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Yoga (/ˈjɡə/;[1] SanskritयोगAbout this soundpronunciation) is a group of physicalmental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions.[2] There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals[3] in HinduismBuddhism, and Jainism.[4][5][6] The term “yoga” in the Western world often denotes a modern form of Hatha yogayoga as exercise, consisting largely of the postures called asanas.

The origins of yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions; it is mentioned in the Rigveda,[note 1] but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, in ancient India’s ascetic and śramaṇa movements.[8][note 2] The chronology of earliest texts describing yoga-practices is unclear, varyingly credited to Upanishads.[9] The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali date from the first half of the 1st millennium CE,[10][11] and gained prominence in the West in the 20th century.[12] Hatha yoga texts emerged sometimes between the 9th and 11th century with origins in tantra.[13][14]

Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the West,[15] following the success of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th and early 20th century with his adaptation of yoga tradition, excluding asanas.[15] Outside India, it has developed into a posture-based physical fitness, stress-relief and relaxation technique.[16] Yoga in Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise; it has a meditative and spiritual core.[16][17] One of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism is also called Yoga, which has its own epistemology and metaphysics, and is closely related to Hindu Samkhya philosophy.[18]

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