There is a growing trend to practicing Yoga for many different reasons, which include attaining the yoga body or physique, relaxation and peace of mind, or to prevent injury and ailments. Americans mainly practice Hatha Yoga, which focuses on postures and stretching the body.
Yoga, which is derived from the sacred Sanskrit language of India, meaning *union* or *to yoke or harness*. Yoga is a way or path to transcendence and liberation from the self and the ego by purifying the mind and body. Practicing yoga leads to a union with the mind and body or the individual and universal consciousness. In other words, yoga is the union with the Individual Self and the Universal Self. Yoga predates all other religions and has influenced and inspired many other traditions and philosophies. Yoga is better understood as a union of the physical, physiological, mental, emotional, and intellectual bodies, which leads to a purposeful and balanced life.
There is simply no other discipline quite like yoga because it utilized the body, mind and spirit, all in one practice. Yoga is indeed a spiritual path that is based on ancient sacred philosophy, but one does not need to make an ethical decision when practicing yoga, rather finding your own path is wholly accepted. The holistic benefits of yoga are suitable for the young or old, sick or well, with any religious background. The secrets of yoga are inwardness, concentration, and purification of mind and body with cleansing thoughts and food. Indian philosophy states that within man is the spirit that is the center of everything. *Internal equilibrium is the basis and the ground for the higher illumination,* The cultural Heritage of India (Vol. I) - published by The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata, India