Last year, I did a series of articles on the Yoga Sutra, emphasizing how Yoga (union) was much more than postures.
It’s also useful to be reminded that Yoga is much older than the commonly understood time of the author Patanjali. It’s been suggested the text itself is much older, likely from the Treta Yuga, based partly on how it describes awakening. But the knowledge itself goes back still further.
“Yoga is also a common subject in older texts of India before the Yoga Sutras like the Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, with reflections back to the Rigveda, the oldest Sanskrit text. These texts primarily relate Yoga to meditation but bring in the other aspects of Yoga as well. The Bhagavad Gita specifically defines Yoga as the state of balance (yoga samatvam ucayate). In other words, Yoga and its related concepts are common themes in the older traditions of India, not simply recent inventions.”
– Dr. David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)
International Conference on Yoga for Holistic Health, June 2015
He goes on to note the means of Yoga – knowledge, devotion, action, and so forth. Patanjali himself suggested Raja Yoga, the Ashtanga (8 limbs) approach that incorporated several.
Patanjali was known not to be the originator of Yoga – credit for that is given to Hiranyagarbha. This name means golden egg and is the seed form of the universe, the universe from the outside. In other words, it comes from creation itself.
This of course relates directly to the Maharishi quote, that we are given not only the infinite but the means to get there.
If you find this hard to accept, we do know that Yoga is mentioned extensively in the oldest known Sanskrit text, the Rig Veda, such as in the verses of 5.81. It is also found in Yajur Veda and the Upanishad. In other words, it’s is the oldest of knowledge, long with us.