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Yoga (/ˈjoʊɡə/;[1] Sanskrit: योग; pronunciation) is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual

practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools
of Hindu philosophical traditions.[2] There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and
goals[3] in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.[4][5][6] The term "yoga" in the Western world often
denotes a modern form of Hatha yoga, consisting largely of the postures called asanas.

The origins of yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions; it is
mentioned in the Rigveda,[note 1] but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries
BCE,[8] in ancient India's ascetic and śramaṇa movements.[9][note 2] The chronology of earliest
texts describing yoga-practices is unclear, varyingly credited to Upanishads.[10] The Yoga Sutras
of Patanjali date from the first half of the 1st millennium CE,[11][12] but only gained prominence
in the West in the 20th century.[13] Hatha yoga texts emerged around the 11th century with
origins in tantra.[14][15]

Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the West,[16] following the success of Swami
Vivekananda in the late 19th and early 20th century with his adaptation of yoga tradition,
excluding asanas.[16] In the 1980s, a very different form of modern yoga, with an increasing
number of asanas and few other practices, became popular as a system of exercise across the
Western world.[15] Yoga in Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise; it has a
meditative and spiritual core.[17] One of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism is also
called Yoga, which has its own epistemology and metaphysics, and is closely related to Hindu
Samkhya philosophy.[18]

Many studies have tried to determine the effectiveness of modern yoga as a complementary
intervention for cancer, schizophrenia, asthma, and heart disease.[19][20] The results of these
studies have been mixed and inconclusive.[19][20] On December 1, 2016, yoga was listed by
UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage.[21]

 1 Etymology
 2 Definition in classic Indian texts
 3 Goals
 4 History
o 4.1 Pre-Vedic India
o 4.2 Vedic period (1700–500 BCE)
o 4.3 Preclassical era (500–200 BCE)
o 4.4 Classical era (200 BCE – 500 CE)
o 4.5 Middle Ages (500–1500 CE)
 5 Modern revival
o 5.1 Philosophy
o 5.2 Practice
 6 Traditions
o 6.1 Classical yoga
o 6.2 Buddhist yoga
o 6.3 Jain yoga
o 6.4 Yoga in Advaita Vedanta
o 6.5 Bhakti yoga
o 6.6 Tantric yoga
o 6.7 Hatha yoga
o 6.8 Laya Yoga and Kundalini yoga
 7 Reception in other religions
o 7.1 Christianity
o 7.2 Islam
 8 See also
 9 Notes
 10 References
o 10.1 Sources
 11 External links

The Sanskrit noun ययय yoga is derived from the root yuj "to attach, join, harness, yoke".[22] The
word yoga is cognate with English "yoke".[23]

The spiritual sense of the word yoga first arises in Epic Sanskrit, in the second half of the 1st
millennium BCE, and is associated with the philosophical system presented in the Yoga Sutras
of Patanjali, with the chief aim of "uniting" the human spirit with the Divine.[24] The term
kriyāyoga has a technical meaning in the Yoga Sutras (2.1), designating the "practical" aspects of
the philosophy, i.e. the "union with the supreme" due to performance of duties in everyday

According to Pāṇini, the term yoga can be derived from either of two roots, yujir yoga (to yoke)
or yuj samādhau ("to concentrate").[26] In the context of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the root yuj
samādhau (to concentrate) is considered by traditional commentators as the correct
etymology.[27] In accordance with Pāṇini, Vyasa who wrote the first commentary on the Yoga
Sutras,[28] states that yoga means samādhi (concentration).[29]

According to Dasgupta, the term yoga can be derived from either of two roots, yujir yoga ("to
yoke") or yuj samādhau ("to concentrate").[26] Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga
philosophy with a high level of commitment is called a yogi (may be applied to a man or a
woman) or yogini (a woman).[30]

Definition in classic Indian texts

The term yoga has been defined in various ways in the many different Indian philosophical and
religious traditions.
Source Text Definition of Yoga[31]
"When the five senses, along with the mind, remain still
c. 5th and the intellect is not active, that is known as the
Katha Upanishad century highest state. They consider yoga to be firm restraint of
BCE the senses. Then one becomes un-distracted for yoga is
the arising and the passing away" (6.10-11)
c. 2nd "Yoga is said to be equanimity" (2.48); "Yoga is skill in
Bhagavad Gita century action" (2.50); "Know that which is called yoga to be
BCE separation from contact with suffering" (6.23).
Yogācārabhūmi-Śāstra 4th
"Yoga is fourfold: faith, aspiration, perseverance and
(Sravakabhumi), a Mahayana century
means" (2.152)
Buddhist Yogacara work CE
c. 4th
"Yoga is the suppression of the activities of the mind"
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali century
"Pleasure and suffering arise as a result of the drawing
c. 4th together of the sense organs, the mind and objects.
Vaisesika sutra century When that does not happen because the mind is in the
BCE self, there is no pleasure or suffering for one who is
embodied. That is yoga" (5.2.15-16)
"With conviction, the lords of Yogins have in our
doctrine defined yoga as the concurrence (sambandhah)
of the three [correct knowledge (sajjñana), correct
6th doctrine (saddarsana) and correct conduct (saccaritra)]
Yogaśataka a Jain work by
century beginning with correct knowledge, since [thereby
Haribhadra Suri
CE arises] conjunction with liberation....In common usage
this [term] yoga also [denotes the soul’s] contact with
the causes of these [three], due to the common usage of
the cause for the effect. (2, 4).[32]
Kaundinya's 4th
"In this system, yoga is the union of the self and the
Pancarthabhasya on the century
Lord" (I.I.43)
Pasupatasutra CE
"By the word 'yoga' is meant nirvana, the condition of
Linga Purana century
Shiva." (I.8.5a)
c. 3rd "It is said in the treatises on yoga: 'Yoga is the means of
Brahmasutra-bhasya of Adi
century perceiving reality' (atha tattvadarsanabhyupāyo
BCE yogah)" (2.1.3)
Mālinīvijayottara Tantra,
one of the primary authorities "Yoga is said to be the oneness of one entity with
in non-dual Kashmir another." (MVUT 4.4–8)[33]
Mrgendratantravrtti, of the 6th-10th "To have self-mastery is to be a Yogin. The term Yogin
Shaiva Siddhanta scholar century means "one who is necessarily “conjoined with” the
Narayanakantha CE manifestation of his nature...the Siva-state (sivatvam)"
(MrTaVr yp 2a)[34]
"The union of apana and prana, one's own rajas and
semen, the sun and moon, the individual soul and the
Yogabija, a Hatha yoga work century
supreme soul, and in the same way the union of all
dualities, is called yoga. " (89)
"Yogic experts state that yoga is the oneness of the
individual soul (jiva) with the atman. Others understand
Śaradatilaka of 11th it to be the ascertainment of Siva and the soul as non-
Lakshmanadesikendra, a century different. The scholars of the Agamas say that it is a
Shakta Tantra work CE Knowledge which is of the nature of Siva’s Power.
Other scholars say it is the knowledge of the primordial
soul." (SaTil 25.1–3b)[35]

The ultimate goal of Yoga is moksha (liberation), although the exact form this takes depends on
the philosophical or theological system with which it is conjugated.

According to Jacobsen, Yoga has five principal traditional meanings:[36]

1. a disciplined method for attaining a goal;

2. techniques of controlling the body and the mind;
3. a name of a school or system of philosophy (darśana);
4. with prefixes such as "hatha-, mantra-, and laya-, traditions specialising in particular
techniques of yoga;
5. the goal of Yoga practice.[36]

According to David Gordon White, from the 5th century CE onward, the core principles of
"yoga" were more or less in place, and variations of these principles developed in various forms
over time:[37]