Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as "union." Today, the term "yoga" often conjures up images of twisted contortions of the body, complicated postures and stretching. But yoga is more than just a physical activity. At its essence, yoga is a discipline that unites the mind, body, and spirit through a number of contemplative practices including breathing exercises (pranayama), movement (asana) and meditation (dhyani).
It is believed that the Indian sage Patanjali collected the practice of yoga into 195 statements of philosophical guidance known as the Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras, although created an estimated 2,000 years ago, continues to serve as a guideline for most of the yoga that is practiced today.