Discovered thousands of years ago, Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Yuj', meaning 'to unite'. The union here refers to the union of an individual self with the divine consciousness. According to the historic records several statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati performing various asnaas and meditation were discovered in archaeological excavations made at Harappa and Mohan-jo-daro. According to Hindu mythology Lord Shiva established the science of yoga and Goddess Parvati was his first disciple.
Lord Shiva symbolizes supreme consciousness and the goddess symbolizes supreme knowledge, will and action. This supreme energy is present in a dormant state in all living beings and can be tapped through yoga. The goddess revealed this supreme knowledge of liberation in the form of yoga and tantra to 64 yoginis.
Yoga finds mention in the great Hindu scriptures such as the Gita, the Upanishads and other Puranas. In the Bhagavad Gita "Yoga is skill in actions", according to Yoga Sutra "Yoga is the control of the whirls of the mind" and Brahmanda Purana describes "Yoga is said to be control".
The first written account of yoga is found in the Rig Veda. The complete description of yoga, its principles and goals are found in the Upanishads, which dates back to the period between 4th and 8th century. Initially the knowledge of yoga was passed on from mentor to disciple through word of mouth. Initially much efforts were not made to spread the teachings of Yoga and it remained confined to certain people. The Yoga Institute of Santa Cruz, Mumbai, established in 1918, is the India's oldest technical institute on Yoga. Now there are numerous Yoga centers spread all over India.
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