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yoga is not a religion, but it is my spiritual practice
Photography by joanna wolff

yoga is not a religion, but it is my spiritual practice

by Jessi Andricks jessi andricks
Practice Yoga | Personal Story

how yoga works with any religion
It's a hot topic around Facebook, gyms, yoga studios, churches, and Twitter. Is yoga a religion? Can you practice yoga and still hold true to your faith?

Well, no and yes, respectively. 

When yoga began 5000 years ago, it was linked to the Vedas, which are in the roots of Hinduism. The result is they share a language and some of the chants in a Yoga class refer to the Hindu gods. But yoga in and of itself is not a religion. 

Yoga was formed as a way to sit for hours, days, months, maybe longer in a meditative state. Eventually, the yogi would reach enlightenment. This enlightenment didn't turn the yogi into a god, or even mean that they worship a god. Enlightenment meant they reached a state of pure bliss, peace, and recognized the inner light of the divine within them. 

That's it. 

There is no religion. Just a reflection of the spirit in whatever form or god you recognize it to be. And the knowledge that this peace, this piece of the divine, resides within you and within all beings. 

The language is simply Sanskrit, the same way Catholicism in Latin and Judaism is Hebrew. 

So yoga is not a religion. It is not my religion. But it is my spiritual practice.

My mat is the place where I connect to the divine within me. It's the place where I find peace through the asanas, through the breath, and finally, through the stillness. In whatever form it may be that day. Some days it's a headstand or arm balance, some days it's sukasana, and sometimes it's the bliss of savasana. But always, it is the place where the light in me sees and honors the light in you.