Bringing Yoga Philosophy to Life – The Origins of Yoga – By Emma Newlyn

Diving below the physical layer of yoga can offer deep insights into the workings of the mind, profound perspective-shifting discoveries, and philosophical concepts that allow yoga to be taken off the mat and into everyday life. Indeed, physical yoga postures are abundantly beneficial, but there’s another side to yoga that can be practiced anywhere, any time, no matter your ability, and it has nothing to do with stretching or sun salutations. 

Around 5000 years ago, yoga’s first recorded history began. Along with ancient mythological texts conveying the powers of gods and deities, vast hymns and stories were written to help people understand the world around them. Around 1800 BC, these hymns and verses existed in the form of the Vedas, a collection of sacred texts that are said to have been received by ancient sages in the form of divine revelation. The Vedas provided the core of yogic spirituality, and paved the way for the many yoga and meditation practices in today’s world. Soon after the Vedas came the Mahabharata, known as the longest text in history, holding meaningful and moral stories within its pages. One of these stories is the Bhagavad Gita, or ‘song of the lord’, depicting a mythical battle and characters on both sides representing aspects of the mind, ego and consciousness. These texts were all created to enlighten readers about the world beyond the senses, the potential of every human being, and the possibility of a liberated life without fear or worry. It seems that if texts were provided to help people overcome a worrying, anxious and wandering mind even thousands of years ago, then humans must have always struggled with ups and downs and mental health challenges, modern societies aren’t the only ones longing for a life of peace and freedom from fear.