The History of Yoga in Nepal
Updated: Mar 26
Nepal has a rich history and culture deeply rooted in yoga and spirituality. The Nath tradition, which is a part of the Hatha Yoga system, played a significant role in shaping the yoga culture in Nepal. Adinath, Matsyendranath, and Gorakshanath, who were the founders of the Nath tradition, are connected to yogic traditions in Nepal. The Nath yogis used various yogic practices such as asanas, pranayama, and meditation to attain spiritual awakening. They also wore distinctive attire, including a turban on their heads and earrings. The Nath yogis were known to meditate around the bonfire called Dhuna, which was a central practice in their tradition.
Baba Gorakhnath, one of the prominent figures of the Nath tradition, is believed to have lived in Nepal and practiced yoga in the country. He wrote several scriptures on yoga, including the Laya Yoga, which is a form of yoga that emphasizes the dissolution of the ego through the awakening of Kundalini energy. Baba Gorakhnath also blessed King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who united Nepal as Gorkha Nepal, leading to the Nepalese being called Gorkhalis. There is still an ancient Gorakhnath cave close to Gorkha palace in central Nepal. It is known as a cave that Gorakhnath Baba used to meditate in.
Nepal's connection to yoga and spirituality is also evident in the country's Buddhism traditions. Some of the oldest Buddhist texts, including the Pali Canon, were written in the Pali language, which was an ancient language in Nepal. The birthplace of the Buddha, Lumbini, is also located in Nepal.
Today, Nepal is a popular destination for practitioners of yoga who come to the country to immerse themselves in the yogic environment, trek the Himalayas, participate in Vipassana meditation retreats, attend yoga teacher training programs, and more. The country's rich history and culture make it an ideal destination for those seeking spiritual awakening and growth.