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History Of Yoga And Meditation

Vinysa Didnt Always Mean A Sequence Of Poses

A Brief History of Meditation and Awakening in The United States

Mallinson and Singleton write: The Sanskrit word vinysa usedby Krishnamacharya and his students to denote a stage in one of these linked sequences is not found with this meaning in pre-modern texts on yoga. Vinysa and related words are more common in tantric texts, where they usually refer to the installation of mantras on the body. The modern usage of vinysa is thus a reassignment of the meaning of a common Sanskrit word. This doesnt make vinysa any less effective, of course, unless its effects come partly from faith.

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Cave Yogis And Vedic Sages

Where did meditation come from?

Meditation originated in India, a very long time ago. The oldest documented evidence of the practice of meditation are wall arts in the Indian subcontinent from approximately 5,000 to 3,500 BCE, showing people seated in meditative postures with half-closed eyes.

The oldest written mention of meditation is from 1,500 BCE in the Vedas. That is the time when the Vedas made it to paper, but it must be understood that the Vedas had been memorized and passed down as an oral tradition for centuries, long before they were finally written down. In fact, the Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad lists nearly 70 generations of meditation gurus and students that had existed up to that point.

During this ancient time, meditation was a practice for religious people and wandering ascetics, who through it sought to transcend the limitations of human life, connect with universal forces , and union with the transcendental reality .

The Hindu tradition of meditation includes both the Yogis meditating in caves, as well as the Sages of the Vedic culture. It is the oldest meditation tradition on Earthstill alive and thriving. It has hundreds of lineages and techniques.

Most likely the first meditation technique to be invented/discovered was either mantra meditation or gazingalthought we cant know for sure.

Science And Meditation Today

Despite religion using meditation, the myth that meditation is a religion is entirely false. Theres plenty of scientific benefits of meditation backed by plenty of studies and research. Although it is true that in the history of meditation, it is recorded that various religions have practiced it over the years, today it is considered around the world to grow personally and spiritually.

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Hippie And New Age Movements Popularize Yoga

Starting in the early-1960s, several Americans such as Richard Hittleman and Lilias Folan used television to present approachable and practical forms of yoga to a wide audience. Later in the decade, members of the hippie counterculture and New Age movement further popularized yoga and founded many of the institutions that allowed for its continued growth.

Today, yoga in America is a pervasive billion-dollar industry practiced by tens of millions of people and found in tens of thousands of studios across the country. While the global spread and popularity of yoga is not solely due to American efforts, the history of yoga in the United States doubtlessly played a crucial role in its spread.

For his part, yoga as a physical practice of getting into peak shape and contorting through postures on matts would be a phenomenon that Swami Vivekananda would be slow to recognize. But yoga as an influential cultural form that is embraced by the West while reflecting positively on India is something that Vivekananda would undoubtedly be quick to applaud.

How Did Meditation Spread In The East

History of Yoga &  Meditation : Hatha, Yin, Kundalini ...

Meditation was growing in the East when Buddhism was also at its peak, especially in Japan. So much was the love for this practice that, in the 8th century, Dosho, a Japanese monk, inaugurated the first room to meditate in the country. In the year 1227, the instructions for the meditation practiced in Zen Buddhism were written.

In the middle ages, Jews performed meditation by adding Kabbalistic practices and various prayer and Torah studies approaches. In the 12th century, this practice became a vital aspect of Islamic mysticism. It was performed by repeating sacred words and breathing heavily. Meditation came to Christianity in the Byzantine period, and in Greece, it was introduced between the 10th and 14th centuries.

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The Chakras Are As Much A Spiritual Dream As A Felt Reality

Different yoga sects speak of four, five, six, or twelve chakras. So whos right? One says that if you cant locate the chakras within you, thats okaydoing a fire ceremony is just as good. The chakras are not a result of the yogis empirical observation, write the authors, but rather parts of a visualized installation on the body of tradition-specific metaphysics and ritual schemata. In other words: they are ways of dressing the body in spiritual imagery proprietary to different practice groups. This holds a crucial message for practitioners who know that language continues to influence bodily experience. The goals of a particular system, write our authors, determine the way the body is imagined and used within its yoga practices. The yogic body wasand continues to be in traditional practitioner circlesone that is constructed or written on and in the body of the practitioner by the tradition itself.

See also A Beginners Guide to the Chakras

Definition In Classical Texts

The term yoga has been defined in a number of ways in Indian philosophical and religious traditions.

Yogabija, a Hatha yoga work 14th century CE “The union of apana and prana, one’s own rajas and semen, the sun and moon, the individual Self and the supreme Self, and in the same way the union of all dualities, is called yoga. ”

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Yoga Has Been Shown To Help With Premature Ejaculation

Like meditation, yoga is a wonderful alternative to medication for premature ejaculation.

A research project in 2007 compared yoga practice with fluoxetine, a drug commonly used for treating the condition.

All patients in the yoga test group showed improvements, however the sample size was small so it was felt that additional research was still required.

Black Women’s Yoga History

Swami Kripananda :: The History of Yoga

Paperback :Hardcover :

Preface. What Lies Inside: Writing Myself Well


Introduction. Mental Health, Healing, and Wellness: An Intellectual History of Self-Care

Part I: Look Inward. Healing Traditions

1. Yoga is Self-Possession

3. Medica, cura te ipsumPhysician, Heal Thyself: Meditation on a Fiftieth Birthday

Part II: Look Backward. Historical Wellness

4. Blue Zones for Black Women: Centenarians on Mind, Body, and Spirit

5. Weathering the Weary Blues: Enslavement, Jane Crow, and Migration

6. Everyday Violence, Everyday Peace: Civil Rights, Black Power, and a New Age

Part III: Look Forward. Toward Mental Health

7. Memoirs are Mentors: Narratives of Africana Yoga

8. Survivor Self-Care: Midlife Mindfulness and Wellness Activism

9. The Purpose of Black Women’s Studies: Meditation on a Fiftieth Anniversary

Coda. My Last Will and Testament: Stress and Inner Peace during a Global Pandemic

NotesSelected BibliographyIndex

Examines how Black women elders have managed stress, emphasizing how self-care practices have been present since at least the mid-nineteenth century, with roots in African traditions.

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If You Read This Book You Are Unique In Yoga History

No one has had such broad access to the diversity of traditions as we have now. We used to be given disciplines. Now we are given choices.

So this is just a few drops in a whole lot of ocean. Its a vast and perhaps scary territory. Guppies, after all, can easily get lost, or swallowed by bigger fish. But thenso was old Matsyendranath, the orphan boy who, legend says, founded haha yoga. He was abandoned at the shore by his parents and gobbled up whole by a whale, which then took a deep dive. By luck or karma, this gave him the chance to listen in on Siva and Parvati as they sat on the ocean floor, whispering about the mysteries of yoga. He listened for 12 years, which is about how long it will take this reviewer to fully absorb Roots of Yoga. And, perhapsfor it to become the top book on every yoga teacher training reading list in the English-speaking world.

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About Our WriterMatthew Remski is a yoga and ayurveda teacher living in Toronto. Hes the curator of the WAWADIA? project. His latest book is Shadow Pose: A Secret History of Abuse and Healing in Modern Yoga. Learn more at

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Definition In Classic Indian Texts

The term Yoga has been defined in various ways in the many different Indian philosophical and religious traditions.

Yogabija, a Hatha yoga work 14th century CE “The union of apana and prana, one’s own rajas and semen, the sun and moon, the individual Self and the supreme Self, and in the same way the union of all dualities, is called yoga. ”

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Yoga Journal Publishes Its First Issue

And in 1975 the first issue of Yoga Journal was published: $500 was scraped together to print and distribute 300 typewritten copies. Little did the foundersRama Jyoti Vernon, Rose Garfinkle, Judith and Ike Lasater, Jean Giradot, Janis Paulsen, and William Stanigerrealize that their modest publication would become the magazine of record for yoga in the West.

As Yoga Journal expresses our gratitude to all of those pioneers who planted the seeds of yoga in Americas soil.

Holly Hammond works as a freelance writer and editor in Berkeley, California.

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A Brief History Of Hinduism

The History of Yoga

Hinduism is widely considered to be the oldest extant religion in the world, but it is hard to trace its history.

This is because it initially arose as a synthesis of many religious traditions around the historical region that now makes up India.

In other words, Hinduism has no single founder and no concrete starting point.

In fact, the religious tradition was not even called Hinduism or considered a singular entity until British writers started calling Vedic traditions Hinduism in the 1800s.

The earliest traditions, which have since been incorporated into Hinduism, arose more than 4,000 years ago in the Indus Valley now Pakistan.

These religious traditions continued to develop in Vedic writings 2,500-3,500 years ago. These writings included rituals and the worship of the gods common to modern-day Hinduism.

About 1,500-2,500 years ago, additional texts were composed which are involved in present-day Hinduism, including texts introducing the concepts of dharma and temple worship.

A few hundred years ago, Hinduism experienced some competition in India with the rise of Islam, but 19th-century reformers revitalized Hinduism and helped tie it to the national identity of India.

This proved to be successful because middle-class Indians started identifying with Hinduism around the mid 19th century . This connection was then solidified about a hundred years later with the Indian independence movement.

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Swami Vivekananda Was The First Person To Bring Yoga To America

In America is the place, the people, the opportunity for everything new, wrote Swami Vivekananda before he left India in 1893. Vivekananda had learned from his guru, Sri Ramakrishna, that the worlds religions are but various phases of one eternal religion and that spiritual essence could be transmitted from one person to another. He set about to bring that transmission to America.

His first speech was at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Sisters and brothers of America, he began, and the audience was on its feet, giving him a standing ovation.

Our love affair with the East was born, and so began a steady stream of Eastern ideas flowing west.

Historically If Women Practiced Yoga They Were Mostly Invisible Or Sexually Objectified

Domestic tête-à-têtes aside, texts on yoga are written from the point of view of male practitioners, confirm the authors. There are no pre-modern depictions of women practising yogic postures. Sanskrit and vernacular poems ofnorth Indian ascetic traditions are highly misogynistic. Women are never explicitly prohibited from practising yoga, although haha texts commonly insist that male yogis should avoid the company of women. Except, of course, when they need to procure menstrual fluid to gain superpowers. The sexism at play here is related to the fear that women are the primary thieves of bindu, or semen, which many medieval yogis sought to sublimate into ecstatic awareness. Clearly, all of this stuff needs to be revisited and revised by a global culture that now consists of 80% women.

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Treatise On Yoga Philosophy

Nobin Chunder Paul, a renowned Indian surgeon and scientist, is credited with being the first person to write about the science of yoga – examining ancient Yogic practices through the lens of Western medical science. He spent many decades studying and following the lives of practiced Yogis.

Among many things, he goes into great specificity about the Yogic diet, the chemistry of Pranayama, why Yogis prefer meditating in caves, and the health benefits of asanas and breathing techniques.

The 65 page book was first published in London in 1851.

Further reading:

Ancient Vs Modern Perspective

Brief History of Yoga Nidra with Amy M. Jarvis

In olden times, people lived lives that were intertwined with nature. They were in their natural state and evolved in that state. There was an understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the body and the mind. That only when both are in communion are bends and twists possible. To achieve this, control of breath and self-realization are important.

The idea of using yoga for treatment of diseases, physical fitness and to achieve freedom from stress is a modern, and rather, superficial perspective. In ancient times, yoga was not just a means to remove diseases. For instance, the emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness was present in ancient times as well. But, this did not refer to only brushing, washing and general morning ablutions. It included keeping your mind, and by extension, your thought process also, pure and clean. In other words, it led to all-round wellness.

Like a flower bud, human life has the potential to blossom fully. Blossoming of human potential to fullness is yoga.

– Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Helping man to flourish completely is yoga. Helping the individual potential to blossom to its fullest is yoga. For this, all aspects of the individual physical, mental, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional aspects have to be addressed. Just treating the body would be a symptomatic approach that will, eventually, lead to other problems not far down the road to recovery.

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The History Of Yoga: The Bible Of Yoga

Many scholars and yogis dispute the starting period of yoga and how it evolved. Often, it is believed that yoga dates back upwards of 5,000 years. Others believe it goes back more than 10,000 years.

But, dont expect to find old paintings of yogis practicing Crow Pose. Yoga is not quite the same thing it is today that it was back then . . . The only yoga position that existed more than a few centuries ago was Lotus Pose.

So if we want to gain a deeper, accurate understanding of the history of yoga, we can look to what is often referred to as the bible of yoga for insight. The Bhagavad Gita is a scripture of yogic philosophy written between 400 BC and 200 CE.

Yoga is not quite the same thing it is today that it was back then.

It is a sacred text that focuses entirely on the practice of yoga. But dont be fooled by that! The practice was not all Up Dogs and Handstands back in the day. This practice was entirely spiritual.

The Bhagavad Gita is an epic poem that takes place on a battlefield. Shocking, right? Not your typical setting for peace, love, and happiness yogis! But this setting is often believed to be a metaphor for the battlefield of the mind.

Want to learn more about the Bhagavad Gita? Here are 3 Seriously Relevant Life Lessons We Can Learn from the Bhagavad Gita

Throughout the epic poem, there is a classical yoga teaching set-up. A guru discusses life and yogic philosophy with his pupil.

A Look At The Origin And Roots Of Meditation

Although meditation as a practice today is pretty common and widespread, its good to understand that the origins and roots of meditation go back a long way. Today, meditation has been and continues to be adapted to suit our lives and going back to its roots can help you to develop a strong appreciation for how broad the practice is, as well as how it developed across different countries at different points in time.

Below Ive given a brief writeup of these origins and roots:

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Bks Iyengar Influences How We View Anatomy

In 1966 B.K.S. Iyengars Light on Yoga was published in the United States, a book that is still considered to be the Bible of serious asana practice. In 1973, Iyengar was invited to Ann Arbor, Michigan to teach by Mary Palmer . Nearly every Western teacher has been influenced by his emphasis on anatomical precision, many without even knowing it.

The Era Of Meditation And Science

History of Yoga and the Art of Teaching Meditation

According to the scholar George Feuerstein, the first piece of scientific research on meditation happened in 1936, and the first one using the EEG was in 1955. The first collection of scientific studies on meditation was made in 1977 by James Funderburk, a student of Swami Rama of the Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science.

In fact, Swami Rama was one of the first yogis to be studied by Western scientists. In the 1960s he was examined by scientists at the Menninger Clinic, where he demonstrated his ability to voluntarily control his bodily processes which science had up until then considered being involuntary.

Among other things, he demonstrated:

  • Altering his heartbeat while sitting motionless, to 300 beats per minute for 16 seconds, and then within a few minutes completely stopping his heart from pumping blood for some seconds.
  • Producing different skin temperatures on adjacent sides of his hand by consciously dilating and contracting his blood vessels with his mind.
  • Producing alpha, delta, theta and gamma brain waves on demand.
  • Remaining fully conscious of his environment while his brain was in deep sleep.

These and other demonstrations triggered interest in the scientific community to further study the effects of meditation in the body.

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