|Yoga is an ancient Indian practice, dating back to 2500 BCE, possibly even earlier. It is a scientific system designed to bring the practitioners health, happiness, and a greater sense of Self. In Yoga, the body and mind are linked to create a state of internal peacefulness and integration, bringing the individual from a state of separation to a self-unity that is flexible, accepting and whole. At the practical level, and included in the contemporary definitions of Yoga, are the actual physiological/mental techniques themselves. These techniques concentrate on posture and alignment, as well as creating a higher consciousness. Yoga utilizes stretching postures, breathing, and meditation techniques to calm the emotional state and the mind, and tone the body
As far back as the third century B.C., Patanjali, the father of classical yoga philosophy, defined yoga as "the cessation of the modification of the mind." Yoga, which in Sanskrit means "union," focuses on altering the state of a person's mind and using the powers of the mind to generate healing within the body. By assuming a series of asanas (positions) and concentrating on breathing, people who practice yoga keep their spine supple and systematically exercise all of the body's major muscle groups. This in turn strengthens the organs by increasing respiration and blood flow.