From Vedas to Vegas: A Brief History of Yoga

Watch the three thousand-year-old history of yoga explained in three minutes.

2 min read

21 June 2019 is being celebrated as the fifth annual International Day of Yoga across the globe.

India is gearing up, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to practise yoga along with an estimated 35,000 other people at the Yoga Day event in Ranchi, Jharkhand, the host city for International Day of Yoga.

But when did yoga really go international? Wait, when did yoga get here in India in the first place? When and how did yoga evolve from the Vedas to Vegas?

We dug deep into the three-and-a-half thousand year old history of yoga to find out the story.

Starting from the Rig Veda and Bhagavad Gita, to meeting Hollywood in 1947 and taking the world by storm, yoga has come a long way.

In the vedas, the connection of the material world with the spiritual world was termed as yoga.

Then came pre-classical yoga, where yoga was mentioned in Mahabharat and the Bhagavad Gita. Lord Krishna imparted the knowledge of yoga as a way of life to attain mental, emotional and spiritual wisdom.

A thousand years or so later, was the era of classical yoga, where Yoga Sutra was compiled by the sage Patanjali. He extended the definition of yoga to meditation, pranayam and positive thinking.

Post classical yoga era is where someone finally talked about physical yoga, with the advent of Hatha Yoga.

Modern Yoga is more like what the world knows as yoga today. In the 1920s, asanas taught in yoga classes rose to fame. Physical fitness and health benefits were the selling points. This is when yoga spread to the world.

As yoga grew, so did the number of versions - hot yoga, power yoga, aerial yoga, acro yoga, and some not-so-serious ones like beer yoga.

In 2015, over 190 countries celebrated the first ever International Day of Yoga.

The party’s still on. Wanna join?

Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia

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