Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines that originated in ancient India, aimed at controlling (‘yoking’) and stilling the mind, and recognizing the detached ‘witness consciousness as untouched by the activities of the mind (Citta) and mundane suffering There are a broad variety of the schools of yoga, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism and traditional forms and modern methods of yoga are practiced worldwide.
There are broadly two kinds of theories on the origins of yoga. The linear model argues that yoga has Aryan origins, as reflected in the Vedic textual corpus, and influenced Buddhism; according to Crangle, this model is mainly supported by Hindu scholars. The synthesis model argues that yoga is a synthesis of indigenous, non-Aryan practices with Aryan elements; this model is favored in western scholarship
Yoga is first mentioned in the Rigveda and also referenced in many UpanishadsThe first known formal appearance of the word “yoga”, with the same meaning as the modern term, is in the Katha Upanishad probably composed between the fifth and third-century BCEYoga continued to develop as a systematic study and practice during the 5th and 6th centuries BCE, in ancient India’s ascetic, and Śramaṇa movements. The most comprehensive text on Yoga, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali date to the early centuries C] while Yoga philosophy came to be marked as one of the six orthodox philosophical schools of Hinduism in the second half of the first millennium. Hatha yoga texts began to emerge between the 9th and 11th centuries with origins.
Yoga is discussed in the ancient foundational Sutras of Hindu philosophy. The Vaiśeṣika Sūtra of the Vaisheshika school of Hinduism, dated to have been composed sometime between the 6th and 2nd century BCE discusses Yoga. According to Johannes Bronkhorst, an Indologist known for his studies on early Buddhism and Hinduism and a professor at the University of Lausanne, Vaiśeṣika Sūtra describes Yoga as “a state where the mind resides only in the Self and therefore not in the senses”.This is equivalent to pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses, and the ancient Sutra asserts that this leads to an absence of sukha (happiness) and dukkha (suffering), then describes additional yogic meditation steps in the journey towards the state of spiritual liberation.
Similarly, Brahma sutras – the foundational text of the Vedanta school of Hinduism, discusses yoga in its sutra 2.1.3, 2.1.223, and others. Brahma sutras are estimated to have been complete in the surviving form sometime between 450 BCE to 200 CE, and its sutras assert that yoga is a means to gain “subtlety of body” and other powers. The Nyaya sutras – the foundational text of the Nyaya school, variously estimated to have been composed between the 6th-century BCE and 2nd-century CE, discusses yoga in sutras 4.2.38–50. This ancient text of the Nyaya school includes a discussion of yogic ethics, dhyana (meditation), samadhi, and among other things remarks that debate and philosophy is a form of yoga.