05 Nov Yoga is not a religion
The other night, while i was having dinner with my family, I said that I will write an article, in my blog, about the chakras( and it will be the next article). The answer of my stepdaughter, Giulia, was a revelation » I am interesting only on the physical part of the yoga». She is only 22 and she just started to practice, and, like her, a lot of people, young and not young are not interested on the spiritual part of yoga. Even me, when I started yoga for first time, I was not aware of what there is behind asanas, I was not aware about the philosophy of life behind yoga practice. So I decided to let my post about the energetic body for later.
The good thing of yoga is that is not a religion, is not dogmatic or authoritarian: you can take what you’re interested of and no one is gonna judge you or condemn you. If you are only interested on the simple physical exercise, you don’t have to go further. No one is gonna force you to become vegetarian, to read the ancient texts of philosophy, or to believe on the power of mantras,or even to meditate. It is possible that some teachers suggest you these practices or even introduce you in the practice of these things. But there is not command in yoga. Luckily, YOGA IS NOT A RELIGION.
For sure you can find yoga in some religion, but yoga itself is not a religion. I mean that some religion include yoga, but yoga does not include any religion.
One person could be complete agnostic, but practice his asanas every day. In the same way could do the yoga practice a catholic, a Muslim, a Jewish, a Buddhist and an Hindu.
Buddhism and Hinduism have a lot in common with yoga, they came from the same spiritual tradition of the far East. But I insist to say that are two different things
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOGA AND RELIGION
– there is not a divinity to adore.
– The practitioner doesn’t have to go to any religious service.
– There are not any sacred images or pictures.
– You don’t have to believe unconditionally.
– You don’t have rituals.
– There are not priests.
– There is not a global leader.
– There is not a political institution.
– You don’t need any particular rituals to start your yoga practice.
– There are not temples or sacred places.
– It doesn’t requires faith.
And this last thing is the best one, because, even if you only practice the asanas as physical practice, you will still enjoy the benefits of it.
I mean you don’t need to believe . In this case you don’t need to have faith to save yourself, what you need is only a constant and a right practice to have all the benefits and the goodness that yoga can give us. It has similarity with hypnotherapy. I remember few years ago I invited my partner to an hypnotherapy session to stop to smoke. He was very skeptical. The hypnotherapist said to us » it doesn’t matter at all, even if you don’t believe that is possible, you’ll stop to smoke anyway» and there it was, this happened three years ago and from that moment he never start to smoke again. Magic? It is possible, if we want to include under that name all the things that science cannot explain.
Translation by: Tania Alicia Piovan