Yoga originated in India, as do many of the other concepts discussed on this site. Indian culture and spiritual exploration has been around for a very long time and their spiritual insight and knowledge would be equivalent to what the Western World has increased knowledge in the technology field.
India is one of the top experts in the world on spiritual awareness and practices. One of the most well known, especially in the Western World is that of yoga. However, it seems that some of these practices in the United States and other Western Cultures have become more of a physical exercise program than an spiritual art form.
That is not to say that there are not pure teachers of the Yogic Principles to be found in the West, just that popular culture and common understanding sees this as a form of exercise to get into shape, with the whole spectrum of different shops supplying different insight and deeper spirituality into the practice.
I am here to say that even yogic movements as an exercise, by their inherent breathing and full body balance emphasis, will help you in your spiritual journey regardless of whether this takes you into the practice of becoming a Yogi, or spiritual master.
It is also comforting to know that the schools in India also differ in discipline and focus and that more people are realizing that spiritual practices evolve with the society. There should be no thinking that practicing an Indian spiritual art form is doing any disrespect no matter what you may read.
These exercises consists of not only a set of disciplines but of different poses, or postures, that open up the chakra energy channels and different energy conduits throughout the body. It helps the individual develop a physical balance along with a spiritual balance. Many of the poses mimic nature, such as tree stance, or downward dog, or sometimes human principals such as the warrior stance. Each posture, each movement is to be fluid and strong with a clear mind and steady breathing.
Yoga is a discipline. It takes practice and this practice develops into a more whole self which translates positively in every area of your life. Business decisions, family issues and other life experiences are less stressful and handled with a balanced ease that mimics the work you put in through Yogic Principles and Postures.
You have a few choices when it comes to studying and practicing Yoga. From your home you can purchase any beginner DVDs, some are better than others, but all will allow you to begin learning poses and technique from your own home, with privacy and focus. Even more motivating is joining a group or an actual class that provides the interpersonal support that can be the extra drive to make spiritual exercise and physical exercise a habit.