I decided to sort of write this as a reply to the Yoga Journal blog YogaBuzz. They were talking about a southern Baptist Minister said that Christians should not practice Yoga.
Is Yoga exercise or a spiritual practice?
It depends on the person. Many people go to yoga classes to get fit and to make their lifestyle a healthier one. Me, I find that it is both. Yoga is my regular exercise, but it is also my spiritual practice. Meditation is a part of yoga. Meditation is yoga. And although I call myself a Catholic, I don’t go to church. I’m not a very spiritual person. But Yoga has brought me closer to myself.
The debate between whether or not Yoga is an exercise or a spiritual practice really depends on the person. Does the person look to yoga for guidance? Yoga is not a religion. At least that’s not the way I look at it. Yoga is a spiritual practice, but it can be collaborated with different religions. Hindus and Buddhists alike practice yoga. So why can’t the Christians or the Catholics do the same? If anything, it will very likely bring them closer to God.
I do believe that yoga brings people in greater unity with themselves. People look for that unity all their lives. Maybe they are happy with what they have, and they don’t need yoga. That’s fine. But Yoga is for EVERYONE. Religions can be nitpicky and they say that there is only one way.
From the way I look at Yoga, it’s not only God that teaches us things. We don’t only learn from the bible. God is in everything. Therefore (drum roll please) we can learn from every experience we have in life. WOW. Is that even possible? OF COURSE IT IS! Excuse me for being a bit outspoken today, and I do understand that this subject is a bit touchy. But, I have a right to speak, and this is my opinion. Anyone can practice Yoga. It is universal.
There are so many sides to the practice. One could just use it for exercise, or they can dive into the practice, read the Sutras and live it.
So, is Yoga exercise or a spiritual practice? It’s both. It’s up to you to decide for yourself.