Who Really Started What We Know as “Yoga” Today? A Video by Ketna and Raj Shah.

get elephant's newsletter

Yoga is thousands of years old. One aspect of yoga is hatha-yoga, the yoga of postures. Unfortunately at the start of the previous century hatha-yoga lost favor and was in considerable decline. The reason for this decline was that lay people thought that hatha-yoga was for those on the spiritual path and not for ordinary folks. Monks and ascetics on the other hand thought of hatha-yoga as something inferior and preferred instead to focus on meditation.

“The story of Yoga” provides the story of how one man and his guru caused the turnabout in the popularity of hatha-yoga, so much so that now yoga has become synonymous with hatha-yoga. This story starts in a cave on the roof of the world in Tibet. In this remote corner of the world, a brilliant student studied yoga at the feet of the last remaining masters of hatha-yoga. So brilliant was the student that he was able to master subjects that would normally take 2 years in just 6 months. This brilliant student studied at the feet of this master of hatha-yoga for more than 7 years! Even after such extensive study he claims to have learnt only 10% of what the master had to teach him!

In the Indian system when a disciple studies with a guru there is no direct reimbursement paid to the guru. Only when the period of study is over, only then the guru is reimbursed. This is done in the form of “guru dakshina”. At the end of his studies the student would ask the guru what guru-dakshina he wanted. The student was honor bound to fulfill the wishes of his guru and provide for whatever the guru asked.

The “story of yoga” starts when the student has completed his 7 years of study and is now approaching his guru to find out what guru-dakshina he wants. What the guru asks from his disciple would have a direct bearing on the lives of all those who have been touched by yoga. Watch the video to find out what the guru asks from his disciple and how this led to the spread of yoga.

The story of yoga is just getting started! A thousand years from today, if successful, this story will be known as the story of transformation of human consciousness. A transformation that will make us worthy of the deep spirituality that lies within us. However this is also an on going story of great personal sacrifice by the yoga teachers who strive every day for the success of this story.

“The story of Yoga” is the creation of Ketna and Raj Shah. Ketna is a yoga teacher, a yoga therapist, and a gourmet cook. Raj works for a fortune 500 firm in the IT department. To learn more about their yoga story visit MyLifeYoga.com or this Facebook page.

is a new feature on Elephant Journal—enabling you to instantly share your mindful ideas, photos, art, YouTube videos/Instagram links & writings with our 5 million readers. Try it Now.

Write Now

About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of elephantjournal.com. Questions? Send to [email protected]


9 Responses to “Who Really Started What We Know as “Yoga” Today? A Video by Ketna and Raj Shah.”

  1. tanya lee markul says:

    Thank you for sharing this!!

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

  2. jprayne says:

    Fantastic! Love it!

  3. Raj Shah says:

    Thank you tanya and jprayne! Invite you to the MyLifeYoga Facebook page. Shall be posting a new video shortly. Please feel free to forward it on or post it on your blog or page.

  4. jean pumplin says:


    Great to see you on Elephant!!!!!! I haven't seen you since 3 Om closed….. keep writing!!!!!

  5. Ramesh R says:

    I know it really does not matter who does what … doer of actions and thinker of thoughts are mere illusions … but since this article is about history, I could not stop my mind wanting to find out the name of the guru and student who made yoga what it is today … Do you know? Thanks for the info.

  6. ~Kat~ says:

    Wonderful and beautiful short film! It links all of us who practice yoga to our lineage, which begins with Krishnamacharya. Thanks!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.