Yoga Is Not a Religion

Dear Infinite World Around Me,

I do not know if I have ever truly prayed….at least not in the sense of how Gates speaks of it in relation to Brahmacarya. He says that prayer is a surrender to something greater than yourself. I remember being younger and attending Religious Education at the Catholic church and being taught to pray. I know the words of several prayers, but I’m not always sure that my intentions are behind the words being said. I don’t remember ever having that feeling; a deep commitment to something greater than myself. At least not something that I feel I am 100% sure exists. I know the days I have longed for that. I know the times I have prayed and asked for something to be the outcome I desired.

I have never considered myself to be a religious person, but always felt that I knew what I believed in and that was good enough. I have faith in people. However, I have never been able to put into words what it is that makes me have faith or what exactly it is that I believe. I guess I just figured that when I was confronted with a situation that I’d know what I feel is right and wrong and that would be good enough. But to surrender? To give up all control and doubt? To know that I should no longer ask for something to be an outcome, but just to let it be?

I don’t know if I really do believe in something greater than me some days. I don’t know if that means that I don’t truly stand for anything. I don’t know if it’s a sign of being scared to find out what else there is. And I don’t know if I could ever be truly selfless in prayer as I’ve not been conditioned to pray in that way. Without sounding selfish….some answers please?

Sincerely,
Me

I feel like this interpretation of prayer and of the practice of Brahmacarya could be very controversial. I want to make sure that people understand that Yoga, in itself, is not a religion, but blends well with other religious practices because it asks you to consider many of the same things that religion does. However, in yoga, we seek a connectedness to something greater than ourselves that exists within each one of us and is not totally defined. For someone like myself who likes organization and definition, practicing yoga is a practice of wills. Structured and organized religion should be a place that I flourish, but it is not. I like my yoga journey because, although it makes me wonder what I really stand for, that is kind of the point. And in doing it this way, I am able to work at my own pace and choose my course. When I’m ready to accept that the control is not mine, my yoga will be there to hold me and connect me. As I am not yet there, my yoga is there to guide me and hold some structure to the world around me.
Do you prefer self discovery or organized religion or a combined practice?
Do you ask for things when you pray?  
Have you surrendered to a higher power?

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One thought on “Yoga Is Not a Religion

  1. I have a love/hate relationship with organized religion. Too many rules. I am a Christian and by that I mean that I wish we could just learn the ways and lessons of Jesus and live life by his example. Love your neighbor (all your neighbors) and help those in need.I don't ask for things for myself when I pray, I ask things for others. Usually asking for help to get them through a difficult time or to stay safe. I think God often for my wonderful 2 daughters that he has blessed me with.Not sure I've surrendered so to speak, but I know there are certain things I can't change and I don't spend time worrying about them myself.

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