Yoga as a Religion and Philosophy


Yoga is a great form of exercise, especially for beginning students. However, many people in the Western world overlook the fact that yoga has a deeper spiritual use for many traditional practitioners. Yoga is an integral part of many Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. If you practice the exercise we know as “yoga,” you are only just scratching to surface to the deeper meaning. By learning the philosophy of yoga, you can improve your practice, even if you do not wish to convert to a different religion.

Yoga teaches that there is nothing existent beyond our own mind. There are five states of mind–disturbed, stupefied, distracted, concentrated, and the absolutely balanced state of mind. The last two are the most peaceful states of mind and can be found through meditation and yoga. Most of the time, our minds are in one of the lesser states, because the outside world seeks to disturb, stupefy, and distract the mind, preventing inner tranquility.

Yoga also teaches how we can achieve this inner peace in our minds through yoga and meditation. Living in a lesser state of mind causes five negative things-ignorance, egoism, attachment, hatred, and the want for self-preservation. What blocks our way from breaking through a lesser state of mind? Sickness, incompetence, doubt, delusion, fatigue, overindulgence, confusion, lack of perseverance, and regression. These cause negative thoughts and sorrow in our minds and do not allow us to find inner peace of mind.

Practicing yoga can be beneficial to your body in many ways. If you follow the spiritual paths of yoga and do meditation as well, you can gain mental benefits too. Yoga makes you more self-aware, and patients suffering from depression are often helped by yoga. Pride, knowledge, and mental ability can also be positive side effects of practicing yoga. For those following Eastern religions, yoga brings a person closer to the Divine and Heaven. This can work for Western religious followers as well. Meditation can be seen, in some ways, as a form of prayer.

If you want to learn more about the spiritual benefits you can gain from practicing yoga, along with the various physical health benefits, it is best to find a yoga instructor. This person can become your guru, the person who will teacher you the path of yoga. By learning yoga, you can achieve great things with both your mind and body, overall putting a positive spin on your life.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; yoga


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