Here there are so many yoga studios that I drive by on the way to practically anywhere. In most places instructors only teach postures and flexibility of the body (asana), in some places they add breathing technics (part of pranayama).
But the word yoga does not mean bodily exercises, it means connection. Connection to the Absolute. Yoga, as it is known here, is a part of a system that has 8 parts. Hence the name Ashtanga, ashta means eight and anga means part.
Here they are:
1- Yama : Restricting rules of behavior (don’ts) – has 5 parts
2- Niyama : Inner qualities or personal code (do’s) – has 5 parts as well
3- Asanas : Body postures
4- Pranayama : Breathing exercises, and control of prana (life energy)
5- Pratyahara : Control of the senses
6- Dharana : Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
7- Dhyana : Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
8- Samadhi : Union with the Divine
I am very happy for people who support or regain their physical health by doing “yoga” and encourage to learn more about yoga and get benefits of the whole system – for their body, mind and soul (and karma)!