For a lot of people, yoga appears to go against all they know and understand through religious faith. Through a religious lens, yoga has all the traits of any other creed. We sit with our hands in prayer, bow to images and idols, sing and chant with one another, and dance ecstatically in celebration.
All in all, yoga looks very much like a religion, but ask seven yogis what they think and you will most likely get seven very different answers. That’s because yoga has changed so much since it was first developed as a science.
Yoga in the West
In the west yoga is much different from the way it was practiced historically in India. Yoga has become anything from an intense workout or therapeutic activity to a devout faith. What spans across all aspects of yoga is the fundamental belief in the possibility that we can transform ourselves.
Such a belief is not strictly tagged to yoga. When you think about it, all faiths correlate with this belief. Yoga simply encourages its practitioners to seek the spiritual core and tap into our full potential as human beings. Therefore, even a devout Christian can practice yoga, because yoga simply acts as a complement to his/her religious belief.
Our Children’s Future Demands Co-Existent Communities
The cool thing about yoga is it’s an opportunity to be with people of all different faiths, in a setting that allows people to transform and reach their highest potential. Yoga builds community between people of all faiths and beliefs. It brings together ethics and right living for all people without building religious doctrine upon it.
Likewise, it’s a great opportunity for kids to build friendships with other children learning and engaging in the ethics of religion without being… religious. It’s about respecting one another, compassion and non-violence, as well as honoring our bodies and our environment.
What we’re seeing today in the yoga room is an awesome shift towards collaboration. Where there was once little to no mingling between religious associations, there are now groups of people from all different backgrounds coming together to transform. This change has only progress to see and our kids are going to see the product of it in action.
Diversity Means Life
I still remember my 10th grade biology teacher chanting “Diversity means life” in an attempt to get us excited about the billions of plant species on our planet. For the plants and animals, this is true. Everything works together to help life survive. The same is true for people.
We have the option to get over religious and social differences and work together to affirm growth and the continuation of life on our planet. Yoga has become a powerful source for communities to come together. It’s such a gift that we can come together with our families and talk about compassion, honesty, charity, and freedom while pursuing our own religious or spiritual commitment.
Yoga is an aid to anyone regardless of what religion he or she practices. Yoga is simply about direct and personal experience with oneself, a quality that benefits any belief from Christianity and Judaism to Buddhism and Atheism. For our kids, yoga is not just beneficial for their body, mind, and spirit, but also for their future communities and relationships with people of different creeds and cultures.
What are you thoughts? Leave a comment below. Namaste & Play