Who Invented Yoga?

Fun fact: When you type “who invented yog” into a Google search, the top search is “who invented yoga pants.”

yogaThat means one of two things:

1) people are more interested in the history of yoga apparel than the history of the practice itself

or

2) I searched for the origin of yoga pants in the past and just can’t remember.

Whatever the reason, I am not too interested in the history of yoga pants. Although, now I can’t help but wonder about the history of pants in general. Who invented those crazy things and how did they get the name pants? Looks like I will have to wait for a future Wonder Why Wednesday, because today I am wondering about yoga. Let’s see what we can learn about the thing that has become so popular with women and men with long hair.

Who Invented Yoga?

I started hearing about yoga in the early 2000s, which means I was just about 5000 years late to the party. According to YogaBasics.com, yoga was first mentioned in the Rig Veda, an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns, over 5000 years ago.

The practice cannot be traced back to one human individual man, but it is said to have been developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India, and refined by mystic seers known as Rishis and Brahmans.

The most well known early Yogic scripture is the Bhagavad-Gîtâ, which was written around 500 B.C.E. This may mean that it took some time for the practice to catch on. And it took even longer for it to spread throughout the world. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that yoga made its way to the West. An Indian Hindu monk named Swami Vivekananda gave lectures and educated the crowd about yoga at the 1893 Parliament of Religions in Chicago.

Today, yoga is a multi-billion dollar industry practiced throughout the globe. June 21, 2015 marked the first International Day of Yoga which let to a Guinness record being set for largest yoga class at Rajpath in New Delhi. The class included 35,985 people. That probably also set a record for biggest collection of yoga pants (which in case you were wondering, were invented by some guy named Ryan McLatchy).

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