For many students and teachers of Yoga in the West this debate seems far removed from their Yoga practice. Yoga for many in the West is viewed as a physical culture that promotes health and well being, but has little to do with philosophical or spiritual concerns. But the reality is that Yoga has evolved over thousands of years, and has its origins in the same culture that produced both Hinduism and Buddhism.
Knowing something of the origins of yoga, as well as the culture and traditions from which it has emerged, help us to put our own practice into a much wider context. It can deepen our own spiritual journey to know that what we are practicing is the current form of a tradition reaching back at least 5000 years.
(A Short History of Yoga, Georg Feuerstein)