“Yoga is the art and science of living, and is concerned with the evolution of mind and body. Therefore, yoga incorporates a system of disciplines for furthering an integrated development of all aspects of the individual. When we start the disciplines of yoga we usually begin with the outermost aspect of the physical personality, the physical body.
Through the practice of the physical postures, or asanas, the spinal column as well as the muscles and joints are maintained in a healthy and supple state. Subtle massage takes place at the location of different glands, balancing many physiological abnormalities such as hyperthyroid or hyphothyroid problems, faulty insulin secretions, and other hormonal imbalances.
Pranayama, or breathing techniques, are important not only for supplying fresh oxygen and strengthening the lungs but because they have a direct effect on the brain and emotions. The emotional stability gained through pranayama frees mental and creative energies in a constructive way, and the child exhibits more self-confidence, self-awareness and self-control.
Relaxation, by withdrawing the awareness from the external environment, or pratyahara, reduces the stress of daily living experiences. Techniques of pratyahara affect all aspects of the individual, because physical and mental relaxation through withdrawal of the empirical awareness, and concentration, the focusing of attention, or dharana, are important elements of that technique.
Sustained concentration, or dhyana, is important for stilling the turbulent mind and channeling focused mental energy creatively. Equanimity in daily life can be experienced and later samadhi, the ultimate aim of all yoga practices, is brought about through constant repetition of yogic disciplines. The practice of yoga creates a balance in the total personality.”
– Swami Satyananda Saraswati