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a school or tradition of Hindu philosophy and practical teaching that ultimately seeks to achieve mystic union of the self with the Supreme Being, or of the human spirit with the universal spirit, through a prescribed mental discipline and physical exercises. Yoga exercises, including regulation of breathing and the adaptation of bodily postures (see asana), are used as a means of releasing tension and redirecting energy (i.e., prana; see chi) and achieving a state of self-control, physical and mental relaxation, and finally deep contemplation. [Sanskrit, “union” or “yoke”]
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