Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on the soul. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
Varanasi has been a great centre of Indian philosophy, spiritualism, Ayurveda, Yoga and mysticism. Yoga is a way of balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions. Yoga is done through the practice of asana (the physical exercise), pranayama (the breathing technique) and mudra. All these practices purify the body, mind and energy system to prepare the ground for higher practice of meditation and for the ultimate experience of cosmic consciousness.
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word "Yog", which means "unity" or means to join. This unity or joining is described in spiritual term as the union of Shakti (energy) with his consort Shiva (the supreme consciousness) and this is the central theme of yoga. At Varanasi, there is a great tradition of Yoga learning and this continues even to this day. Traditionally, Ashrams and Muths have been the centre of Yoga practice and learning and with the establishment and development of modern institutions of learning, Yoga has been given due place in their curriculum.