Yoga is a science and art of living. The science of living aims at systematic approach towards life, mind and body for self perfection. Yoga is an eternal tradition of India discovered with much contemplation, understanding, experiment and experience of day-to-day life, its sufferings, problems, worries, stress, afflictions etc. It is eternal because it offers a discipline and practices that are still very much relevant in the present world. It is eternal because it takes one to experience eternity or transcendental consciousness beyond mind. It is eternal because it guides life, mind and body to freedom, higher consciousness and helps one to dive into eternal peace, bliss, truth, love and delight of being.

Yoga has influenced the lives of people for thousands of years as it discovers one’s potential for excellence, health, harmony and happiness in its journey for spiritual awakening within. Indian scholars claim that yoga is more than 50,000-100000 years old. However, it is clear that yoga originated in India by saints, spiritual masters who lived in forests and did penance for years together. The depictions engraved on seals that resemble like Yoga Postures and other figures show amazing continuity of yoga tradition. The first written text and scripture is RigVeda, as old as 10000 years, has many references of yoga. The epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana known as Panchm Veda has references about yogic lifestyle, yoga practices.
The history of Yoga can be divided into the four broad categories:

  1. Vedic Yoga
  2. Preclassical Yoga
  3. Classical Yoga
  4. Postclassical / Modern Yoga.

A brief description of all forms of yoga are expalined for clear udnerstanding:

  • Ashtanga-Yoga: The unifying discipline of the eight limbs as expounded by Patanjali.
  • Bhakti-Yoga: The Bhagavad-Gita, the Bhagavata-Purana, and in the scriptures of the Vaishnavas and Shaivas and Narada Bhakti Sutra expalines in detail about love, devotion and emtional integration.
  • Dhyana-Yoga: The profound discipline of meditation.
  • Japa-Yoga: The centralizing discipline of recitation of the mantras
  • Jnana-Yoga: The exercise of wisdom and knowledge, which is the approach of the Upanishads.
  • Karma-Yoga: The discipline of self-surpassing action as expounded in the Bhagavad-Gita; the theory of action and reaction, cause and effect.
  • Kundalinî-Yoga: The discipline fundamental to the Tantric tradition; the exercise of the serpent power, kundalini-shakti
  • Laya-Yoga: The yoga that features the absorption or dissolution of the elements ere their natural dissolution at death
  • Raja-Yoga: The yoga synonymous with Patanjala-Yoga, Ashtanga-Yoga, or Raja-Yog
  • Siddha-Yoga: The discipline of the experts; found in the Tantras
  • Tantra-Yoga: The practice of the Tantras based on the serpent power in the body, the kundalini
  • Yantra-Yoga: The power of focusing the mind upon yantra, geometric representations of the cosmos.