Yoga means to yoke, to bring together, or union. Yoga is very old and every time it surfaces in a culture or with a group that group remakes it.
In this country, yoga has become hip and popular. Why? Because yoga feels good.
How does it create a union? It relaxes the flight, fight or freeze [sympathetic nervous system] aspect of our being, where most of us live and takes us into the part of our being physiologically that brings in relaxation [parasympathetic nervouse system]. In doing this it brings parts of our being together into a more harmonious state.
All exercise releases tension. Yoga, done with awareness and integrity, works on a deeper level and takes the practitioner into the inner self. Yoga exercises the body and also massages the inner organs.
In this country we focus on asana. Yet how appropriate is that a culture that focuses on the physical in so many ways finds its way into yoga via the physical? Asana literally means to take a seat. Anytime we are doing a yoga pose we are doing asana.
The anonymous "they" say if you only do one pose a day, do downward dog. It stretches everything, especially the spine. And that same "they" say, you are as young as your spine.
But what if if you cannot do downward dog? It is a pose where your but is in the air and you are shaped like an upside down V. Well, there are ways to get the benefit of that pose without stressing your shoulders or legs using a wall. There are always ways to do what yoga asks of you.
Yoga is giving and the more you give yourself the more you have to give.