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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yoga is an ancient practice involving the discipline of the mind, spirit, and body in order to arrive at a transcendental state of body and mind in which a person can be at peace and experience the self as "union with the divine." The word yoga has come from the ancient Sanskrit word yuz which means "yoking" as in harnessing oxen as a team. In modern terms, it is interpreted as implying the union of body, mind, and spirit.  This union can be accomplished through meditation. In order to prepare oneself for such meditation that involves much self-discipline, stretching and strengthening of the body is requisite. This physical end of yoga is termed asana, which is one of eight aspects of yoga known as the "limbs of yoga," which are as follows:

  1. Yama - ethical guidelines
  2. Niyama - moral guidelines
  3. Asana - the practice of physical positions suitable for meditation
  4. Pratyayama - breathing practices
  5. Pratyahara - the act of pulling the senses from the exterior world in order to remove all abstractions
  6. Dharana - the ability to concentrate and ignore distractions
  7. Dhyana - Complete meditation. There is no focus upon any single idea or thing. The concentration is universal.
  8. Samadhi - Peace of mind and body that is total: A transcendence of mind and body as one spirit unites with the universe.

After Gurus from India introduced yoga to the Western civilizations, one style of yoga called Hatha yoga became popular as a system of physical exercise that is not only beneficial, but also relaxing. Yoga has also been employed as an alternative medicine, although studies are inconclusive. Still, some studies reveal that yoga reduces blood pressure, it aids in reducing back pain, and it provides positive intervention for cancer patients, providing them exercises that help to give them more positive outlooks and reduce anxieties that cause them sleep-loss and nervousness.

Wiggin42 | Student

Yoga is also a spiritual path. The focus on meditation is to strengthen the body. The focus on exercise (Yoga can be quite vigorous!) is to strengthen the body. I've found yoga to be a wonderful stress reliever. It centers me and is a nice slow break from the hustle and bustle of life. The website I linked has helpful guidelines on specific poses and their purpose. 

amysor | Student

Yoga is a form of mediatation. Where you concentrate on breathing and flexability. It orginated from Hindu culture. Yoga is widely popular in America today.

user396107 | Student

Yoga is to connect with your inner spirit. It helps to relax your body and is usually a series of exercises. Yoga has been getting quite popular among the population as it helps to relieve the stresses of daily life. I myself don't do yoga but I can see its increasing popularity. 

parama9000 | Student

Yoga aims to calm the body, mind, spirit through a series of exercise usually done in a quiet and serene environment.

Yoga is exercise of the mind body and spirit. It is commonly used to relieve tension and has numerous benefits to your body. Yoga has several asanas or techniques and the most common ones used are breathing and stretching. 

Jyotsana | Student

Yoga is a mediation that helps you relieve your stress. Yoga helps us concentrate our mind, our body. It help us relieve our stress and mind. It gives us energy.

CaitlynnReeves | Student

Americanized Yoga invlolves stretching and excersize movements that are meant to strengthen your body and clear your mind. Many health benefits have been attributed to doing yoga such as an increase in energy, metabolism, and the immune system. It focuses primarily on flexibility and breathing techniques, but some types (as listed above) involve meditation. 

fashionableb1 | Student

Yoga derives from Yuj (which is from the ancient Indian language of Sanskirt) meaning Yoking as in a team of oxen. In today's contemporary practice, it is often interpreted as meaning Union with purpose of uniting the mind, body, and spirit.