The word Yoga comes from a Sanskrit word Yuj, which means ‘to join.’ Thus, Yoga is often translated as ‘union.’ Union of what? Union of body, mind and spirit is one interpretation. Another interpretation is union of the individual self with the great Self.

Yoga is often thought of as the series of physical poses and postures, like people putting their foot behind their head, or balancing on one leg with their hands folded together over their heart. This is one aspect of Yoga, called asana, but there are many other aspects of Yoga.  Read about the Eight Limbs of Yoga.

Creating a Yoga Practice

Creating a Yoga practice ususally includes seeking a teacher of Yoga.  In order to find the right teacher for you, read about the different types of Yoga available to you.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga includes the practice of Yoga poses and postures, called asanas. Each asana is more than just a stretch. Yoga asanas are designed to affect the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Which means you may experience many benefits to Yoga beyond just being able to touch your toes. 

Benefits of Yoga include:

  • Improvements in strength and flexibility
  • Greater sense of well-being
  • Improved ability to manage stress
  • Healthy blood pressure levels 
  • Easier breathing through increased lung capacity 
  • Improvements with stress-related conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia

Yoga as a form of Alternative Medicine

There is a growing body of evidence from the scientific community that shows a relationship between the practice of Yoga and the improvement of stress-coping mechanisms and mind-body awareness.  So while the exact nature of improvements to your health may be unknown, what is known is that Yoga is beneficial for a variety of condititions, particularly those that are stress related.

Read more about using Yoga as a form of alternative medicine at National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine