Yoga Day USA lists "Top 10 Reasons to Try Yoga for Life" on their website www.YogaDayUSA.org Unfortunately, most of their reasons have little to do with authentic, traditional Yoga.
THE TRUTH ABOUT YOGA:
Most people in the West, and also many in India,
confuse Yoga with Hatha Yoga, the system of
bodily postures. But Yoga is primarily a spiritual
Yoga has become the health and fitness system
of choice. This is odd because it is the mind -
not the body - that is the main target of all genuine
Yoga practices .... To regard Yoga primarily as a
set of practices for increasing strength and
flexibility while calming the nervous system is
to mistake the husk for the kernel.
(Pandit Rajmani Tigunait)
Like many arts and sciences that are profound,
beautiful, and powerful, yoga has suffered from
the spiritual poverty of the modern world--it has
been trivialized, watered down, or reduced to
cliches. The deep and eternal essence of yoga
has been misrepresented and packaged for
personal profit by clever people.
In ancient times hatha Yoga was practiced for
many years as a preparation for higher states of
consciousness. Now however, the real purpose
of this great science is being altogether forgotten .
The hatha Yoga practices which were designed
by the rishis and sages of old, for the evolution
of mankind, are now being understood and
utilized in a very limited sense.
(Swami Satyananda Saraswati)
Yoga is not mere acrobatics . Some people suppose
that Yoga is primarily concerned with the
manipulation of the body into various queer
positions, standing on the head, for instance, or
twisting about the spine, or assuming any of the
numerous odd poses which are demonstrated in
the text-books on Yoga. These techniques are
correctly employed in one distinct type of Yoga
practice, but they do not form an integral part of
the most essential type. Physical posture serve
at best as an auxiliary, or a minor form of Yoga.
(Swami Chidananda Saraswati)
Many false and incomplete teachings have been
propagated in its name, it has been subject to
commercial exploitation, and one small aspect
of Yoga is often taken to be all of Yoga. For
instance, many people in the West think it is a
physical and beauty cult, while others think it
is a religion. All of this has obscured the real
meaning of Yoga.
Through the discipline of Yoga, both actions and
intelligence go beyond these qualities [gunas] and
the seer comes to experience his own soul with
crystal clarity, free from the relative attributes of
nature and actions. This state of purity is samadhi.
Yoga is thus both the means and the goal. Yoga
is samadhi and samadhi is Yoga.
(B. K. S. Iyengar)
The main objective of hatha Yoga is to create an
absolute balance of the interacting activities and
processes of the physical body, mind and energy.
When this balance is created, the impulses
generated give a call of awakening to the central
force (sushumna nadi) which is responsible for
the evolution of human consciousness. If hatha
Yoga is not used for this purpose, its true
objective is lost.
(Swami Satyananda Saraswati)
The goal of Yoga is Yoga itself, union itself, of the
little self and the True Self, a process of awakening
to the preexisting union that is called Yoga.
Yoga has to do with the realization through direct
experience of the preexisting union between Atman
and Brahman, Jivatman and Paramatman, and
Shiva and Shakti, or the realization of Purusha
standing alone as separate from Prakriti.
(Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati)
You use the body as a medium to bring the mind
back to the brain. Perfect marriage between body
and mind. Then, you can reach and knock the
door to the spirit....
Yoga is free. It belongs to the earth. It's a god.