Is Yoga a Religion?

11.12.11



9 Insightful Comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this video. I consider chanting a vital part of yoga, so how about all the chants we dedicate to Hindu Gods? We chant to Ganesha, Hanuman, Siva, Saraswati... how about our mantras for meditation? If we use Om Namah Sivaya, is that not linked to a religious belief? It's a bit like praying to God or Jesus but saying that it's got nothing to do with Christianity. Not sure if reality is as clear cut as she presents it here...

LARUGA said...

Hello. Yes, you definitely bring up valid points. From my understanding she is referring to asana practice, pranayama, as well as other concentration practices. Another thing that seems to differentiate yoga with religion is that yoga is centered around practice. We don't need to necessarily believe anything, we simply practice and come to know or experience certain truths. At least this is the way I see it. The thing is, yoga stems from India as well as Hinduism so often both seem to cross over from time to time depending on who you study with. I am not sure there is any clear cut explanation. More than anything, I think Kimberly is talking to those who misrepresent yoga wildly, often scaring people who may be connected to a certain religion, from trying it. Thanks for your comment.

Grimmly said...

Does seem overly simplistic. I agree that she's talking about asana practice but just seems to add to the problem of equating yoga with asana. Ramaswami would also suggest the you avoided chanting if you had another religion as it could be confusing, suggested using an equivalent from your own religion. He also suggested that although Patanjali mentions Ishvara, it was included (possibly even added later) for the religious minded, that you didn't need to be religious to follow Patamjali's method and of course Smakhya, yoga's ground, was non theistic..... and yet. I do wonder sometimes in our own context how Krishnamacharya and Jois would stress the devotional aspect of the practice employing the Gita and concepts of surrender, for example. Scratch the surface of ashtanga and you get the Gita, scratch it some more you get Samkhya, layers upon layers. Fascinating question though, thanks for posting it.

LARUGA said...

I hear you, but really, I feel it is simple. Our Western minds love to complicate things. Yes, I realize there is more to yoga than asana, but I always find it amusing when asana is downplayed. It's a concentration practice like anything else. Is it everything? No, obviously not, but also I don't see there being a hierarchy with the various disciplines. At the bottom of each well is the same thing anyway. Maybe, my contemplation is too limited, but I see everything as connected and interrelated anyway. Ultimately science and religion are ONE.

Interesting, though, I had a college professor, who had an Indian background and she said that you could practice Hinduism and follow the religion of your family origin. At the time I thought that was VERY interesting, and provocative for some. It came from her own mouth. A practicing Hindu.

Anyways . . . :)))))))

gsabino said...

Hey Laruga;

I thought this might be interesting to add:

http://www.hafsite.org/media/pr/yoga-hindu-origins

It's complicated...

Laruga Glaser said...

Ah-ha. Seem to be . . . Thanks for the link! Gonna check it out.

Savim said...

You can practice Hinduism and still belong to other religion because Hinduism is not a religion in the traditional sense but a way of life or philosophy that has evolved over thousands of years. There is no one founder or controlling authority! The correct name should be Sanatana Dharma or the Eternal Natural Way. The objective is self-realization or experience god and the four paths are Bhakti yoga, Gnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Raja Yoga. Based on the proclivities of an individual, he or she can choose one path or a combination. What we call Yoga in the West is only a small part of the Raja Yoga tradition which consists of the eight (Ashtanga) steps. Therefore, it is more correct to say that yoga (asana) is a spiritual practice rather than a religion.

Laruga Glaser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laruga Glaser said...

Thank you, Savim!

 

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