The word "yoga", from the Sanskrit root "yuj", translates as "to yoke" or "to join" or "to unite". Thought to be over 5,000 years old, the science of yoga is one of six Hindu schools of philosophy, with the basis for this practice located in many ancient Hindu texts, notably the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Yoga practice is an extensive subject but a very simple definition of yoga is a practice of ethics, devotion, meditation, and postures (asanas) with the goal of uniting the mind, body and soul, and the ultimate goal being self-realization/liberation. Yoga practitioners are referred to as a yogi, yogin (male) or yogini (female).


Yoga was first written about over 3500 years ago in the Rig Veda and carvings from 5000 years ago depict a person in a meditative pose. According to the Bhagavad Gita there are four main branches of yoga: Karma yoga; Jnana yoga; Bhakti yoga and Dhyana yoga.

Quotes to ponder:

Yoga is 99% practice and 1% knowledge. ~Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world. ~B.K.S. Iyengar

Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God. ~Krishnamacharya

The meaning of our self is not to be found in its separateness from God and others, but in the ceaseless realization of yoga, of union."~Rabindranath Tagore

"The state of severance of union with sorrow is known by the name of yoga."~Bhagavad Gita

When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.~ (Hatha Yoga Pradipika)

Whatever you do, make it an offering to me - the food you eat, the sacrifices you make, the help you give, even your suffering. In this way you will be freed from the bondage of karma, and from its results both pleasant and painful. Then, firm in renunciation and yoga, with your heart free, you will come to me.~Bhagavad-Gita