At the heart of yoga lie practices which hone the capacity for embodied awareness, mindfulness, equanimity and kindness. These practices intend to foster the ability to experience in the immediacy of the body the interconnectedness of all life, and to bring this awakened awareness into the world.
When we perform yoga asanas and breathwork as a practice of embodied awareness and engage the self-corrective intelligence of the body, our bodies stretch, both physically and psychologically, into new postures and new attitudes of openness and well-being.
As holistic practice, yoga asanas lead to the integration of our experience of body, mind and spirit. This integration is felt as a sense of physical and emotional ease, a well being, and an increased range of motion and emotion.
Yoga asanas unfold their dynamic action at many levels: At the level of the body, they lengthen and strengthen every muscle group. This leads to greater strength, freedom of movement and improved posture. By increasing circulation, oxygen supply and elimination of toxins, yoga asanas equally improve physiological functioning of every organ and organ system, reestablishing, maintaining, and improving health. No less importantly, by focusing the attention, asanas and breathing practices improve our capacity to concentrate and to quiet our mind.
Yoga also leads to a transformation at the emotional level: Through the practice of asanas and breath awareness, emotions and feelings that have taken a silent shape in our muscles, our posture and movements, may come to awareness and be released. Through this process the body is freed and better able to return to its natural balance.
See also Yoga - Alchemical Cauldron of Transformation. and Yoga and the Emotions - Jungian Psychology and Yoga.