Origin of Yoga

The popularization of yoga in the West by yoga schools influenced by the Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali (2nd century BC), have almost led to the origins yoga of yoga being linked with Patanjali in the Western mind.

But there are evidences against it.

Mohenjodaro seals
In fact, the earliest illustration we have of yoga is from the Mohenjo-daro seals. Mohenjo-Daro is the remains of an ancient city located in Pakistan, part of the Indus Valley civilization which yoga yoga existed along the Indus river and Ghaggar-Hakra river in north-west India and what is now Pakistan. Mohenjo-Daro’s parent city was Harrapa in India. These civilizations have been dated from 3300 BC to 1300 BC. The Mohenjo-daro seals yoga show a figure standing on its head, and another sitting cross yoga legged.

Vedic Shastra
Some see yoga’s origins as being from the Vedic shastras, or vedic religious texts, which are the foundation of Indian Hinduism. The Vedic texts were created from 2500 BC, and the Rigveda is believed to have been completed by 1500 BC yoga. The Rigveda is one of several principle early vedic texts. A lot of these texts were concerned with sacrificial rituals. There are sacrificial prayers, incantations, and elements related to magic, to name a few aspects of the subject matter. These are now viewed symbolically, or philosophically, although they were presumably intended more literally at the time. But the word “yoga” was discussed in the RigVeda. In it, there is mention of ‘yoking’ our mind and insight to the ‘Sun Of Truth’ (David yoga Frawley, a Vedic scholar).

Bhagavad Gita
Yoga is also discussed in the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna describes 4 types of yoga: * selfless action - in following one’s soul path, one’s dharma, first and foremost, and without thinking of the outcome, the end result, or being motivated by self gain (Karma Yoga) * self transcending knowledge (Jnana yoga) * psycho-physical meditation (Raja yoga) * devotion - loving service to the Divine Essence (Bhakti yoga) (Source - Wikipedia) The Bhagavad Gita is believed to have been written between the 5th and 2nd century BC.

So the Yoga is as old as Hinduism.


  1. I do not think yoga is a recent invention as you have already said it is as old as Hinduims. I do not think the aim of yoga is the physical health of human as the vedas yogis clearly say they are actually intented for religious purpose that is to be one with Brahman. So one who does not believe in monistic philosophy can practice yoga

  2. There are as many "Worlds" as there are "Minds" or "Perceptions". Same goes for "Knowledge". Your "Knowledge" about the Origin of Yoga is probably all important to you, but of what use it really is to anybody (including yourself).

    Are you the sole representative of the "Western Mind" which associated the origin of yoga to Patanjali muni. Patanjali himself never mentions that he is the inventor/discoveror of Yoga / Yoga Aasana. That he has put together in "Writing" what was already known is probably the correct understanding (and this is again my view).

    I know I've wasted my time in writing this post. But sometimes I'm unable to resist.....the sort of non-sense that people do on internet.

    As someone said, writing a blog is like releasing your body fluid........ all it does is relieve the reliever of toxins!!!

  3. What is your point Neeraj

    You are repeating what I said in the article as though you are saying it.

  4. well,it hatha yoga that is disputed or controversial.the physical asanas.i dont think anyone has issues with dhyana yoga,karma yoga etc

  5. @Dsylexic
    But Yoga is just not Physical , it is Mental and Spiritual as well.

    The bone of contention is the Philosophy the Yoga training centers teach along with Yoga.

  6. Moda Sattva,

    I think @Dyslexic is trying to say that the argument you raise is correct but the assimilation of knowledge into a single document is done by Patanjali. The philosophical aspect is already defined by the religion/Hinduism but the physical aspect is an evolving process that is refined by Patanjali. The Westerners are usually focused (and obsessed) with the fineness of the physical part of the text (that too partially - only the asanas and not even pranayama). The physical part acts as an essential stepping stone to practice of mental/spiritual/philosophical part.

    1. Main Problem is Yoga is considered as Physical exercise by many mainly in western world. But that is true. It is three pronged - Body, Mind and Soul. So they get thought some Hinduism also. Which they find offensive.

      But if you take it just as physical exercises, then there is no benefit, Infact they can cause harm too.

      Well the Hatha Yoga was developed for western world, they are more physical than any other school of yoga, that is why it is controversial.

  7. Yoga was the first step to become Hindu... to control your mind and your senses and not be a slave to your desires or excess emotions or Rasas (mostly anger and Lust) .In the gurukul, it was first taught so that children could gain control over mind and body . To concentrate and listen to Acharyas.The most important part of Hindu philosophy is to gain GOD realization , and for that one must still one's mind.It cannot be wandering. That is practiced first through control over your body. Its even written in Bhagvat Gita. Healthy body is a Healthy Mind! Only when BODY and MIND is at peace can you delve further into Spirituality.
    Nothing in Hinduism is given credit to its makers because they all were KARMA YOGIS ..doing endless selfless service to humanity without expectation or credit. As credit will emphasize on ones AHM or EGO.. with which you identify the BODY. But you are not just this BODY, hence selfless work was done without taking credit (something that JC BOSE followed by not patenting WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY and said to have cited the same reason). Hence, Patanjali just complied the YOGIC traditions handed down over the years. Just Like VEDA VYASA complied and split VEDAS in written form into three branches(Atharva Veda was added Later) ,which according to scriptures he would do in every MANVANTARA in Dwapara Yuga for everyone to learn.(since Dharma would decline in consequent years).
    So all forms of YOGA was developed by us including HATHA YOGA and it was not developed for west, It is a compilation of various forms of YOGAS. This Particular HATHA YOGA was a Shaiva Tradition.. knowledge of which was said to have been given by LORD SHIVA to his consort PARAVATI (this is mythology, another noble way of not taking any credit by YOGIS). The west use YOGA only as an exercise, while HATHA YOGA text have chapters on asanas, pranayama, chakras, kundalini, bandhas, kriyās, śakti, nāḍīs and mudrās among other topics. The west use only ASANAS for PHYSICAL FITNESS.

  8. So the Yoga is as old as Hinduism. It is ture.Patanjai studied various concepts and postures and consolidated it into a document.Patanjali only documented YOGA.He is no inventor of yoga.


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