Yoga is both, a physical and mental exercise practiced since ancient times. It resulted from human desire to better understand oneself, and long for a longer and healthier life. For over 5,000 year, the practice of Yoga has been passed on through countless generations of teachers and student, each giving a piece of their own experience to ultimately create what is nowadays known as Yoga. Practicing yoga should eventually lead to a perfect harmony of mind and body.
Your body is what enables you to work and grow so it should be cared for and respected. This is why one of the most important aspects of yoga is exercise. It helps make the body more healthy and therefore more useful. The second aspect is breathing which is important as breath is believed to be what gives life to the body. Proper breathing and exercise are what prepare you for meditation, which helps you relieve stress and calm your mind. Thanks to those three aspects combined, you will gain a healthy body and a clear mind by practicing Yoga regularly. The most popular school of yoga is Hatha Yoga which is a combination of postures with proper breathing. It is what most people associate with yoga, but there are a lot of other schools of Yoga as well.
One of the common misconceptions about Yoga is that it is a religion, when it has nothing to do with worshiping any gods. In fact, it is about understanding everything contained within the mind and body of a person, while religions support devotions to outside figures. Yoga was also not derived from Hinduism, as a lot of people believe. The technique was adopted by the religion, but it was present for a long period of time prior to that. Practicing yoga does not require changing personal religious views in any way.
So if you are looking for a type of exercise that will clear your mind and make you healthier while reducing risk of back pain, depression, and heart diseases, Yoga is the perfect choice.