Originating in India over 5000 years ago, yoga is the Sanskrit word for "union". It is a scientific technique for spiritual development. Yoga is a practical aid, a living experience -- not a not a set, rigid thing or religion. It's no longer only for the flower children of the '60s, yoga is now mainstream.
Yoga is much more than sitting in a lotus position and chanting in unison. Yoga is not aerobics, not gymnastic: unlike stretching or fitness, yoga is more than just physical postures. Many people have the misconception that yoga is not really a workout. Yoga is absolutely advantageous for you, but it won't substitute i.e. weight training. In practice, yoga is an applied science of the mind and body. Yoga is considered by many to be the best health maintenance system in the world.
Now you will wonder if learning yoga is really advantageous: some practitioners state that yoga is the meeting of the mind with the divine. Yoga is a form of body conditioning that places emphasis on strengthening the body and the mind while stimulating the soul. It's a wonderful method for exercising the body and mind. Yoga is the oldest known holistic system of personal development.
Yoga is a wonderful tool for becoming better acquainted with your body, says Jyothi Larson, author of Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby (Bantam, 2002). For example, yoga is one of the best activities you can do when you're pregnant: it's gentle to the body while helping you build endurance and flexibility.
What is the difference between meditation and yoga? Meditation is one of the five principles of yoga. For the hindu god Shiva, meditation is a favorite way to pass the time.
How many times a week should I practice yoga? Practice at least 15 minutes a day, for 5 days a week. Discover for yourself why yoga is thought of as a total body healing system.
Can I practice yoga with an injury or medical condition? Anyone can practice yoga, regardless of age, ability or level of health!
How is pilates connected to yoga? The concept of the pilates exercise systems has really taken off in the last few years. Pilates and yoga movements are uniquely combined to create a powerful, yet relaxing workout promoting strength, body awareness, flexibility, and focus. Pilates is followed by restorative yoga, an inwardly directed class meant to restore, revive, and revitalize. People who do pilates regularly feel they have better posture and they are less prone to injury.
Yoga is definitely more than just the "aerobics of India". For many Hindus, yoga is a way of life. Most everyone in India knows that yoga is beneficial for the health in many different ways. Yoga is extremely powerful stuff. If yoga is the key to a longer life then I'm all for it!