Yoga is not (simply) excercise. Yoga is union: union of the body, mind, heart and soul. Yoga is finding out who you truly are. Yoga teaches us not to identify with the body-mind complex but to realize we are something deeper, something more.
Yoga originated in ancient India around the sixth or fifth century BCE. Yoga is mentioned in the Rigveda but is widely believed to have originated before this. What we do know is that modern Yoga begins with Patanjali. Patanjali codified the Yoga Sutras nearly 2500 years ago. The first four lines in the Yoga Sutras are as such: “1.1 Now, Yoga begins; 1.2 Yoga is the calming the modifications of the mind; 1.3 Then the seer dwells in his own nature; 1.4 Otherwise he is of the same form of the modifications.”
Most people in the West do Yoga because of the physical benefits AND there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just not (truly) Yoga. In Hatha Yoga (the Yoga of movement), we put the body in different physical postures, asanas, on the mat to prepare for different psychic postures in life. The mat is the lab and is where we experiment stilling the modifications of the mind so that we can carry this into real life problems. This is accomplished using the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga.
By using the tools of Ashtanga Yoga we can completely, yes I said completely, relieve ourselves from stress in our lives regardless of what is going on.
Let's do a small thought-experiment based on how you are, probably, trying to achieve peace and happiness. You have likes and you have dislikes, if you get what you like you are happy and if you do not get what you like you are unhappy; if you avoid what you dislike you are happy and if you cannot avoid what you dislike you are unhappy. Does this process work? NO, yet you continue doing this hoping you will find happiness; this is very clearly the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over trying to get a different result)! To prove even further how crazy this behavior is let's say you always get what you want so at first you are very happy, eventually you get tired of these things and become bored. After quite some time this boredom becomes so intense that what once brought you so much joy now is bringing you unhappiness! This is just too crazy. Have you ever actively sought something that you thought would not bring you happiness? NO, if you have, you may need more than Yoga... Please contact me if you think anything I have said is false.