Yoga & Meditation-History and meaning


A system of exercises for the body, involves breath control & helps relax both body and mind. It works like workout for both the body and mind. It was generally created to train brain for self observation and self regulation. Thousand years back Indians discovered 'PRANAYAM', which means how we can make our mind calm by slow breathing. It is a set of exercises called poses alongwith specific breathing techniques. It has countless benefits.
Benefits of including Yoga in daily life-
  • Helps in stress management
  • Improves mental health
  • Helps in weight loss
  • Tones the body and skin
  • Increases flexibility
  • Increases concentration
  • Improves heart health
  • Burns fat
  • Increases strength
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Boosts immunity
  • Reliefs from back pain
  • Calm the mind
  • Makes you energized
  • Keeps away from overthinking
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Promote sleep quality, etc.
Four broad classifications of Yoga-
  1. Bhakti Yoga (Use of emotions)
  2. Karma Yoga (Use of body)
  3. Gyan Yoga (Use of mind and intellect)
  4. Kriya Yoga (Use of energy)


In March 2017, Stanford scientists did a study on the mind and discovered that how mind feels peace during slow breathing. But it is very proud for Indians because their ancestors have found it thousand years back. Thus, yoga originated in India. It is believed to have started with the very dawn of civilization. It was first mentioned in Rigveda which dates back to 1500 BC. The Vedas are a set of four ancient sacred texts written in Sanskrit. Some people believes that Yoga is religion specific to a particular religion only but it is totally wrong. Although it is connected to religion and stems originally from Hinduism but also related to Buddhism and Jainism.

Shiva- The first yogi or, aadiyogi

According to Yogvidya(knowledge of yoga), Shiva is considered as the first yogi or, AADIYOGI means the first guru(teacher) of yoga. According to Hindu writings, Shiva went to Himalayas and began dancing out of joy. He became very quick because of his crazy dance. People having eager to know the secret of this joy got astonished when they visited there. But this crowd didn't affected Lord Shiva and he didn't stopped. So, people left and lastly only 7 sages remained there. They requested Shiva to tell them the secret behind this blissful joy so, Shiva instructed them on his enlightenment path and how to achieve it. Shiva educated the Saptariahis (7 sages) on the bank of Kantisarovar lake, in Himalayas. These Saptarishis spread yogvidya in the different parts of the world. But this Yogvidya was accepted mostly in India.

First indication of yoga practice

Around 5000 years back, some scenes of Indus valley civilization were found which clearly indicates that the Yogvidya spread by the Saptarishis were in practice. It was recorded on the Harappan seals of the Indus valley (Sindhu-Saraswati) civilization and was recorded by archaeologist John Marshall in the early 20th century.


It is a spritual practice i.e. practicing for thinking in a controlled manner. It trains the brain to be in current scenario instead of thinking either about past or, future i.e. provides you the awareness of the present moment. It gives the feeling of emotionally calm and stable state. Meditation can be done in a quiet place or, with the help of chanting.
In Budhhism and Hindu religion people chant their sacred mantra 'Om' during the meditation. There is also science behind chanting 'Om'.
Benefits of chanting 'Om'-
  • Connects to inner self
  • Brings a lot of peace 
  • Calms your mind
  • Increases tolerance power
  • Helps in controlling anger
  • Brings positive vibrations to body
  • Sharpens the power of brain
  • Improves concentration
  • Increases physiological alertness
  • Anti-aging property
  • Heals your heart


Meditation (Dhyan), as believed by historians, was practiced around 3000 B.C.E. It is an ancient practice, believed to originate in India, from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism. Wall art of around 5000 BC found in caves in India gives this evidence. Nowadays, this is not only bound to Hindu religion, it is practiced in various religions like Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Judaism alongwith having religious ties in ancient Egypt and China.
               There is a story about Lord Buddha related to Meditation. Lord Buddha was born in India about 500 years before Christ. His name was Sidharth Gautam. He was born in a royal family that's why he never knew what does illness and poverty means but as he grew up one day he confronted with illness and poverty. So, he left his family to find a way out of this suffering world and wandered here and there but not found any way then he chose meditation as a means of realisation. He attained perfect enlightenment at the age of 35 under a Bodhi tree and became the enlightened Buddha.

Father of meditation

Paramhansa Yogananda, is known as father of meditation. He was born on 5 January 1893 in Gorakhpur and died in Los Angeles, California, United States on 7 March 1952. He travelled from India to America in 1920 & established an alternative spirituality. In his autobiography, he gives an in depth explanation of the scientific basis of Kriya yoga. He gave 7 revolutionary teachings.
These are-
1. Only god exists
2. Daily meditation is the way to see behind the dream
3. Prana keeps us healthy, alive and makes us magnetic and allows us to succeed
4. Karma and reincarnation
5. We don't need to leave the world
6. The desire to be happy and to avoid pain is the universal motivation behind every action
7. Spiritual communities provide the optimal environments for the pursuit of happiness and God

Earliest records of meditation

The earliest records of meditation were found in the middle Upanishads of India and Mahabharata (including Bhagavad Gita). In the Vedic era of Northern India, the earliest known written accounts of Meditation can be traced. It was first practiced by Cave Yogis and Vedic Sages.


Yoga and meditation when practiced together, it strengthen the connection between body and mind as meditation helps you to relax and improves mental health whereas yoga maintains your physical health and keeps you fit. So, practice yoga and meditation both with healthy eating to get better result.


1. Is it better to do Yoga or, meditate first?
Ans. Meditation is best after Yoga.
2. How long does it take to notice the difference when doing Yoga?
Ans. It varies from person to person but if done consistently and under the guidance of a proper Yoga instructor then, difference can be seen within 6-12 weeks.
3. Which is best for relief from anxiety Yoga or, Meditation?
Ans. Meditation helps to overcome stress, depression and anxiety.
4. Which time is best for doing Yoga?
Ans. The best time to do Yoga is early morning alongwith sunrise but if you managed to do Yoga in the evening also then it can be bonus.
5. Which time is best for doing meditation?
Ans. The ideal time for meditating is early morning because morning time is full of fresh air and surrounding is quite.
6. How long should a beginner meditate?
Ans. As a beginner, 10-20 minutes is enough.
7. Can Yoga really change your body shape?
Ans. Yes, Yoga can change your body shape if dedicated Yoga for maintaining physique is done consistently. Yoga burns fat, develop muscle tone and gives lean-looking physique.
8. How much time does it take to increase concentration power by doing meditation?
Ans. At least two weeks of consistent meditation can improve working memory capacity and ability to focus.
9. What actually happens when you meditate spiritually?
Ans. During spiritual meditation, you get to know about your inner core. You starts realising the eternal truth and all that happened in the past and is going to happen in the future. You start living in present and thus you would definitely perform better as before in your life.
10. What should I do just after meditation?
Ans. At the end of the meditation, take few deep breaths and bring back your awareness. Offer prayer that your daily routine will be filled with happiness, peace and joy.

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