questionsdo you consider yoga to be a religion?


re·li·gion (riˈlijən) Noun :

1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
2. Details of belief as taught or discussed.

I can't see yoga falling under either category. While I do think Yoga is a bunch of garbage, I can't see how it could possibly interfere with someone's religious beliefs.

However, if you tie in usual aspects of chi and other mumbo jumbo, I could see that it could interfere. Perhaps the problem isn't the yoga itself, maybe it's the vocal portion of the lesson that goes with it.

Either way, I can't understand why schools are teaching yoga in schools for an hour each week when kids today need stronger math skills more than ever if they want to keep up in the world.


I think a lot of it has to do with how it is taught.
Yoga definitely has it's origins in religious practices. The different poses and techniques were used by Hindus and Buddists in religious worship. And many of the ideas of self and sense control are strongly related to Hindu and Buddist ideas.
However I don't think that most of what is taught in a secular yoga class or in a PE class that incorporates yoga (just teaching the body positions and maybe some of the breathing techniques) could really be construed as religious education and more than teaching the skills required for baseball or football could be construed as religious education.


Mantra plus Yantra equals Tantra


If you're a Hindu doing yoga, it is religious; if you're an American non-Hindu doing yoga, you're trendy. Since it is derived from an actual Religion, Hinduism, it is not a religion. That would be like calling prayer a religion.

I do some yoga stretches as part of my daily workout to keep my back healthy, it is strictly secular. I'm sure if thsee stretches weren't discovered and used for yoga, modern health would've figured them out eventually.


@capguncowboy: They are doing this as part of state and federal mandated Physical Education requirements.

@eraten: While prayer isn't religion, it is a religious practice - and if a school were leading children in an hour of prayer a week, they would be absolutely violating the idea of separation of church and state.


At best they could say that it is a philosophy but people are dumb and often do not recognize a diffrence. Yoga is awesome for our body and getting into a routine is great. If you called it quite streching no one would say a thing.
While there may be religious ties between some types of yoga and Hindi (SP?) Yoga it self (like any other disciplined fitness or martial program) is something you do for your body not your soul. Can you incorporate a philosophy with it, sure; or not


That's a piss poor article.
I heard about this issue on NPR back in January and it painted an entirely different picture.
Read for yourselves

j5 j5

I don't know why they don't Americanize Yoga like they do Christmas and Pizza.


@eraten: I'll reply to my own answer. I completely disregarded the details of the question. My answer isn't relevent to the discussion.


@capguncowboy: You could also argue that the US needs to lower its obesity epidemic as well. There are many studies stating that exercise increases cognitive learning. As a physical educator I know its a slippery slope but cutting one thing for another is not the solution either.


@amoraluv: They did, it's called pizza and beer night.


@amoraluv: your username...LOL
Is it :
Amor a luv
amoral luv

j5 j5

@philosopherott: Perfect response. I can see it being a philosophy, but not a religion. Some yoga instructors might "worship" nature and teach the kids to "pray" to trees and whatnot. If that's the case, I can see the school's point.


Yoga a religion? That's a stretch.


@j5: amor is a masculine word so I add an "a" to make it a feminine word. so yeah basically means love luv


The way it's practiced in the US, not at all. The way it was intended to be practiced, yes.


The physical practice of yoga actually can help a great deal. It helps me get thru the day with less pain. It has helped me build and maintain strength. I teach at the local community center. I teach poses without teaching philosophy. It is helpful in that helps me stay on my feet for long days of work. The breathing exercises help me maintain my calm in stressful situations. It also helps me to focus. There are benefits in yoga. Religion and philosophy should be taught by parents not schools, not government. Yoga as I practice it would fit in very well with PE. It absolutely can be taught without religious beliefs attached. If taught correctly it could be an asset to other more cerebral skills. As always math, science, etc. should always be first priority.


Reading the article, the lawsuit isn't quite as wacky as it may seem just from skimming the headlines. The type of yoga most folks in the US are familiar with is hatha yoga, which like all forms of yoga has its roots in religious practice but it's in the background to the point that many yoga classes just ignore that part. According to the article, the school is apparently teaching Asthanga yoga, which is actually fairly different and normally begins with a prayer-like sanskrit mantra. While I don't consider yoga harmful (quite the opposite actually) I can understand why parents might object to that.


@capguncowboy: Just curious why you think yoga is a bunch of garbage. I hear this a lot from people who've never tried it. Ashtanga yoga is actually a fantastic form of physical fitness. You get strength, body sense, balance, flexibility and stamina all in one workout. I don't see how that could be something someone wouldn't want. It's my favorite form of exercise. And just as an aside: I'm coming from a background of martial arts, powerlifting, and kettlebell work. I also played rugby and competitive soccer for years as an adult.

@starblind: I've been doing Ashtanga for years and have never once done a sanskrit mantra or been encouraged to do so by my teachers, so I think it completely depends on who your teacher is. Ashtanga yoga is the forerunner of Power Yoga, and the terms are often used interchangeably. Because if I'm doing Power, I'm really doing Ashtanga. If that makes any sense. :)


Interesting...While I would never consider the practice of Yoga to be a "Religion", it's roots are undeniably religious. Yoga may have become more mainstream in the last few decades but MY first encounter with it was in high school (back in the dark ages ;-) ) and it was a segment of my Comparative Religions course... I think we studied Hatha Yoga, but my memory is a little fuzzy...I just recall a tall, thin, bald man who burned incense and chanted a lot.

As usual I think some people are being overly sensitive... sigh Kids need all of the physical activity they can get these days and I don't see a downside to learning Yoga poses as long as they aren't incorporating any "deity worship" into it.


@coondogg97: if that's a stern reference i <3 u. (unsure if that's a common yoga deal that more people say than just richard christy's prank victims)