Mark Singleton, author of Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice, and Stefanie Syman, author of The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America, talk about the origins and links between yoga and religion.
Yoga is an ocean of benefits. Yoga is quite capable in its ability to gift practitioners with something unique for their particular needs.
If a person practices it on a regular basis the world is definitely a better place after each session. Yoga can make one's problems a mere small pimple on the back of progress.
I was surprised to see the guests on the show failed to mention that the roots of yogic tradition are tied to the Brahman class. Yogic techniques were taught by yogic masters to highly privileged individuals in society. In modern times, the yoga masters who came to America were breaking with that constricted tradition because they felt the value of the teachings needed to be taught to the masses. Yoga has never been linked to any particular religious tradition but has the power to open the dormant spiritual centers within a person. While most Americans practice the physical asanas for health and fitness benefits, anyone who practices yoga consistently over a period of time will discover that the practice transcends the body and opens the spiritual centers within themselves for greater connection with others and the world. Therefore the practice of yoga is able to assist in any religious tradition because it allows the person to transcend the distractions of the earthly form(the body) and connect with the divine(the soul).
With yoga my body, mind, and spirit all get a "workout" which is missing from many other traditions where the body isn't used. (yoga meaning "yoke" as in body and mind together)
That said, I went through yoga teacher training for Kundalini Yoga, and became disillusioned with the gurus and cult-ish aspect and etc. I stopped doing it for awhile and was pretty miserable. I tried a bunch of other types of yoga, much more "secular", i.e. very little chanting and meditation, but I realized the Kundalini practice works for me. Basically, I ignore the aspects that don't work for me.
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