Is Yoga a Spiritual Practice?

Sometimes we think of yoga as a physical practice.

There is also a spiritual aspect, and some practitioners of yoga delve into a religious component through Hinduism and/or Buddhism. The history of yoga is vast and sometimes quite strange to me, as well as transforming and peaceful.

Once in a while someone in my class will ask me about this, and wonder about a conflict with their own religious beliefs.

My experience is that yoga can be practiced for many reasons and at many levels.

As for me, I delve into mindfulness and yoga as my path to physical and emotional health. Others focus primarily on the physical benefits. My objective is to cultivate a space that makes it easy for each of us to bring our own belief systems to the practice without imposition.

The closing at the end of my class is meant to remind us to dwell inside in awareness and acceptance, and a way for me to wish us all well.

Here are the words I use at the close of class:

May our hearts be filled with loving kindness.

May we be well.

May we be secure, peaceful, and at ease.

May we always be open to joy.

May each of us follow our path with heart.

“Namaste” means “I salute the spirit in you that is you” (or some variation of that…it is meant as respect for another person).

“Om” is a universal sound of unity. The chanting of it is meant to open our voices and unite us in a positive community.

I hope you all choose your own practice and continue with yoga free of conflict.

Namaste.

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