- Super User
When most of us hear the word yoga, we visualize super bendy, gooey-muscled gurus and impossible contorted poses. If we know a little more, we may think of relaxation or centering and strengthening. While it’s true that yoga can be all of these things, just 5 or 10 minutes of daily yoga can relax both body and mind, releasing tension that accumulates in the muscles, and pacifying an overworked brain. In actuality, yoga is so much more.
The term “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word for unification, as in to “yoke” or connect. Yoga was originally intended to describe a complete physical, emotional, mental and spiritual practice that linked of these four aspects of being. Historically, this connection was solidified by activities that consisted of 8 fundamental elements which, when they were exercised regularly and consciously, were said to support and promote a joyful and actualized life through moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline. This eightfold path, called Ashtanga – which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb) – directs our minds toward our health and well-being, while helping us acknowledge all aspects of our nature and the nature of others.