Is yoga a religion?

Is yoga a religion ?

Is yoga a religion?

The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yug’ which implies ‘to join ’. The various Yogas represent the means available to human beings to raise the veil of ignorance and illusion (Maya) thereby leading to ‘Realization’. Though the methods may seem different, the aim of Yoga is the same – Self Realization. All the different ways of yoga teach discipline laced with self-control to ensure the methods are effective. The basic aim of yoga is to unite the body, mind, and soul so that a person finds harmony within himself or herself. Yoga is closely associated with the need for physical as well as a mental discipline that helps one consciously gain control over oneself and one’s life. It is perhaps then understandable why the importance of yoga is necessary for our busy and hurried life where disorder is common. The mind and body strive for order and discipline and functions best when they work in union.

Generally speaking, there are four types of human beings, namely: The Active,?The Contemplative, The Emotional and the Intellectual.

•    Active human beings follow the Karma (selfless services) Yoga.
•    Contemplative humans follow the path of Raja (using mental concentration to control and master the mind) Yoga.
•    Emotional ones follow Bhakti (unconditional selfless love and devotion) Yoga.
•    Intellectuals follow the path of Jnana (wisdom) Yoga.

A few great Indian Sages perfected several methods and adapted each to a different temperament enabling more people to reach their goals based on their own mental and physical strength and ability. While to most of us, yoga is simply ‘asanas’ or exercises that are performed, it is much more. It is also the meditative and spiritual practices that help one look inwards. Hatha yoga is usually what most of us consider and understand as yoga. It consists of numerous full-body postures or ‘asanas’ that are practiced to bring harmony within the body. The Buddhists view yoga as a series of meditative processes that bring about enlightenment. Tantra yoga is another popular form of yoga that involves the practice of ‘asanas’ with breathing and heart rhythm.

Importance of Yoga in Today’s World

For most of us, every day is a series of activities listed on our ‘to do’ list. And most often we have to juggle more than two tasks at a time. It is not surprising then that we are often exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally. It is possible to find order in one’s life with the help of yoga. The most important element that yoga brings into your life is discipline. This is because it needs to be done at a certain time, condition and in a certain manner. Breathing is a crucial part of yoga and simply being aware of the way you breathe helps you focus on yourself and makes you aware of your very being.

Yoga is an amalgamation of postures, exercise, breathing, meditation, and relaxation. It is thusly right to state that it has a comprehensive procedure that helps care for your body back to front. The way to yoga is control. This control comes in the form of controlling one’s breathing, control of postures and control of your mind. And at the end of it all, it helps you feel more in control of your body, emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Types of Yoga

There are many different types of yoga that individuals can benefit from and these include the following:
Hatha yoga
Ashtanga yoga
Bikram yoga
Power yoga
Tantra yoga
Ananda yoga
Kripalu yoga
Kundalini yoga
Sivananda yoga
Whichever school of yoga you decide to join you must learn it and practice it under the supervision of a trained yogi. You must understand the many nuances that are characteristic of yoga. The breathing that accompanies an ‘asana’ is as important as the posture one keeps and the amount of time you hold the asana. Yoga can be performed by people of all ages and even those who may suffer from certain diseases. Yoga is known to help with diseases such as those associated with the respiratory system and the circulatory system too, as well as many other conditions.

There are plenty of other Yogas including Laya Yoga (will power/control),   Dhyana Yoga(mastering meditation), Mudra Yoga(symbolic mediation).   Yantra Yoga(mystic), MantraYoga (sacred recitations), Shakthi Yoga(natural forces). It's important to know that all these variations belong necessarily to one of the above mentioned four main Yogas.

As understandable from the above, Yoga is an experience of peace of mind and self-knowledge. Yoga can train the mind psychologically and increase concentration power. Somewhere, this concentration helps one absorb the subtle realities of life with a sense of wisdom and morality.


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