What isn't a benefit of yoga?
"Isn't yoga wimpy? Just stretching?"
A. In active yoga asanas we use action and muscle contraction to hold posture. In the process of lengthening and strengthening we may alternate between isometric muscle flexion and eccentric muscle contraction as we deepen into the asana, lengthening into the stretch. People tend to be fixed on certain quantifications, like burning calories, losing body weight, and weight lift capacity. Measures of fitness are benefits of yoga. Health is the goal and health is the way of life.
Increase range of motion
Better lifting form
Better gait (walking or running form)
"Is yoga hard? I'm not flexible enough."
A. Yoga is a process! With the right teacher, yoga meets you where you are. The goal isn't how far you can reach or how contorted you can get. Yoga is not contortionism. It's about healthy conscious engagement of the body.
You Deserve An Embodied Experience!
"Is yoga a religion? Some stuff looks like Hinduism! I'm Christian and don't want to do false worship."
A. Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is a practice and an experience. Only you decide for yourself what to believe in.
Yoga originated in India. If you are to consider that "Hinduism" is the religion of India, Yoga did shoot off from those practices as a means for direct contact with the divine: mysticism. We now understand Yoga as a means of getting the most out of the Self and acheiving your ultimacy. The ancient language of India, Sanscrit, is used in yoga. The real truth lays in the silence of your heart.
With that said, Yoga accepts your religion. I can't tell you if your religion accepts Yoga.
Yoga litterally means the practice of uniting. This could mean uniting the different aspects of self, uniting with God, or higher Self. We get caught up in reductionist perspectives and simplifying things to parts of the whole. We are more than a body. We are more than a mind. We become very disconnected from the Self in day-to-day endeavors and forget our Source. Yoga brings us back together and centered. Yoga does not require you to believe anything. It is a practice handed down for millenia for experiencing your higher truth, your Source.
Raja Yoga preceded Hatha Yoga, which focused more on the mind. There are more forms of traditional yoga. In modern era we have systematized the anatomical alignment for asanas in what we now call Hatha Yoga. Given our attachment to the physical world, in Hatha Yoga we get to work through our physical body to engage the other layers of Self.