I have heard people say that yoga is against their religion. Yoga has roots in Hinduism and I am sure it can be a complete spiritual practice. On the flip side, those friends of mine who do Bikram yoga (the hot yoga in a room heated to 105 degrees) will say that the most spiritual aspect of this yoga is praying for it to be over! Yoga is beneficial for the whole body, easing back pain and creating an all-over strength training regimen using your own body weight. It also emphasizes intention, or mindfulness, which helps to maintain a mind/body connection. Whether you take it one step further and connect with the divine is your choice, but yoga stands alone as a great physical exercise.
I don’t claim to be an expert on yoga. In fact, I used to believe that yoga was only for the fit, flexible people in the world. I tried a yoga class at a local gym but didn’t know the poses and spent the entire class trying to breathe according to the instructor’s directions. Months later, I tried a back yoga DVD (in the comfort of my own home). Slower and easier to follow, these poses aligned my back in a way that I had not felt in years. No, I still didn’t get the breathing down, but my posture was better and I felt much taller. I tried another beginner DVD that focused more on the breathing and some basic yoga poses. I found that I couldn’t go all the way into the poses, but the pace allowed me to follow the breathing and end with a sense of peace. The last yoga DVD that I tried was a weight-loss yoga tape. This was more like an intense work-out with no relaxation and my whole body shaking from holding it in one impossible pose after another.
There are many forms of yoga, some more spiritual and others more physical. I encourage you to research and find the one that fits with your belief system and fitness level. Anyone can benefit from a whole-body yoga session that also quiets the mind.