Definition of Yoga
The word Yoga has its root in the Sanskrit word "yug" which means to merge, join, or unite. Yoga is the union of the soul with the eternal truth, a state of unalloyed bliss, arising from conquest of dualities. The study of Yoga discipline sharpens the power of discernment and leads towards understanding the true nature of the soul which cannot be fully comprehended by the senses or the intellect alone.
Asanas are a distinguishing feature of yoga. They take one from the physical to the spiritual plane. They are the beginning as well as the foundation of
Yoga Vidya, the Science of Yoga.
Yogasanas exercise the entire body and revitalise all the physiological systems, resulting in a sound mind in a sound body, as each asana cultivates the body and the mind evenly. Yogasanas and Pranayama have stood the test of time for centuries and are helpful for all the needs of men and women in their pursuit of perfect health and supreme happiness.
There is a vast difference between Yoga and other physical exercises. Asanas are psycho-physiological, unlike physical exercises which are purely external. Although asanas develop body consciousness, they also generate internal consciousness and stabilise the mind.
Asanas develop muscles, as do physical exercises and they remove stiffness so that body movements become free. However, they are concerned more with the physiological body and the vital organs than with the physical body. Each asana works on the entire system. It is an organic exercise which eradicates toxins.
Asanas and pranayama are a great help for the proper functioning of the brain, the nerves, and the spine.
Yoga can be done by all at any age. It is particularly beneficial to those over 40 when the recuperative power of the body is declining and resistance to illness is weakened. Yoga generates energy and does not dissipate it. It makes one energetic and full of vitality.
"Yoga, A Gem for Women ", by Geeta Iyengar