I hope that people won't view the poses as the purpose of yoga. I think yoga is fundamentally about maintaining a steady breath and alignment of the body in all poses (or asanas) in the pursuit of mindfulness.
Using the physical body as the main component of a spiritual practice is newly popular and barely existed just a few decades ago. Prior to that, asana was viewed as a single limb on a larger tree, mostly used as a way to get the body ready to sit in meditation for a long time without distraction.
Yoga is more than just stretching and relaxation. Daily yoga practice includes a comprehensive system that builds strength in the body and mind. There are some key postures that helped me access the deep reservoir of inner fortitude that every person contains within.
I gravitate to these postures to counteract the negative effects of sitting many hours at a time in my profession that is added to the time I spend sitting while driving. Darlene tells me to breathe in space around the heart and connect the arms and shoulders to my heart.
This one I like to do in the office in between patients to clear my head and heart. Hardly a day goes by when I don't look for and do this posture at some point to lift my spirits and switch up my proverbial energy.
Summer is winding down, but we still have some hot, humid days to deal with before the crisp fall weather arrives. Yoga can help cool the body to better deal with high heat and humidity during the summer.