Does Doing Yoga Make You Hindu?

yoga is not

The BBC ran an interesting article a few days ago about the religious implications of Yoga and asked the question ‘Does doing yoga make you Hindu?’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25006926

Absolutely an interesting question but obviously meets a significant amount of prejudice. I actually don’t really agree with the angle the writer has taken about the styles of yoga with more modern styles being more secular and the more traditional styles having more religious implications.

Yoga in it’s essence is a spiritual practice. Spiritual not Religious. Yoga is a science of living, the science of positive physical and mental health, the science of life. The foundations being the Vedic texts which again is highly sacred knowledge based on the most supreme wisdom to which people aspire.

This article to me outlines some of the aspects of competition going on within the yoga community now. Everyone competing for clients. Yoga is not a competition, I trust that the right students for me will find me and be attracted to my style of teaching and more over the teachings of yoga that come through the lineage I have been trained in.

On my About Yoga page – I quote Rod Stryker’s words from his book the ‘Four Desires’

When Yoga is understood in it’s totality, it is not a religion; it is a practical and comprehensive science for realising life’s ultimate aims. The yoga tradition provides one of humankind’s most effective systems for achieving enrichment and happiness in every aspect of life. In short, in the same way that the physical practice of yoga so effectively benefits the body and the mind, the larger science of yoga is similarly powerful in unlocking the vast potentials of your body, mind and spirit. 

Yoga is a practice of connecting yourself to yourself in whatever context that means to you (your inner God/Goddess, your Spirit, your Soul, your inner peace). In the world as we know it, everything is about external wants and desires and achieving happiness through material gain. Rarely is it taught to search your inner world for that and to cultivate your thoughts in such a way to manifest your external world – is that religion? because that is yoga as I know it. The Asana practice (practice of postures) are a physical expression of the yoga sutras (philosophy) and through a culmination of these practice we can start to experience a shedding of unwanted/unhealthy habits, a clearing of the mind and a state of relaxation which brings about a state of inner peace and tranquility. Through learning to honour yourself through a devoted yoga practice, you honour others and there is a heightened sense of compassion that then exists.

I really like the illustration below as it presents a lovely analogy of yoga and the sheer density of wisdom that is inherent within the practice. I still feel like I am merely scratching the surface after having a dedicated practice of over a decade.

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I welcome any thoughts that you would like to share on this.

Namaste (The Light in Me Honours The Light In You)