Yoga, derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, means “yoke” or “union.” The practice of yoga uses a variety of movements, breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation techniques to help the practitioner to achieve union (balance) between the mind, body, and spirit. Although yoga is an ancient tradition that can be traced back thousands of years, modern yoga has morphed into a variety of new styles that incorporate classical and contemporary philosophies and methods. Yoga today may be practiced as a form of religion, lifestyle, leisure, or fitness. However, many modern practitioners (70 percent of whom are women) do yoga specifically to improve their health. Yoga has become so popular as a health modality, with about 17 million practitioners in the United States alone, that doctors ...

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