Okay, Is Yoga Just Stretching?

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Dare I say I have heard that question countless number of times, and suffice it to say that of course I know the asker means well by asking “Well, what exactly is yoga?” So, in an attempt to answer the question and well, give any future inquirers something to look up, I will go over the question today.

Today most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.

However, the word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline. Its ultimate goal is the union of man with God or the universe in one breath. Furthermore, it aims to liberate the spirit as the mind and spirit are equally involved in its practice.

Needless to say, yoga is indeed the oldest existing physical-culture system in the world. Besides being a systematic and scientifically proven path to attaining physical fitness, it delays aging, rejuvenates and improves appearance, maintains suppleness and increases vitality and the creative part of life.

Nonetheless, in spite of its immense popularity, as is evidenced by its use amongst such celebrities as Madonna, Sting, Russell Simmons and Evander Holyfield to name a few, some big misconceptions of Yoga still exist.

For example, some people believe that it is too hard and takes too long to perform or that it is basically a stretching exercise considering its appearance.

However, I must add quickly that even with the practice of its core warm-up routine alone known as the Sun Salutations, Yoga can easily be practiced in about 15 minutes a day or more as desired.

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