Yoga can mean many different things to different people. In its origins, it was an Indian ascetic discipline, all about regulating and controlling the body to gain spiritual wellbeing.
Yoga is still practised in this centuries old manner today. Other people practise yoga simply for their health, finding that the bending and stretching associated with yoga gives them enhanced flexibility as well as increased core strength. Of course, the spiritual and the bodily aims are not incompatible: many practitioners of yoga today find that it helps them to stay healthy and well balanced in both body and mind.
Yoga is as much about the breath as it is about the limbs of the body. Practitioners of yoga are able to control, and maintain awareness of, their breathing patterns in some marvelous ways. Yoga is a fantastic practice to take up, so why not try it for yourself whether you are in India or living abroad.
Yoga went through several stages: the two key stages that are defined as following on from the inscription of the Bhagavad Gita are the classical and post classical periods. It was in the 18th and 19th centuries that yoga teachers from India began traveling westwards. When they did so, they started teaching yoga to other cultures, and so yoga spread and became the wide spread practice that it is today.