The word yoga means to yoke, to join up, to unite. It means wholeness, oneness, balance, harmony, integration. This can be understood in many different ways. It can be the joining up of all the different aspects of one's being - physical, mental, spiritual. In yoga we are concerned with wholeness - the total person and the oneness of life.
Yoga is replacing conflict and worry with inner peace and harmony. Through the practice of yoga, we come to find our point of balance in a modern, stress-riddled society, where everything is, sadly, very much out of balance.
Many people, through the practice of yoga, come to see their relationship with all living things in a new light.
There blossoms an awareness of the brotherhood of all humankind; tolerance, love and understanding flourish, as well as an appreciation of all other life-forms, animals and plants. In the end, the realisation that we are all part of the Greater Life Principle from which we come. That is the real nature of the oneness.
In yoga, we do not struggle to achieve, we relax, and let things come. Like a little seed planted in a pot; you water it, place it where it will get plenty of light and sufficient warmth. There is no use trying to force things, no use dragging the seed out of the soil and trying to stretch out the roots. You cannot pull at stem in an attempt to speed up the growths or force the buds to open. All you can do is provide the right conditions for growth - come to class, practice at home, read some books, and the rest will blossom if you let it.
It is traditional to practice yoga on a mat - a mat that is used only for yoga and only by you. That way, it becomes filled with your own vibrations, it is your own bit of yoga atmosphere.
Yoga should be practiced on an empty stomach. A gap of three hours may be necessary after a heavy meal or just an hour after a light snack.