It’s generally agreed that there are three main periods of yoga dissemination.
1. Prehistoric: The teachings were handed down from master to student orally, with no written record. These teachings were supposedly passed on by gurus who lived in forest hermitages
2. Historic: The practice of passing on teachings from gurus to disciples continued in forest retreats, but with a mixture of oral and written traditions
3. Modern: Bringing together of teachings from many sources, frequently making use of written sources without the need for a teacher to instruct students.
The Beginnings of Yoga
The beginnings of Yoga are shrouded in the mists of time. What’s not in doubt is the fact that yoga has been in existence for at least 2,500 years, but many experts also believe that it’s more likely to be around 5,000 or even 10,000 years. One of the difficulties with attempting to date the first awakenings of the yoga movement is that in the early days it was an oral tradition, passed down from teacher to student. Eventually, the theories and practices began to be recorded, but initially this was on fragile palm leaves, which have not stood the test of time. Only in later years were more permanent ways found to record the important aspects of this ancient practice. Continue reading The History of Yoga in India