Translating as 'to yoke' or 'union', Yoga has been practised for over 5,000 years, affirming it as a powerful system of exercise that harmoniously integrates body and mind. Scientific studies reveal Yoga's many health benefits, and it is no wonder that it has fast become part of fitness programmes around the world. Contemporary Yoga practitioners range from executives managing daily stress, to Hollywood stars developing sleek, strong physiques. Even prominent athletes like tennis star, Andy Murray, have added Yoga to their training regimes to strengthen and prevent injury in their muscles and spines.
Recognising Yoga for its physical benefits alone would of course diminish the rest of what it has to offer. By practising Yoga regularly, you may find that you also begin to cultivate more clarity and focus of mind. Typical classes teach one of the many types of Hatha Yoga, which includes postures (asanas) and breathwork (pranayama) to prepare for relaxation or meditation at the end of the practice.
You of course do not have to be a Hollywood star or famous sportsperson to be able to experience Yoga's many benefits, nor do you need to be Hindu. Whether you simply want more energy to run after the kids in the garden, or be a weightlifter who seeks more suppleness, Yoga may be adapted for your own unique needs and goals.