Dear Wuf Shanti,
My name is Akasha and I am really wanting to practice Yoga but one of my classmates says that Yoga goes against her religion. I don’t really understand what she means by that so I thought that you would be the one to ask. A bunch of my friends take Yoga classes and really love them and some of them even do Yoga with their parents! So I guess what I am asking would be…is Yoga a religion?
Thank you so much for reaching out to me to answer this very important question. There are a lot of people that feel the way that your classmate does because they do not understand. That is ok because you can help teach them! And yes there are a bunch of babies, toddlers, kids, teenagers, grown-ups, and even grandparents that practice Yoga. Isn’t that so awesome??? The answer to your question is no. Yoga is not a religion. One of the most amazing things about Yoga is that it is non-denominational, which means that people of all religions can practice. Although the roots of Yoga, which are over 5,000 years old go back to India, it is not written anywhere that you must be of a certain religion to practice. Everything that ever existed has a history, and that should always be honored. However, here in the West, Yoga has become a way of life for people of all religions. Yoga is about connecting to yourself and your higher power, whatever that may be is your choice. The practice of Yoga helps your body feel better, calms your mind, and allows you to be more in control of your emotions and reactions. Many people actually feel a greater connection to their personal religion through their Yoga practice. So the next time your classmate asks you the answer is no. Yoga is not a religion. However, everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on things. Those opinions should be respected and we should all treat each other with compassion and loving kindness. Thank you Akasha!