Yoga is Doing some Asanas to get physically fit or a set of poses only a few contortionists can do is what common misunderstanding might say.
Yes, Yoga can be a means to get physically fit, but it offers more than that.
If one is a true Yoga practitioner, he / she will say it is not just physical fitness, but gaining mastery over one’s mind too.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word and its root is “Yuj”, which means union or joining. Yoga is the union of One Self with the Universal Self (Jeevatma with Paramaatma)
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which is the bible of Yoga says “Yogaha Chitta Vritti Nirodhaha” (योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः Sutra # 1.2).
Yoga gives us the power to concentrate on an object or subject and also to remain calm and quiet all the time.
If we are determined in doing / getting something, we can focus on that desired thing. But, remaining calm and composed in all situations is the most challenging aspect of our life. This is the aspect that Yoga helps us with.
If we make Yoga a part of our daily life, it sure helps us in reaching the ultimate goal of Self-Realization / becoming one with Brahman.
Yoga Series / Article # 1