The history of yoga spans from four to eight thousand years ago to the current day. From hints of its practice in the Indus Valley civilization (c. 3000 BC), the Vedic civilization (c. 1500 BC), The first elucidations and detailed elaborations in Hindu texts, absorption into Buddhist and Jain philosophies, up to its modern suffusion into secular life, its applicability has stood the test of time.
Seal from the Indus Valley Civilisation, showing a figure in meditation postureOlder findings are some to show that "yoga" existed in some form well before the establishment of vedas in the Indian subcontinent. As such, the history of yoga may go back to eight thousand years, depending on the perspective of the historian, and interpretation of the Mohenjo-daro seals. 5,000 year old carvings from the Indus Valley Civilization depict a figure that some archeologists believe represents a yogi sitting in meditation posture. The figure is shown sitting in a traditional cross-legged yoga pose with its hands resting on its knees. The seal’s discoverer, archeologist Sir John Marshall, named the figure Shiva Pashupati.
Yoga was first clearly expounded in the Vedic shastras (Hindu religious texts). Those that estimate Yoga's age to be four thousand years see the history of Yoga from this point.
David Frawley, a Vedic scholar, writes: "Yoga can be traced back to the Rig Veda itself, the oldest Hindu text which speaks about yoking our mind and insight to the Sun of Truth. Great teachers of early Yoga include the names of many famous Vedic sages like Vasishta, Yajnavalkya, and Jaigishavya."
Ideas of uniting mind, body and soul in the cosmic one, however, do not find real yogic explication until the most important texts ofHinduism, the Upanishads or Vedanta, commentaries on the Vedas.