Is Yoga A Specific Religion?

Yoga is quite amazing, and in the recent past, it has gained a whole lot of popularity. This is apparent in the sheer number of new yoga apparel brands that have been popping up. While yoga started off as an Indian practice, it has now spread beyond those boundaries. Yoga is a great relaxation technique but it also has a spiritual component. There are some people who practice yoga as a religious practice. However, in the other parts of the world, yoga is viewed differently, with most people considering it to be a philosophical practice and not religious. People in the United States are much less likely to think of it as a religious activity.

What Aspects Does Yoga Entail?

As you may already know, yoga is traced back to Hinduism, and most of the practices revolve around their teachings. However, in the developed countries, they are more inclined towards the philosophical aspect of Yoga and do not want to think about it as a religious ritual. For instance, in the United States , there are so many things that have changed from yoga’s origins as it has now become a great sensation to many.

In a particular court case in California, 2013, a judge ruled that yoga mats have religious roots, but they do not violate the religious freedoms of the individuals practicing yoga. This was in a case where the parents wanted yoga to be removed from the curriculum due to the religious connotations that it carried. At the end of it all, the US was able to confine yoga to fit into the society and serve their needs without bringing the spiritual aspect into it.

What Changed the Original Yoga?

Everyone in the United States is now comfortable with Yoga as long as it does not come as a religious activity. Yoga had been homogenized in US so as to suit the needs of the society and live up to the standards of freethinking, which has been promoted through the years. Today, any yoga teacher in the US will not indulge in the religious aspects of yoga.

Once in a while there were some chants of the Om and wearing of attire that signifies the authentic yoga, but this is kept in check at all times. However, yoga practitioners in the US have really transformed yoga and conform it to its standards and way of thinking.

Is this True Yoga?

In the US, you may find some yoga teachers trying to recite a few verses while teaching yoga, but that is as far as it goes. The true meaning of yoga has been lost, and all marketing efforts have been put in place so as to make it a natural thing that ties into the American culture. At the end of it all, it has lost the true meaning of yoga and the authenticity that it has.

Most of the things that remain are symbolic and do have the value that they had in the past. For instance, at the end of each yoga class, people say, “Namaste”, which a good number of them do not even know what it means. This means, “I bow to the God within you.” Yoga traces back to Hinduism but has really been diluted through the years, making it lose its original authenticity.

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