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The history of yoga from ancient Upanishads to modern day

The process of learning something new often goes along with a feeling of unknown, like a dark misty place which gets lighter as you understand and learn something new.

The main branches of the history tree of yoga that we are going to highlight from different angles on this page are:
• personalities,
• introduction of yoga to the West,
• modern yoga.

Yoga and shamanism

3000 BCE

Yoga and shamanism have ‘mystical experience’ in common. Mircha Elliade uses  ‘illumination’ as a metaphor for shamanism.

‘Illumination’ (quamaneq) - shaman’s clairvoyance of one of the Esquimos tribes - ‘a mysterious light which the shaman suddenly feels in his body, inside his head, within the brain, an inexplicable searchlight, a luminous fire, which enables him to see in the dark, both literally and metaphorically speaking, for he can now, even with closed eyes, see through darkness and perceive things and coming events, which are hidden from others; thus he can look into the future and into the secrets of others’. Experiences of Mystic Light, Mircea Elliade.

The metaphor of light often is used in early yogic texts.

Chandoghya Upanishada [III, 13, 7] - ‘the light that shines beyond this Sky, beyond all things, in the highest worlds beyond which there are none higher, is in fact the same light that shines within a man (antah puruse).’

Brihada-ranyaka Upanishada [I, 3, 28] - ‘from non-being (asat) lead me to being (sat), from darkness lead me to the light (tamaso ma gamaya), from death lead me to immortality.’

The first ideas of yoga grew from the concept of tapas accumulation — similar to the concept of personal power accumulation in shamanic experiments.

The source of inspiration for this page is

a video lecture by Andriy Safronov called 'The history of yoga: from early Upanishads to modern day'.

This is a recording of an online lecture on 9 March, 2016 at the co-working space 'Fabric' in Kharkiv.
Play Video about history of yoga . історія йоги . история йоги
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