History of Yoga

Yoga is a complete science of life that originated in India many thousands of years ago. The classical techniques of Yoga date back more than 5,000 years. It is first mentioned in the ancient texts of the Vedas, the oldest scriptures in the world. The Vedas is a collection of hymns that praises a higher power, it contains the oldest recorded Yogic Teachings and is considered divine revelation. 

Yoga is the oldest system of personal development in the world encompassing the entire body, mind and spirit. It is the union between a person's own consciousness and the universal consciousness. In ancient times, the desire for greater personal freedom, health and long life, and heightened self-understanding gave birth to this system of physical and mental exercise which has since spread throughout the world.  Yoga is a discipline directed toward attaining higher consciousness and liberation from ignorance, suffering, and rebirth, by the practice of meditation, spiritualism, and physical disciplines.

The Ancient Yogis, yoga practitioners, had a profound understanding of man's essential nature and of what he needs to live in harmony with himself and his environment. Taking into account the interrelationship between body and mind, the Yogis formulated a unique method for maintaining this balance - a method that combines all the movements you need for physical health with the Breathing and Meditation techniques that ensure peace of mind.

Ashtanga (or Astanga) Yoga is the name given to the system of yoga taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.  
Pattabhi Jois began his yoga studies in 1927 at the age of 12, and by 1948 had established an institute for teaching the specific yoga practice known as Ashtanga (Sanskrit for "eight-limbed") Yoga.  This style of yoga is physically demanding as it involves synchronizing breathing with progressive and continuous series of postures-a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, flexibility, stamina, a light and strong body, and a calm mind. Ashtanga is an athletic yoga practice and is not for beginners. 

Developing a strong, healthy and flexible body is but one aspect of this ancient science. Yogis revere the body. However, they do this because they realize that a weak and tired body is a hindrance towards spiritual progress. By being mindful of their breathing while they practice the various postures, they train themselves to discipline their minds. By disciplining their minds, they are able to abide by the principles which Yoga stands for. First amongst these principles is "Ahimsa", or peacefulness in thought, deed, and action not only to other human beings, but also to all living creatures, and most importantly to our own selves. Anyone can practice Yoga. All you need is the will to pursue a healthier and happier lifestyle.