At its essence, yoga is a union of mind, body, and spirit. It is believed that yoga dates back to at least 3000BC and originated in India. The background of yoga is long and filled with tradition. It is an ancient technique for its practitioners to attain and maintain their personal health and fitness. The background of Yoga can be divided into four main periods. These periods are the pre-classical period, classical period, post-classical period, and modern period. The word yoga was first mentioned in the Rig Veda, the oldest of the sacred texts. The actual book of yoga is called the yoga sutras. The word Yoga literally meant “the Yolk” that joins something together, such as an ox to a cart. The idea is that yoga joins all aspects of existence into one. Mind, body, and spirit become joined rather than staying separate.
What most people think of as Yoga, the impressive contortionist postures, is really only one small aspect of a much larger field of practices. The methods of yoga include ethical disciplines, physical postures, breath control, and meditation. The 20th century ushered in a resurgence of yoga that caused a globalization of this ancient tradition.