Yoga isn’t my religion
This topic came up a few times since I started to practice Yoga and now I want to tell you that I can be a Yogi without being a Hinduist or a Buddhist!
Not everyone who is running into a Yoga Studio or carries a Yoga mat with him or her has suddenly a religion.
It’s not like “Buy one mat and get a religion for free”.
It is a fact that yoga works with each and every religion.
I am married to a Muslim and therefore I am in a couple of Facebook groups out of curiosity to read how other non Muslim women go along with their Muslim husbands.
What I realized quite quick is that many converted or reverted and are even more strict than a born muslim is.
We had the Yoga topic and I was bombarded with statements like “The wife of a muslim shoulnd’t do this!” as if I would instantly worship a “forbidden” religion.
Here’s my answer:
First of all, yes, my husband is a Muslim, but that doesn’t make me one automatically – like the buy one yoga mat it’s not “marry a Muslim and get his religion for free”. I’m still capable of choosing my own faith!
The second point is that I have never seen Yoga as a religion, why would I?
Many are discussing if you can practice Yoga and still hold your faith.
The history of Yoga started around 5000 years ago and was connected to the Vedras which play a role in the roots of Hinduism.
What you can see nowadays, as they share the same language, is that some chanting refets to hindu gods.
Ok, but not every yogi is sitting in a class and is chanting in hindu (many are not even speaking nor understanding hindu so why would they do it?). There are many many people out there practicing yoga regularly whithout having chanted even once! I’m one of them.
I use mantras from time to time – uhuuhhh, what’s that?
A mantra is nothing else than any repeated word or phrase – in meditation you can use it for yourself to manifest certain things for your own life like for instance “Let go of …” or “Trust yourself and love yourself” – whatever is important for you rat that moment. Mantra comes from the Sanskrit word ‘meaning’.
The Yoga language is simply Sanskrit, the same way Christianity is in Latin but Latin itself is not a religion, Islam in Arabic but Arabic itself is not a religion and Judaism is in Hebrew but Hebrew itself is not a religion.
Yoga was even rejected by Hinduism because yoga would not insist that god exists. It didn’t say there was no god but just wouldn’t insist there was.
For me this is another proof that Yoga is not a religion and should not affiliate with any religion.
There’s not one religious creed to be found.
You don’t have to follow certain rituals, such as baptism or confirmation. You don’t have obligations like in several other religions, such as visiting the church or mosque for prayer, fasting, celebrating feasts or receiving sacraments.
What is it then if not a religion? Is it sports, fitness, a hobby?
No, yoga was formed as a way to sit for hours, days, months, maybe longer in a meditative state, as a spiritual practice.
It is a spiritual way of living.
It is a way that teaches you mindfulness, how to take care of your mind, body and soul and how to be a good person.
What about the yogis that eventually would like to reach the state of enlightenment?
This enlightenment will not turn them into a god or a worshiper of god!
It means that they are able to experience a state of inner peace, bliss, some are saying they’ve seen their inner light, they connected to their deepest inner self. But that’s indeed all – no religious sign.
It’s a journey to our inner self.
If I step on my mat I feel calm, I connect with myself and listen to my body, mind and soul.
I breate consciously and fade out the stress of the daily life.
It’s my time to unwind and relax while going in and out of different yoga poses that strengthen my body.
I listen to myself or am still and take the stillness as a recreation for my mind.
The time while I’m doing Yoga is simply the time where I am able to honor all I am and the people around me.
I feel blessed because in times of stillness you are able to connect to what really matters.
If it’s not my religion, why do I post Buddha quotes on my social networks from time to time?
Because I am in charge of who I am and what I like or dislike.
I love Buddha quotes but that doesn’t mean I am a Buddhist, I love quotes from ancient philosophers as well – there is lots of wisdom to be found in many directions and I don’t decide if I like it based on which religion the authors belonged to.
I choose what I like based on the words I read.
One last question was why I can say Namaste without being connected to Hinduism?
Do you have any idea what Namaste means?
My soul honors your soul.
I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides.
I honor the light, love, truth, beauty & peace within you, because it is also within me.
In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.
Said that I give you now my personal explanation; I’m open-minded and one rule for my life is to respect and tolerate every living being on this earth.
I would dare to say that I am a better person than someone else because it’s not my right to put myself in a higher position.
I appreciate my life how it is and therefore also honor or thank others because people teach people lessons.
I wouldn’t be where I am without all those people on this earth.
Sending love & light.
Thank you so much for this post! I have not perfected my meditation skills through Yoga because I got bombarded by ‘friends’ about it and honestly I’ve been all over the place…scattered, as I’m not internally focused as I used to be.
But, I’m going to find my way back.
It’s good to know one can be married to someone of a different faith and still maintain a healthy lifestyle of their choice. Thanks.
Healthy lifestyle is the key here, meditation is free from any religion – it can be religious of course but it doesn’t HAVE to be.
I wish you all the best for your way!