S.E. Ray at Eternal Path has compiled the following helpful information:

The Register-Guard reported that 35 million Americans will try yoga for the first time this year. Once confined to those interested in Eastern spirituality, yoga is catching on among fitness fanatics, aging baby boomers and other unlikely enthusiasts who claim the mind/body practice does everything from heal illness to tighten abs. Wal-Mart’s Web site exploits some 990 yoga products while Target exceeds 4,200. Hatha yoga exercises are taught as part of YMCA physical education programs, in health spas and given as physical exercise on TV programs. The majority of clubs now offer yoga classes. Yoga is also incorporated into institutional and liberal churches on the assumption that these techniques are nothing more than physical exercises which condition the mind and body…

[But] the etymology of the word “Yoga” comes from the Sanskrit term that means “to join” or “to unite.” This definition reflects the underlying philosophy of yoga. Hindus claim that God is a vital energy source from which all reality emanates. People can be connected to this universal life force and are archetypes of it. According to Hindu teaching, the troubled human condition is caused by a lack of awareness of this vital link between humans and the cosmic consciousness. Yoga is a tool that Hindus pursue to rectify the need for unification.

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