The postures and breathing develop harmony, unifying the mind, body and spirit,
The word yoga originates from the sanskrit root yui meaning ‘yoke’ or ‘union’. Yoga is the union of the body, mind, emotions and intellect which through practise of the poses and breath awareness helps us to develop inner harmony unifying the mind, body and spirit.
The ancient Sage Patanjali was an expounder of the Yoga Sutras one of the most important text of yoga covering all aspects of life.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras describe the working of the mind and emotions, and the path to fulfilment. In the first chapter yoga is defined as "the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind". This famous phrase encapsulates both the practice and the ultimate aim of yoga: the means are just as important as this end.
Patanjali defines these means as the 'eight limbs' (astanga) or stages of yoga. Though his eightfold path is sequential, its limbs are seamlessly interwoven. The first two, yama and niyama, offer guidance on personal conduct, both in relation to others and towards oneself. In total, there are ten precepts for living ethically, with potentially transformative effects.
The next two components, asana and pranayama are the physical practices which are most commonly known and which help us experience, practice and observe the other components.
In Sparks Of Divinity, Noelle Perez-Christiaens records B.K.S Iyengar as saying:
There is only one yoga that includes morals, asana, pranayama, concentration, contemplation ,integration. It is wrong to speak of physical yoga and of spiritual yoga; it is a modern discrimination; neither Patanjali nor Hatha Yoga Pradipika speaks of it.