The beginning of the practice of yoga is difficult to date. Some scholars suggest the practice started at the dawn of civilization. Others pin point it to ancient times, with the Indus Valley Civilization (3000-1800 BCE), and the Quetta, Harappan, and Mohenjo Daro civilizations. Some texts dated 800-300 B.C. describe the Prana (life force) and energy pathways which became central to Hatha style yoga. Scholars study a text from this epic period that summarizes many ideas and practices of yoga (the Bhagavad Gita Mahabharata poem). This 700-verse work reveal three pathways of yoga: Karma yoga (path of action); Bhakti yoga (path of devotion); and Juana yoga (path of knowledge). Sutras and Tantras were developed in the next period from 300 BCE – 200 AD.
The practice of yoga today in not defined by those original pathways. Today, yoga is a global phenomena entwining different philosophical doctrines and embracing many concepts and practices. You can choose from many different types of yoga whether you want a more physically demanding class or an easy, relaxing, meditative class.
There is Tibetan, Taoist, Bikram, Moksha, Buddist, Power, Kundalini, Iyengar , Ashtanga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Restorative, and Yin yoga.
Anyone can practice yoga.
Learn more about the History of Yoga and its origins at the Ministry of External Affairs, The Government of India entry by *By Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi.