It has come to my attention that there is an underlying assumption among many that deters folks away from yoga, which is the belief that yoga is affiliated with religion. Yoga is a non-religious practice and activity meant to bring peace and wellness to body and mind.
According to Barkataki (2020), "It is important to address that yoga itself is separate from religion, though it has coexisted along with many" (p.13). She continues by writing, "Yoga is not under the purview of any one religion, but developed alongside Sramana traditions that emerged as Jain and Buddhist as well as Vedic and Hindu traditions and later was influenced by Islam and Christianity" (p.13).
If we lay out all the major world religions on the table, we can easily see that many of the teachings are aligned or even seem to be a direct pattern seen in yogic or Vedic teachings. I am talking about the 'bones' of the teachings, based on a code of ethics, which are strikingly similar to the code of ethics seen in many of the world's major spiritual traditions. These influence our morals, values and ultimately our behaviors in daily life. Some examples of similarities commonly found are among these are: loving kindness, compassion, forgiveness, helping others, non-harming, honesty etc. These are also fundamental to the foundation which yoga is built upon. For this reason, yoga is not prejudice against any religion nor does it subscribe to any religion so as to be open and welcoming to folks with a multitude of personal preferences, belief systems and backgrounds.
The deep intention of yoga is UNITY, so as to facilitate bringing us together rather than focusing on "otherness" and separateness. At no other moment in my life have I seen a time in which unity could be so necessary for the evolution of human and planetary consciousness. So, let us come together, respect, grow, invite abundance and support one another.
If you have questions, comments or wish to discuss this topic further, the author is happy to offer a safe space to share. This blog post is meant to only be a very brief introduction, due to the depth of the topic being incredibly vast and multifaceted. The author, Rose E-RYT500, has a graduate level education in Psychology, Religion & Philosophy and has been studying and teaching Yogic and Vedic knowledge for many years.
Barkataki, S. (2020). Embrace Yoga's Roots: Courageous ways to deepen your yoga practice. Ignite Yoga and Wellness Institute: Orlando, FL.
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