First of all, think of a world without dogmas. Religion as a concept is western in origin. The word Hindu (Greek origin) was meant to signify a region not a religion as the western world thinks. It was region past the river Indus (as such people living after Indus where Hindus). The learned folks from these regions looked inward for solace vs. outward (or materialism). This created various sciences such as Yoga. Which is a way to achieve salvation. In course of many centuries there were great seers who achieved deep knowledge such as Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Sivananda. All of them are considered great Yogis per the language of Yoga. If you think deeply Jesus's teaching are a form of Bhakti Yoga. The current day folks from India, believe in all of them.
In the western mind, there are tiers of religions. The Abrahamic ones (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), and all others. Whatever traits these 3 share (monotheism is the big one) makes them far superior to any other religion. Why, because these traits are shared by all these 3 religions. Is it circular reasoning? You bet! People may not even seriously pratice any of these 3, but nonethless they tend to relegate any other religion to lower tiers.
So, Hinduism goes down to 3. So unsexy. Why tier 3, and not tier 2? Buddhism is chic, so although it's eastern, it's at tier 2, in the western mind.
Along comes this incredibly simple but powerful practice and philosopy of Yoga that is a gift of Hiduism to the world.
What do you think happens next? Right branding superseeds truth telling, so Yoga is unhinged from the religion that founded, evolved and perpetuated it for millenia.
What I'm saying is it's hardly a mystery why Yoga is vehemently claimed to be of dubious origin.
Hindus say: we are not asking for dues, just for due credit and cessastion of lies.
Yoga is part of Hinduism. It comes out of India. However, once the West gets hold of anything it morphs into what is desired by the Western egoistic mind. Hence, the rationalization and psychological reasoning begins to justify covering up the real for the convenience of the unreal. Today, few Americans have knowledge or experience what YOGA is about. This is tragic because there is a shortage of authentic teachers.
If one would analyse the practices and philosophy of yoga to its core, there would be no doubt that yoga is Hindu. What David Swenson is saying here is true up to a certain extend. The superficial practice of fashion yoga is not necessarily Hindu, but there is no denying that the core philosophy of yoga is Hindu in nature. Of course, no yoga teacher with some business sense will say, "well I am only teaching you on the superficial level, but if you go deeper into the practice you are practicing Hinduism." In the USA yoga is defined by consumerism and not by the yoga tradition itself.
What to tell (informed) students who ask, "Is Yoga HInduism?" Tell them the truth, yes! All of real Yoga is Hinduism, this is fact. Of course, then the bright student is going to query, "mmmm...Are you a Hindu, teacher? Why not? For a detailed explanation of the integral Hindu/Yoga (yes, Hatha Yoga, too) connection, see our web site for an upcoming paper: "Debunking the Yoga Journal's "Expert Dogma" separating Hatha Yoga from their factual Hindu context." If you have trouble getting it, we would be happy to e-mail this very important information to you.
Classical Yoga Hindu Academy
Where are the Yamas and Niyamas, which the phoney yogis/yoginis are clueless about, in misrepresenting, exploiting Yoga/Hinduism and still not have the courage to publish anything with facts contrary to your egotistical, delusional,sel-absorbed "yoga business"?
The spurious yoga movement is an attempt at rationalizing what one wants. The various yogas are all part of Hinduism ...they are the progresssive religious/spiritual practices of a specific religion...Hinduism and its sects. The word spiritual means incorpreal or with out body, therefore one can not be solely spiritual here on Earth. One can not " separate hatha yoga from the four supposedly "religious" yogas"...that is unethical, theft, delusion, etc. Hatha Yoga are worshipful postures w/i Hinduism. The honest reply to someone to the question in article "Isn't yoga part of Hinduism?" would be YES. As to "There is no indication that it was ever part of an organized religion"...first there are the people of the Indus valley. Later called the H/Indus. The reference of yoga is in the Vedas-Hindu scripture.They had practices to yoke with the divine called yogas. All religions have practices, however, one can correctly say the practices are not a religion but they are specific to a specific religion. EX. Baptism is not a religion but belongs to a specific religion. As to ""Religion is of 2 kinds ...", false,religion is man made, it is the form, designed by man through deep insights, to reach deeper spiritual perceptions and show the path to others. Yes, anyone can study Yoga/Hinduism but not anyone can teach a religious practice...that is meant for a qualified teacher of that religion. One would not get Communion from a Jew with a "Communion Certificat."
Great reply David! I agree that spirituality and religion are not one in the same. I meditate to increase my awareness of the Great Spirit in all things. I am finding that practicing yoga provides clarity of mind, spiritual uplift, and physical well-being. I do not attach my spiritual well being and growth to any organized religion. However, many religions do profess basic tenets that are not in conflict with each other or yoga philosophy.
I read some Swami Iyengar say somewhere- "Religion is of 2 kinds - one created by God and other created by human. Yoga is of the first kind". God is one but the path and philosophies to attain him are different. We, human created religion Hinduism, Christainity, Buddhism, Jews, Islam etc. and divided ourself with others.
Hinduism is a name given westerners based on River Indus. Yoga was practiced at time of "Sanatan Dharma" which means "Religion of the Saints", many years before these religions were born.
Yoga is for good health and for good thinking. Every one deserve it. Worry not! as the students do yoga, their mind chakras will open and they will understand it. Now smile and strike a pose !! Namaste !!
I have read from books that the various Chakras have a lotus with many petals and also a Sanskrit letter and also a devata in it. I have always been facinated to know if for someone in a different religious belief or Westerner if the letters show up in a different language. I am trying to say this without any ego (being Indian) and proud of the yoga heritage