A little History of Yoga

I thought a little background on Yoga would be nice...it is way more than a form of exercise...and few studios delve deeper than the physical aspect of Yoga.

Where did it come from and what exactly is Yoga?

What follows is a compilation of answers I have taken from various sources--The Yoga Sutras as editorialized by various authors such as Osho and Sri Swami Satchidananda as well as material I found on several searches looking through web materials.

I would say that most of this came from "Yoga-the Science of the Soul" by Osho. It is a very good read. I find his take very understandable, not overly mystical. 

According to Osho, Yoga is not a religion or a philosophy it is a pure science just like mathematics, physics, chemistry, but it is a popular misconception to consider Yoga as part of the Hindu religious belief system.

He says this is comparable to considering Physics to be Christian because the laws of Physics were first discovered by a Christian. It just so happened that the laws of Yoga were first re-discovered by Hindus, who were wise enough to incorporate the science into their religious belief system.

But like the laws of Physics, the laws of Yoga are always here, just waiting to be discovered and re-discovered.

Yoga is mentioned in all ancient Hindu texts and scriptures, including the Rig Veda, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and according to these texts the science of Yoga has been available to all of mankind since time immemorial. 

Nearly 2000 years ago a sage named Patanjali recorded the Sutras into written form. He was not the originator of these aphorisms, he masterfully compiled and reformatted doctrines that had been previously handed down from pre-historic times, as an oral tradition. Word of mouth.

Patanjali put stylus to banana leaf and recorded the sutras in written form for his contemporaries in a time before books, writing, and even reading were commonplace, the whole thing needed to be memorized. These short pithy aphorisms are intended as a practical aid to quiet the mind and end suffering. 

The language of Yoga is Sanskrit (an ancient Hindu dialect). This dialect is known for its rich resonant sounds—sounds that have a demonstrable effect on body and mind.

We will delve into this a little more later as sound is a big factor in some of the Birth Skills you will be practicing— vocalization especially. I will also be dropping in a fair amount of Sanskrit terminology throughout, not because you need to learn it, or use it, but because I believe it will enforce your understanding of just how deeply and in how many ways the teachings of Yoga can positively change how you think about your mind, your body, and the birth of your baby.

Patanjali condensed Yoga into just 196 sutras (literally meaning thread), and in these sutras the entire science of Yoga is clearly laid out: it's aim, the necessary practices, the obstacles you may meet along the way, their removal, and precise descriptions of the results that will be obtained from such practices.

The Yoga Sutras cut straight to the heart of the human dilemma, as they analyze how we know what we know and why we suffer. Then Patanjali provides a meditative program to help each of us fulfill the primary purposes of consciousness— to see things as they are and to achieve freedom from suffering.

Perhaps you noticed that the above descriptions of Yoga read also as an excellent syllabus for what I am writing about and teaching in class, if not read it again and apply it to your birthing day. 

Knowledge replaced my fear (to see things as they are) and my pain diminished (freedom from suffering). I am not promising to remove pain but to ease suffering.

In other words a stellar way to manage your labor and delivery.

 

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