Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tradition Tuesday: How Old Is Yoga?

Question: When did the practice of yoga begin?

Multiple Choice:
A.) After Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras, a sacred text outlining classical yoga (according to most estimates, this occurred between 400 and 200 B.C.E).
B). In 1967, after The Beatles paid a visit to India to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
C). When lululemon debuted its first version of the Groove Pant in 1998.
D). None of the above.

Answer: D). None of the above.

Patanjali organized existing yoga techniques into one, systematized text; however, he did not "invent" yoga. It's clear that yoga existed well before the compilation of his pivotal text, The Yoga Sutras, created several centuries ago. Put simply, we know that yoga is, at the very least, more than 2,000 years old, though further evidence suggests that it is much older. Most estimates range from 5,000 to 10,000 years old, with some scholars surmising that yoga could be even older. My college courses in eastern philosophy and religion, including Sacred Arts of India, cited ancient recovered artifacts from the Indus Valley region (circa 2200-1750 B.C.E.), wherein figures are depicted in yoga poses, as evidence of yoga's earliest origins.

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