Yoga – History, Philosophy, and Branches

Yoga – History, Philosophy and Branches

The 5000-year-old art of yoga that took birth in India is the tool of the cleansing of the soul from centuries. It teaches the art to attain balance while living in this materialistic world.  Enhanced with multiple types, yoga helps you become the river that never stops flowing. It establishes its miraculous importance for health and sometimes even replaces the expensive medical treatments.

Embracing this enriching legacy of ancient times can actually give you great benefits. Why not get a little deep and know about this ubiquitous treasure that has transformed countless lives and will keep doing this timelessly.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an amalgamation of breathing techniques, physical postures and meditation for mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

The History

The existence of Yoga is 5000 years old. There is no precise written proof about the inventor of yoga. Sage Patanjali is considered as the first person to compile all the information, rules and practices of yoga 2000 years back.  It is a guidebook named as ‘Yoga Sutra’ that guides on how to control emotions, grow spiritually and master the mind. In ancient times, fitness was not the primary goal of yoga. Improving mental focus, expanding spiritual energy were the prime concerns.

The practice of yoga started to gain popularity in the western part the world in the ending of the 19th century. 1920s and 1930s saw an extreme interest in the postural yoga.

The philosophy base

The philosophy of Yoga is often communicated through the image of a tree, which has roots, trunks, fruits and blossoms.

Branches of Yoga

There are SIX branches of yoga with set features.

  1. Hatha Yoga – It is the mental and physical branch focussed to revive the body and mind.
  2. Raja Yoga – This branch talks about meditation and emphasizes on the importance of several disciplinary steps that are called as the eight limbs of yoga.
  3. Karma Yoga – This is the futuristic branch of yoga that aims to construct a future, which is free from the suffocation of negativity and selfishness.
  4. Bhakti Yoga – This branch is all about the importance of devotion with an aim to cultivate acceptance and tolerance.
  5. Jnana Yoga – This helps you learn about the significance of wisdom and paves the way to develop intellect through study.
  6. Tantra Yoga – This aspect opens the door to ceremony, ritual or celebration and consummation of a relation.


According to the Yoga philosophy, there are seven major chakras that are the center points of energy, feelings, and thoughts. These chakras determine the way through which people experience the reality through desires or aversions, emotional reactions, levels of fear or confidence even physical symptoms and effects. When energy blocks in chakra, mental, physical or emotional imbalance occurs.

There are 7 types of chakras and every chakra is represented by some colors as mentioned below –

  • Sahasrara – Also known as crown chakra due to its location i.e. crown of the head. It helps achieve the state of pure consciousness. White and violet color represents this chakra.
  • Ajna – You can also call it ‘third-eye’ or ‘command’ chakra. It is represented by indigo, deep violet or deep blue. However, some traditional yoga teachers and practitioners describe it as white.
  • Vishhudha – Denoted by red and blue color, this chakra is the home of hearing, speech, and metabolism. It is also known as ‘throat chakra’.
  • Anahata – It is the ‘heart’ or ‘unstuck’ chakra that relates to pink and green color. It focuses on complex emotions, tenderness, compassion, equilibrium, unconditional love, rejection, and wellbeing.
  • Manipura – It is the ‘navel chakra’ also called ‘jewel city’ represented by the yellow color. It connects with the digestive system and also with power, anxiety, fear, tendencies and developing opinions towards an introverted personality.
  • Svadhishthana – Call it as ‘pelvic’ chakra, which is home to the reproductive organs.
  • Muladhara – The ‘root chakra’ or ‘root support’. Its location is the base of the spine. It relates to our urge for sex, sleep, food, and survival.

Now the Types of Yoga

You cannot restrict the practice of yoga in a small number of exercises. It has many and detailed types and the yogis and yoginis choose the type that is most beneficial for their health. However, this is about the common man, the practitioners and yoga teachers perform and know about all the types. Let us take a look –

Ashtanga Yoga – This type uses ancient yoga techniques and relates to breathing in six sequences of postures.

Bikram Yoga – It has 26 poses and the sequence of two breathing exercises.

Hatha Yoga – It is a generic name or term that relates to any type of yoga, which guides physical postures. Hatha classes are more about the basic yoga postures.

Iyenger yoga – This type focuses on the right posture of the body. For the purpose, it uses different props like blocks, chairs, blankets, bolsters, and straps.

Jivamukti yoga – It means liberation while living. Its focus is on the fast-paced flow of poses.

Kripalu yoga – This type teaches practitioners to accept, know and learn from the body. It starts with the breathing exercises, gentle stretches, individual poses and final relaxation.

Kundalini yoga – You have to make a coil like a snake. This yoga type aims to release pent-up energy.

Besides the above, several other names are power yoga, Sivananda, viniyoga, yin, prenatal yoga, restorative yoga.

What is the right time to take a yoga class?

Early morning hours are best to go for yoga classes. This is the time when your mind is comparatively free from the flood of thoughts. All over the world, yoga classes are most preferred in the morning hours. Some people even take loans to join yoga classes to get rid of extreme stress in life.

They even do not worry if there credit rating is good or bad. For instance, you can easily find people who get installment loans for bad credit by direct lender. Yoga is the medicine for the soul; it enters deep in your mind and heart and brings out a completely new you. Make it a part of your lifestyle and surely you can survive with peace despite the mess and chaos of worldly matters.

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