Posts Tagged With: yamas

What is your religion?

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Recently, I spoke to a middle aged woman who was genuinely interested in yoga as a health practice. Though, she felt that yoga was interfering with her religion, since she was raised as a Roman Catholic. I felt it was better not to start a discussion about yoga and religion, instead I suggested trying Pilates or Yogalates, a fusion of yoga and Pilates. Some religious leaders actually forbid practicing yoga, but allow their followers to do a stretch class (not mentioning the word yoga); a class focused on the physical practice of yoga or asanas and the lack of any Sanskrit words or links to (other) God(s).

Most yogis would agree with me that yoga is not a religion. I would classify it more as a holistic ancient health practice. T.K.V. Desikachar stated: “Yoga was 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.”

Though, yoga has similarities with a religion; for example it involves spiritual experiences and includes a moral code (the yamas and niyamas). So maybe we should classify yoga as a spiritual practice? Honestly, If I’ve to fill in a questionnaire which includes asking for my religion, most of the time I’m hesitating. Am I Buddhist? Or a Hindu? No, I am not. I’m yogi, but that is not a religion. But for me it is my lifestyle and my personal practice. My belief system is based on my inner guru and ‘outside gurus’ who remind me of the universal wisdom. Some bhakti yogis consider ‘Love’ as their religion. At the same time religious people can experience God as Love.

According to Wikipedia; “Religion is an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. From their ideas about the cosmos and human nature, they tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle”

What do you think? Is yoga your religion? Or are you a Catholic/Hindu/Muslim/Atheist/Jew practicing yoga? Or do you think it doesn’t matter at all?

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Categories: Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The integration of Yoga in normal day life

The Sanskrit word ‘Purna’ means integrated, complete or ‘full’. Purna Yoga represents a holistic approach to yoga integrating all eight limbs of yoga the way it was originally taught in India. The focus is not just on the physical postures, but also on the other seven limbs including philosophy, meditation, pranayama and yogic personal and social code of ethics (yamas and niyamas). The postural instruction is based on Iyengar’s precision and alignment. Purna yoga is suitable for both beginners and advanced students, since the sequences range from gentle restorative to dynamic vinyasa. While yoga philosophies, such as ahimsa (non-violence) are threaded throughout Purna Yoga classes, students are encouraged to build flexibility, strength and stamina of body, mind and spirit. It creates the ultimate mind-body challenge and encourages you to adopt a yogic living: “The art of loving yourself by living from the heart.” 

Train your mind

Train your mind

I’m currently being trained to be a yoga teacher under the Purna Yoga umbrella by Byron Yoga Centre. For me, it brings yoga back to its origin and away from the fancy exercise focused yoga classes in the gyms. It brings me back to simplicity. For now, no fancy arm balances or inversions, but first of all learning the basic postures safely and correctly. The main aim of asana is to train and discipline the mind. I know for myself, it is often way more challenging to sit still or to do a pose very slowly then going to a fast-paced Vinyasa flow. Like most people nowadays, I’m used to rush through life as well as through my yoga practice. My challenge is to shorten my asana practice and lengthen my pranayama and meditation practice. The meaning of asana is not without reason ‘comfortable seat’, the preparation for meditation. Once again, I learn that yoga is not at all about flexibility and beauty, these are just two positive by-products.

The power of meditation

The power of meditation

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