the nature of prayer and Christian beliefs about ultimate reality

Several fundamentalist Christian organizations believe that Yoga isn't compatible with their religious background and consider it to be a part of the New Age movement that is completely inconsistent with Christianity as a whole

Another opinion maintains that Christian meditation can open the door to religious pluralism

This belief is maintained by an inter-denominational association of Christians who practice it

The ritual simultaneously operates as an anchor that maintains, enhances and promotes denominational activity and assail that allows institutional boundaries to be crossed

During the early 11th century, a Persian scholar named Al-Buruni visited India and lived with the Hindus for 16 years

With their aid, he was able to translate several important Sanskrit works into both Persian and Arabic languages

One of these works was Patanjali's Yoga Sothras

Al-Buruni's translations maintained a lot of the core themes of Patanjali's Yoga philosophy, but specific Sothras and analytical commentaries were restated to make them more consistent with Islamic monotheistic theology

Al-Buruni's version of Yoga Sothras reached the Arabian Peninsula and Persia around the year 1050 AD

As things progressed well into the 16th century, the Hatha Yoga text, known as Amritukunda, was then translated into Arabic and then into Persian

However, Yoga wasn't accepted by mainstream Shia and Sunni Islam

Minority Islamic sects like the Mystic Sufi movement, especially in South Asia, adopted India yoga practices that included postures and breath control

A Shatari Sufi named Mohammed Gaut alongside one of the translators of Yoga text in 16th century, saw a lot of debate over his interest in yoga and as a result was punished for his Sufi beliefs

In the year 2008, Malaysia's top Islamic body, Pasta Fatwa, that forbade Muslims from performing yoga

They said that it had elements of Hinduism and that practicing it was blasphemy

Some Muslims in Malaysia that had been doing yoga for years found this decision to be insulting

A women's rights group in Malaysia known as the Sisters in Islam also voiced their disappointment and stated yoga was nothing more than a form of exercise

This fatwa is legally enforceable

However, Malaysia's prime minister clarified that yoga as physical exercise is permissible, but the chanting of religious mantras is prohibited

In 2009, the Council of Ulemas, an Islamic body in Indonesia, passed a fatwa banning yoga on the grounds that it contains Hindu elements

These fatwas have in turn been criticized by Darul Ulum Dioband, a Dioband Islamic seminary in India

Similar fatwas banning yoga for its link to Hinduism were issued by the Grand Mufti Ali Goma in Egypt in 2004 and by Islamic clerics in Singapore earlier

In Iran, as of May 2014, according to its yoga association, there were approximately 200 yoga centers in the country, a quarter of them in the capital Tehran, where groups can often be seen practicing in parks

This has been met by opposition among conservatives

In May 2009, Turkey's head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, Ali Barda Koglu, discounted personal development techniques such as reiki and yoga as commercial ventures that could lead to extremism

His comments were made in the context of reiki and yoga possibly being a form of prosolation at the expense of Islam

Yoga continues to inspire the masses and enlighten the mind

Its history is as rich and mysterious as the practices it encourages

Whether it be for esoteric enlightenment or simply just a reminder to breathe, yoga can heal us mind, body and soul

That's it for this edition of Quick Wisdom with Bliss

Now that's Quick Wisdom with Bliss and that wraps up our learning for today's fascinating subject

I hope your spirit has grown as much as mine has

Please come see me anytime to discuss more spiritual ideas and heart-fulfilling concepts

What was that, Joy? You don't want them to leave? Aw, neither do I

Well, they can stay if they want to

Now, let's meditate on our next adventure



















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