The word yoga means yoke or union in Sanskrit.
It's been around for thousands of years in various forms and can mean many things to different people, but ultimately as union between the mind, body and spirit. Yoga is about creating balance across the body, developing both strength and flexibility in the mind and body.
Asanas are a system of movements to create strength and flexibility in every part of the body, stretching and toning the muscles, joints and spine. These postures can be held for up to several minutes, or they can flow between different postures, creating a flow Vinyasa practice creating heat in the body, toning it and increasing stamina.
Many of us have lost the art of breathing correctly. Breath is the essence of life and most of us take it for granted. It's the first thing we do when we're born and the last thing when we leave. Every moment in between is connected by breath. We use different exercises to increase lung capacity and help focus the mind.
Meditation, or its cousin relaxation, helps us to unwind, let go and be at peace with ourselves. We practice this at the end of a yoga class for about five or ten minutes, it helps with every day stress and pressure.