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I have been practicing hatha yoga since 1994, most of my teachers are Anusaura inspired, recently I began practicing Shadow Yoga.
I begin each day with a home practice of sun salutations and standing poses.
In the beginning the first benefit was mountian pose, just standing balanced like a mountian, no matter the weather, wind, snow, heat the mountian is standing strong- I used this pose as I waited in line at the grocery store, instead of being anxious, in a hurry, upset at the person using all the coupons I could just be the mountain.
Balance, feeling calm, knowing you can just breathe, being centered.
Thich Nhat Hanh talks about a boat of Vietnamese refugees who are very scared and says if one person on the boat can remain calm by just breathing they may be able to save everyone on the boat.
I heard a story about a woman in a bank robbery situation and she said she just tried to breathe and remain calm to somehow transfer this to the people holding the guns and she believed this helped the situation and no one was harmed.
There are also the physical aspects, flexibility, strength, benefits for the internal organs, but in the end the practice is to prepare one to be able to sit comfortably to meditate.