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[T-TALKS] Western Yoga & Religion



I was having a conversation with a client of mine, about yoga and religion. These topics come up all the time but for some reason this time around it's just made me dwell.


I know the conversations around religion stirs a lot of pots so we'll keep this one light. I know that as we move forward, we have generations that have become more open minded and not only understanding of beliefs (finally) but also super accepting of what works for an individual is totally up to that individual. But I just some times wonder how long it will take for people to see further and not be so judgmental? It's 2020. I can only speak about this based on the personal experiences and conversations I've had to encounter as a yoga instructor.


I can see how one can get confused with yoga given the Indian cultural history, which has shaped and influenced what we know yoga to be today and let me tell you I'm so incredibly thankful for it.


I'd like to use this platform to chat a little bit more about it. Has anyone ever taken the time to learn more about the yogic philosophy? I think that you and I should get together one day and chat in person because we could be here for hours, but for now I'll try give a very brief understanding.


Before we begin, I want you to know what philosophy means - its the love for knowledge and the willing to go deeper and discover more about a specific topic. Philosophies come into fruition when a person has shared their point of view based on their own experiences, and every subject in life has it's own philosophy.


A m(tr)illion years ago right, in India, ancient scriptures known as Vedas came about. Philosophies with gathered texts, findings, and formulas written by people who committed their lives in wanting to know more about the universal powers within and the universal powers in which surrounded them with the people they lived. Not only did yoga originate from these ancient texts and that Indian philosophy has been influenced by these scriptures, which were constantly questioned, tested and developed, but has also come to form many branches of beliefs and as what we know as fairly developed religions today - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism. But this is only the tip of the iceberg and there are thousands of years of experiences and knowledge that can be unraveled when going more deeply into each Veda.


Coming from these scriptures, yoga itself has gone through many different stages and developments and it's for these ancient findings that we know about yoga today. Even though it has all this incredibly rich history, I'll be the first one to tell you that you can make yoga as spiritual and traditional as you'd like, or you can strip it down to the bare basics and learn in a completely non-biased, westernly way too. Either of which you'll still be absorbing the many many many profound benefits the ancient practice has on your physical and mental being.


Western culture has adapted and changed the practice and over time the history of yoga has kind of been swept under the rug perhaps because of controversial conversations around religion? Maybe that's why it's so misunderstood today? Who knows.


Being a teacher I have always been mindful of who is in my class. Especially given the array of people in corporate, where there are multiple religions in one space enjoying and loving the practice of yoga. I get such a kick out of teaching and bringing all these different walks of life together. And for my own practice I love to explore, and chant, and go deeply into meditation and love the "hoohaa" side of things, but that's for me and not necessary for you, and that's okay. In order to get the knowledge across of the benefits of yoga through to the every day working westerner, some times you have to clean it up a bit.


I think South Africa, and the world has a long way to go with religious acceptance. And I think that with you and I, we'll totally get there.


So you know what, to end this off in the theme of lightness, I think today's tip my dear friends is to always educate yourself properly before you try to influence others and be passionate about what makes you a better person, in whichever religion you may follow ✌ and to experience more, to be more curious and to always have that drive of wanting more knowledge.


Thank you for listening x let's chat!

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