The science of Yoga originated & evolved in India thousands of years ago, even before the times of Veda. It developed into a systematic doctrine & technique when Maharishi Patanjali composed the Yoga Sutras, though Patanjali is not the inventor of Yoga. Then who is it?
In the yogic culture, Shiva is not only seen as a God, but also as the Adiyogi, the first yogi – the originator of yoga. He was the one who first put this seed into the human mind. According to the Yogic lore, several thousand years ago, Shiva transformed himself into the Adi Guru. This day when the first guru was born is known as Guru Purnima.
On the banks of Kanti Sarovar, a lake that lies a few kilometers above Kedarnath, Shiva produced seven fully enlightened beings – the seven celebrated sages who are today known as the Saptarishis, and are worshipped and admired in Indian culture. Shiva put different aspects of yoga into each of these seven people, and these aspects became the seven basic forms of yoga. Even today, yoga has maintained these seven distinct forms.
The Saptarishis were sent in seven different directions to different parts of the world to carry this dimension with which a human being can evolve beyond his present limitations and compulsions. They became the limbs of Shiva, taking the knowing and technology of how a human being can exist here as the Creator himself, to the world. Time has ravaged many things, but when the cultures of those lands are carefully looked at, small strands of these people’s work can be seen, still alive. It has taken on various colors and forms, and has changed its complexion in a million different ways, but these strands can still be seen.
The Adiyogi brought this possibility that a human being need not be contained in the defined limitations of our species. There is a way to be contained in physicality but not to belong to it. There is a way to inhabit the body but never become the body. There is a way to use your mind in the highest possible way but still never know the miseries of the mind. Whatever dimension of existence you are in right now, you can go beyond that – there is another way to live. He said, “You can evolve beyond your present limitations if you do the necessary work upon yourself.” That is the significance of the Adiyogi.
The philosophy and techniques of Yoga were used in all the endeavors of human existence for creativity and originality, be it Science, Arts, Medicine, Architecture, Cosmology and more. After Patanjali, many sages and Yoga masters contributed greatly for the preservation and development of the field through well-documented practices and literature.
In the modern times, what has become popular among the masses in the name of Yoga is only the Asana & Pranayama. But that is only small part of Yoga. Yoga has spread all over the world by the teachings of eminent Yoga masters from ancient times to the present date. Today, everybody has conviction about Yoga practices towards the prevention of disease, maintenance and promotion of health. Millions and millions of people across the globe have benefited by the practice of Yoga and the practice of Yoga is blooming and growing more vibrant with each passing day.
The yogic science is not about a yoga class that you go through about how to bend your body – which every new born infant knows – or how to hold your breath – which every unborn infant knows. This is the science of understanding the mechanics of the entire human system.