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300Hrs Yoga Teacher Training

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Yoga History. Ancient Period

Yoga has been evolving and expanding throughout history, although we can’t study the history of yoga without understanding the contribution of the first yogis who brought it in life, and shared it with thousands of people, and made it possible for every human being.

ADIYOGI

According to legend and mythology Adiyogi was the first yogi. Adi means first. Adiyogi is another term for Shiva.

He used to spend this time dancing wildly sitting in deep states of meditation. many people came to him to learn what it was that he was doing, as they recognized that he was in a blissful state all the time. He did not bother to teach them and most people left – as is the case with people who approach a spiritual Master just out of curiosity. 7 people stayed back. He gave them some practices to do, and then continued on his own Journey. After 84 years he observed that they were now good at those practices. and so he decided that they had shown enough discipline and dedication to learn. He began to teach them on Full Moon night – which is revered in India as Guru purnima. On that day he became Adi Guru – the first Guru.

‘Gu’ means Darkness ‘Ru’ means Light – so a person who takes you from Darkness to light! And not merely an expert, or a teacher. 

Adiyogi’s fundamental approach to life is the Longing To Go Beyond one’s limited sense of self – physically, mentally, and spiritually. This is something we all experience – that life cannot just be a cycle of “eat – work – sleep”. We want to expand and explore more. Adiyogi showed us that this is possible. He gave the signs of exploring, of liberation. the seven people he taught – became the ‘SaptaRishis’ – seven Great Sages. They made the science into techniques and taught it to people across the Indian subcontinent. Today we practice yoga and meditation thanks to this Fountain of Knowledge!

Adi Yogi was the first person to say that these limiting notions of what the body and mind can do are why we are limiting what it means to be human. When you break through those limits and go beyond limiting beliefs that is when the journey has begun.

This is why Adi Yogi became something very beautiful that has inspired the Indian culture for millennia. The contribution to human consciousness is to go beyond, to break your limiting sense of self, and to understand that there is much more to life.

KRISHNA 

Krishna is considered to be an avatar of Vishnu. he is considered as the complete expression of a human being. Krishna brings an ideal of living in the world and yet being a spiritual person – which is different from ancient ideas that to be spiritual one had to leave the world. 

Krishna is a politician, a king, a musician, a dancer, and a spiritual master. His experience of life is very vast and it continues to inspire every aspect of Indian culture and thought!

Krishna taught in the Bhagavad Gita, that are 3 margas – Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga. based on one’s personality, one will have an inclination towards one Marga.

Krishna spoke about Karma Yoga which we have discussed in the video lesson.

In the Gita Krishna shows his transcendental nature to Arjuna – the protagonist of the Indian epic Mahabharata – and Arjuna is amazed, even slightly frightened by the spectacle. It is very beautifully described in the Gita. 

Krishna inspires us that even if you don’t have faith, you can approach Liberation through intellect. If you don’t have intellect, you can approach Liberation through service. In this way each of us can approach our Liberation through our own personal inclination!

BHAGAVAD GITA

The Bhagavad Gita is a 700 verse Hindu scripture that is the sixth book of the most fable Mahabharata.  

To understand the Gita, it helps to know a little of the background. Historically, the Mahabharata War is said to have occurred in 3201 BC; however, a more plausible date would be 1500 BC.

This is a war between Good and Evil as most of mythology is. Having been cheated out of ruling their Kingdom, the pandavas have to wage a war against their cousins, who have unlawfully taken over the kingdom.

At this point the chief warrior Arjuna is in a dilemma. His chariot is being Guided by Krishna, which is also a metaphor for Krishna guiding Arjuna in general. Arjuna wonders that even if he wins this war, by killing his cousin and his teachers, what does he gain? Arjuna wants to leave the battlefield. Krishna then talks to him – this conversation is the Gita.

Considered as the “spiritual dictionary”,  the Bhagavad Gita is composed of 18 chapters, the first 6 deal with Bhakti Yoga, the next 6 on Karma Yoga, and the last 6 on Jnana Yoga. 

Karma Yoga

‘Karmani evadhi karaste, Maa phaleshu kadachana,

Maa karma phala hetur bhur, Maa te saango akarmani.’

“You have the right to perform your duties prescribed to you but not to the outcome of it.”

“You should never be motivated by the fruits of your actions.”

“You should never be attached to the performance of your duties.”

Karma Yoga is described by Krishna as three main points:

  • One is that you have to perform your responsibilities. You should not escape from that. So if you are a mother, you have to perform your responsibilities as a Mother. Likewise as a teacher and so on.
  • The second point is that you don’t focus on the fruits of your labors. You keep doing what you are supposed to do, without worrying about what you will receive. This is very rare as we always do things with expectations in mind. However, if we can let go of these expectations then we can really work in the best way possible.
  • And one must never be attached to the performance of one’s duties

Therefore, Krishna says, it is Arjuna’s Dharma as a king to uphold good governance for his subjects. If it means fighting his cousins then he has to do that. By not performing one’s duties evil is postponed, but cannot find liberation. 

Karma Yoga is defined as efficiency in Action. Often we are disappointed when we don’t receive the appreciation we desire for the work that we did and this leads to stress and frustration at work and in relationships. 

So if you focus on these two aspects, you can find liberation through the Service you render. Every aspect of your life will become a Service. This is Karma Yoga. 

Let us now look at the meaning of KARMA itself.

KARMA is also defined similarly to “As you sow, so shall you reap”

Karma is all that you do, think, and this will have a bearing on your life and what happens to you.  If you harm someone, you will be harmed and if you help someone, you will receive help. 

So Karma is that idea that describes Why things happen to us in a particular way. It is one of the most important Philosophical ideas, that is foundational to the Indian thought systems. It spreads across lifetimes, you carry your Karmas with you and that is why you find yourself in certain situations in life.

Krishna talks about the cycle of birth and death; and how to overcome it through liberation called Moksha. He also speaks about Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga in the Gita. Bhakti as devotion unto him and Jnana as enquiry into the nature of existence. The Gita is one of Mankind’s greatest philosophical treasures – as yogis we need to study it. 

Jñana Yoga

Jñana Yoga, also plays an important role in the Bhagavad Gita text. The path of wisdom.
Jñana in sanskrit and in a yogic context means the wisdom derived from direct acquaintance with the Self. Krishna implies that one should be wise about two things, your body-mind and the second is knowing the supreme spirit.

Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti Yoga means the path of devotion, opening your heart and being completely surrendered to the path of unconditional love. Krishna says that if he can offer everything to Him (the form of Universal Love) then he will achieve liberation from suffering.

According to Krishna as the supreme path of yoga because it is so direct and easy. This path can be seen as the path of trust and although trust is easy in theory, to fully trust means that we are taking a big leap out of ourselves into the Universal Mystery.