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What is Yoga?

Updated: Sep 26, 2018

Good question! Often, when we think of yoga, we think of stretchy pants, bending into the shape of a pretzel, and chanting "Om." And while this is all definitely part of yoga as we practice it in the U.S., these images are the tip of the yoga iceberg. In fact, there are many different schools of yoga that arose at different times throughout human history. They came forth as attempts to address the different spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of particular groups of people.

Yoga first emerged as a

spiritual practice in ancient


Derived from the Sanskrit root word, yuj, meaning "to yoke or to connect," yoga is as a set of physical practices and life disciplines designed to unite. Unite what, exactly?

The answer depends on the branch of yoga, as well as the individual’s personal beliefs. Yoga may mean unity of:

  • Higher self with the lower self

  • Higher knowledge with lower knowledge

  • Mind, body, and spirit

  • You with the Universe

  • You with your highest potential

Yoga meets you where you are that day. That’s why we call it a practice. It is a tool to help us live better, as we are in this moment.


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