UPSC Essentials brings to you its initiative for the practice of Mains answer writing. It covers essential topics of static and dynamic parts of the UPSC Civil Services syllabus covered under various GS papers. This answer-writing practice is designed to help you as a value addition to your UPSC CSE Mains. Attempt today’s answer writing on questions related to topics of GS-2 to check your progress.

Discuss the relevance of yoga in India’s cultural and spiritual legacy. How did yoga develop from its ancient roots to become a worldwide recognized practice?


Discuss the need to update NCERT textbooks to reflect current socioeconomic, scientific, and technological advances.

General points on the structure of the answers


— The introduction of the answer is essential and should be restricted to 3-5 lines. Remember, a one-liner is not a standard introduction.

— It may consist of basic information by giving some definitions from the trusted source and authentic facts.


Festive offer

— It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

— The answer must be preferably written as a mix of points and short paragraphs rather than using long paragraphs or just points.

— Using facts from authentic government sources makes your answer more comprehensive. Analysis is important based on the demand of the question, but do not over analyze.

— Underlining keywords gives you an edge over other candidates and enhances the presentation of the answer.

— Using flowcharts/tree-diagram in the answers saves much time and boosts your score. However, it should be used logically and only where it is required.

Way forward / conclusion

— The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach. However, if you feel that an important problem must be highlighted, you may add it in your conclusion. Try not to repeat any point from body or introduction.

— You may use the findings of reports or surveys conducted at national and international levels, quotes etc. in your answers.

Self Evaluation

— It is the most important part of our Mains answer writing practice. UPSC Essentials will provide some guiding points or ideas as a thought process that will help you to evaluate your answers.


You may enrich your answers by some of the following points

QUESTION 1: Discuss the relevance of yoga in India’s cultural and spiritual legacy. How did yoga develop from its ancient roots to become a worldwide recognized practice?


– Yoga is fundamentally a spiritual practice founded on a highly delicate science that seeks to achieve harmony between mind and body.

— The term yoga means “coming together” or “joining”. Thus, yoga entails the unification of our body, breath, mind, and awareness.

— If we can manage our bodies, we can also control our breathing. If we can regulate our breathing, we can control our thoughts. Peace of mind has an impact on everything. Yoga aims to promote such overall improvement.

— Throughout his life, the average person employs only a portion of his physical and mental abilities. However, yoga can help to awaken and enhance these skills.


Relevance of Yoga

— Any sort of exercise is good for your body and mind. However, yoga is preferable to regular exercise. Other forms of exercise use high-intensity movements to remove body fat and tone muscles.

— Yoga provides the majority of the physical advantages of regular exercise, but because much of it is done slowly, focusing on our breath and bodily motions, it also relaxes the mind, producing an experience similar to meditation.

— It also directs our inner energy in the appropriate direction. This improves our entire health.

— It purifies our neurological system and promotes mental and physical calm. It prevents disease, strengthens the mind, and improves our concentration. Furthermore, yoga is more effective than any other activity in lowering depression and increasing inner joy.

– Yoga can be performed by both children and the elderly. Children under 14 should simply practice a few postures.

Development of Yoga

— Maharishi Patanjali was a guru and one of our civilization’s greatest scientific brains. He wrote complete and authoritative writings on yoga, grammar, and ayurveda to assist humanity purify their thoughts, speech, and bodies, respectively.

— The Patanjali Yoga Sutras are a ground-breaking literature that conveys the full discipline of yoga in simple yet profound sutra form.

— The main sources for information regarding Yoga practices and related literature throughout this period are the Vedas (4), Upanishads (108), Smritis, Buddhist teachings, Jainism, Panini, Epics (2), Puranas (18), and so on.

500 BC – 800 AD

— This period is known as the classical period, and it is also considered the most productive and prominent period in the history and development of Yoga. During this time, Vyasa’s commentaries on the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavadgita, among others, appeared.

— The concept of Mahavir’s Five Great Vows (Pancha mahavrata) and Buddha’s Ashta Magga or Eightfold Path might be considered the origins of Yoga sadhana.

800 AD – 1700 AD

— During this period, Vyasa wrote an important commentary on the Yoga Sutra.

— During this time, the mind was given special attention, and it was clearly demonstrated via Yoga sadhana that both the mind and the body may be brought under control in order to experience equanimity.

— This period is known as the Post Classical period, and the teachings of famous Acharyatrayas such as Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, and Madhavacharya were prevalent at this time.

1700 – 1900 AD

— This is considered the Modern period, during which famous Yogacharyas such as Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Paramhansa Yogananda, Vivekananda, and others contributed to the development of Raja Yoga.


— On December 11, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 to be the International Day of Yoga, thanks to India’s efforts.

— The 10th International Day of Yoga was celebrated in 2024 under the theme “Yoga for Self and Society.”

(Source: Yoga: Priceless wealth bestowed on humanity by ancient sages of Bharat, A lesson from an untold story about the first yoga guru by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,

Points to Ponder

Different practices of Yoga

Yoga during ancient India

Work of Patanjali

Related Previous Year Questions

What are the main features of Vedic society and religion? Do you think some of the features are still prevailing in Indian society? (2023)

Indian philosophy and tradition played a significant role in conceiving and shaping the monuments and their art in India. Discuss. (2020)

QUESTION 2: Discuss the need to update NCERT textbooks to reflect current socioeconomic, scientific, and technological advances.


— The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous institution established by the Government of India in 1961 to support and advise the Central and State Governments on policies and activities aimed at improving school education quality.

— The primary goals of NCERT and its constituent entities are to conduct, promote, and coordinate research in fields connected to school education; compile and publish model textbooks, supplementary material, newsletters, journals; and develop instructional kits, multimedia digital products, and so on.

— The NCERT also engages and collaborates with international groups, visits foreign delegations, and provides numerous training opportunities to educational personnel from developing nations.


Update of NCERT textbooks

— Since Independence, our school textbooks have frequently depicted historical facts in ways that support parties or restricted beliefs. In line with this prevalent narrative, efforts were typically made to avoid acknowledging India’s achievements in art, literature, philosophy, education, science, technology, and economic development.

— The goal was plainly to create a vision of Indian history that obscured India’s significant effect on global civilization, resulting in a distorted perception of our national identity and historical narrative.

— If historical conflicts are put into the school curriculum at inopportune times, they might instill in youngsters a lack of understanding of the larger historical context. In summary, the history taught to our pupils in schools should not breed animosity and prejudice, thereby dividing communities.

— Textbooks that are updated regularly serve to develop social cohesiveness and mutual respect among our students.

— Opposition to serious textbook updates derives from the old restricted ideological thought process, which recognizes that such a posture risks perpetuating historical grievances and animosities into the future.

— The necessary textbook adjustments are required to create a balanced, trustworthy, and reliable historical narrative that emphasizes good examples of conflict resolution and mutual respect. When students hear such instances, they are motivated to adopt these concepts in their own lives.

— Our school textbooks should prioritize preparing students to be responsible and empathic citizens with a deeper understanding of India’s history, while also laying the cognitive and emotional groundwork for future critical critique.

— As a result, any efforts to revise school textbooks that focus on balanced narratives are only the beginning. The foundation that pupils gain from such balanced textbooks will help them develop a deeper historical understanding in later years.


— Universities are autonomous; Their statutory bodies approve the syllabus for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and they have the discretion to choose what is taught to their students and which books to use as reference materials.

— The updated school textbooks must give a fact-based history that encourages a comprehensive understanding of India’s past. As a result, they must correctly highlight national unity, national belonging, and India’s cultural and historical achievements, while avoiding divisive myths.

— An increasing corpus of research indicates that school textbooks must evolve in order to fulfill students’ evolving demands.

(Source: NCERT textbooks need to keep pace with changing times by M Jagadesh Kumar,

Points to Ponder

What is the purpose of revising school textbooks?

Does NCERT provide only school textbooks?

Related Previous Year Questions

Discuss the main objectives of Population Education and point out the measures to achieve them in India in detail. (2021)

How have digital initiatives in India contributed to the functioning of the education system in the country? Elaborate your answer. (2020)

Previous Mains Answer Practice

UPSC Essentials: Mains answer practice — GS 1 (Week 55)

UPSC Essentials: Mains answer practice — GS 1 (Week 56)

UPSC Essentials: Mains answer practice — GS 2 (Week 56)

UPSC Essentials: Mains answer practice — GS 2 (Week 57)

UPSC Essentials: Mains answer practice — GS 3 (Week 57)

UPSC Essentials: Mains answer practice — GS 3 (Week 56)

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