Yoga is the Sanskrit word uyj, which is interpreted as union or a method of discipline. A male who practices yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner is called a yogini. Yoga is an ancient practice and meditation which has been around for more than 5,000 years. Yoga Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. Currently, most people practice asana which is a program of physical exercises and postures. Hatha yoga refers to a set of asanas or postures, and sequences of asanas, designed to align ones skin, muscles and bones; to open the spine so that energy can flow, and to purify the body and provide physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.

There is some debate around the topic if practicing yoga and asanas is a form of religious worship to Hindu gods. Others believe that yoga is not a religion, but rather a philosophy for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical and mental body. Many believe it is not necessary to surrender ones own religious beliefs to practice yoga.

It has been reported that there are many benefits associated with practicing yoga. Yoga can:

  • Calm the mind
  • Decrease stress
  • Relieve anxiety
  • Fight stress
  • Improve focus
  • Boost confidence
  • Improve memory
  • Bring happiness
  • Promote positive thinking
  • Reduce migraines
  • Improve flexibility
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Boost energy
  • Improve balance
  • Improve quality of sleep
  • Increase endurance
  • Burn calories
  • Aid weight loss
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Increase heart rate
  • Improve quality of life
  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Relieve migraines
  • Promote quality of sleep
  • Improve breathing
  • Promote healthy eating habits
  • Increase strength

There are many styles of yoga from which to choose. Below are resources that may be helpful in choosing the most appropriate yoga style for individuals.

Yoga Resources

Types of Yoga: A Guide to the Different Styles

Which Type of Yoga is Best for You?