Who Is Known As The Father Of Yoga

###### Who Is Known As The Father Of Yoga?

The name most commonly associated with the birth of Yoga is that of the ancient sage Patanjali. He is believed to have synthesized and codified an oral tradition of yoga stretching back to at least the second century BCE. His seminal work – the Yoga Sutras – sets out a profound system of philosophy, yogic practice and meditation, and is known as the classical system of Yoga.

Patanjali is thus regarded as the founder of what we call Classical Yoga and is widely revered as its progenitor, earning him the title of ‘Father of Yoga’. His core teachings on the Eight Limbs of Yoga – comprising the Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi – continue to be the foundation of classical yoga today.

**Yamas & Niyamas (Ethical Precepts):**

Yamas and Niyamas are the ethical guidelines of yoga, which help to regulate our behaviour and create harmony in our lives. According to Patanjali, these ethical principles are the doorway to true and lasting freedom.

– **Yamas:**
– Ahimsa (non-violence)
– Satya (truthfulness)
– Asteya (non-stealing)
– Brahmacharya (right conduct)
– Aparigraha (non-possessiveness/non-greed)

– **Niyamas:**
– Sauca (cleanliness)
– Santosha (contentment)
– Tapas (self-discipline)
– Svadhyaya (self-study)
– Ishvara Pranidhana (Surrender to the higher power)

**Asanas (Yoga Postures):**

Asanas are the physical exercises and poses of yoga, which help us to build physical strength and flexibility, while promoting balance and health. Usually, by combining various asanas, a profound meditative state is developed, where the practitioner can experience a renewed oneness with life.

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**Pranayama (Breath Work):**

Pranayama (breath work) focuses on awareness of breath and its regulation to bring harmony to body and mind. It encourages a healthy and balanced breath control, so that the body can access a state of deep relaxation.

**Pratyahara (Withdrawal of the Senses):**

Pratyahara involves the deliberate withdrawal of the five senses from external stimuli, helping us to create a sense of inner mental and emotional stability. This creates an inner stillness, which is essential for progress in Yoga.

**Dharana (Concentration):**

Dharana develops and increases one’s concentration and focus. It helps to increase the power of focus, and to become more stable and aware in meditation.

**Dhyana (Meditation):**

Dhyana (meditation) is a process of accessing deeper insight and gaining a better understanding of oneself, of reality and of the world around us. Through this process, we can become more conscious, aware, and present.

**Samadhi (Enlightenment):**

Samadhi (enlightenment) is a transcendent state of oneness and union between the practitioner and the Divine, where the sense of separateness dissolves. Patanjali describes it as the highest state of Yoga, where the soul and the Self are in perfect harmony.

As the ‘Father of Yoga’, Patanjali has had a huge impact on our modern day approach to Yoga. His teachings are all about balance – balance in our lives, balance in our bodies, and balance in our minds – and his profound understanding of the physical, philosophical and spiritual systems of yoga still guides us on our journey towards true freedom and wellbeing.


– Edwin Bryant, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (2009).
– The Tibetan Yoga of Breath, Rod Stryker (2010).
– David Frawley, Yoga and Ayurveda (1998).

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