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Is Yoga a Religious Activity?

Is Yoga a Religious Activity?

 

Yoga originated in Ancient India. There is evidence that dates the origin and development of yoga some five thousand years ago. However, there are reasons to believe that yoga may have originated around ten thousand years ago. Ancient India has given birth to three major world religions that are widely practiced even today: Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Historically, yoga has been associated with all these three religions. However, yoga is not a religious activity.

 

If one studies the ancient Indian scriptures, the Vedas and the Upanishads, it is easy to understand how yoga has been a completely segregated practice from religious activities, rituals or customs. Yoga has never been a religious custom in Hinduism, Buddhism or Jainism. It is true that Hindu saints and Buddhist monks perform yoga and have been doing so for thousands of years. It is also true that gods and their various avatars in these three religions are often portrayed in yogic postures. However, no Hindu, Buddhist or Jain is required to perform yoga, not routinely and ritualistically or even once in their lifetime.

 

Modern yoga, especially the kind that is now being incorporated in schools, is more focused on the physical benefits of the exercise. Yoga has scientifically proven health benefits. Traditional yoga or ancient yoga was not solely confined to its physical benefits. It has psychological and philosophical rewards as well. Yoga is essentially a practice that unites the body and the mind. It requires one to meditate with controlled breathing in naturally correct postures. The eventual objective of yoga is to lead a healthy and fulfilling life, to be fully conscious of one’s inner thoughts and being in connect with the larger spirituality or energy of the world and by extension, the universe.

 

Yoga does not propagate any religious belief. It does not advocate for any one religion and does not even take a stand on the existence of one god over others. It does not delve into any other religious doctrines either, neither in support nor in confrontation, especially because yoga predates all modern religions of the world. Yoga is simply a collective philosophical and physical pursuit to attain the harmonious unison of the mind and the body.

 

There are innumerable books, videos and audios where one can learn about yoga. ‘The Lost Teachings of Yoga’, an audio course by Georg Feuerstein, lucidly elaborates how the exercise and meditation associated with the practice do not propose any god. Feuerstein goes on to explain how yoga is actually science and philosophy, spirituality and physicality, all focused on the experiential growth and evolution of the human body and mind. Yoga is about observation, understanding and acceptance, living a healthy life, caring for your body and mind, finding inner peace and controlling one’s extreme desires. One of the integral objectives of yoga is self awareness and discipline.

 

Even the courts have ruled that yoga is not a religious activity. San Diego Superior Court has recently ruled on the yoga program at Encinitas Union School District and found nothing religious or mystical in the practice. The ruling was upheld by the 4th District Court of Appeal.

 

Can Yoga Help After an Accident?

Each and every year, millions of people in America get themselves into car accidents – many of them having absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any fault of their own – and suffer neck and back injuries that cause all kinds of problems from there on out.

And while doctors and medical professionals almost always do absolutely everything they can to help these people get back to leading happy and healthy lives, it isn’t always possible. Sometimes the damage is simply too great to be overcome by modern medicine.

And that’s where yoga comes into play.

Yoga – so much more than simply trying to bend yourself into a human pretzel – has a lot of different advantages that you’re going to be able to leverage if you are serious about recovering after an accident. You’ll have to find the right kind of yoga to give you the benefits that you deserve, but that isn’t going to be all that challenging.

Let’s dive right in!

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The majority of people in accidents suffer neck and back injuries – perfect issues to be remedied by yoga

A lot of people that have been in a car accident (considerably more than 1 million a year) suffer from some kind of neck or back injury, also known as a soft tissue injury, which causes a world of headache, hassle, and hurt.

Because this is a soft tissue injury – one where no bones are broken but only the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves are damaged – it is a significant challenge for the modern medical community to address appropriately.

Doctors know a lot about setting bones and curing diseases, but aren’t exactly the best in the business when it comes to rehabilitating soft tissue injuries.

Yoga, on the other hand, is perfectly appropriate for addressing EXACTLY these kinds of problems. This is especially true of specific kinds of yoga (there are more than a dozen different “varieties”), as there are specific yoga movements – some of which we will outline in just a moment – that can be used to specifically target and speed up the healing process in your neck and your back.

Yoga is a low-impact exercise solution to improve your overall health and well-being

A lot of people are under the misconception that yoga is little more than bending and twisting your body into crazy positions while the thermostat and the humidity in a room are cranked to the maximum level possible.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sure, when you are doing a bit of yoga, you are going to be asked to stretch your body and its flexibility to the absolute limit, but each and every one of these yoga movements are going to be designed to trigger a very specific response in the body.

Each and every one of these triggers are designed to create a cascade of biochemical reactions in your body. These biochemical reactions usually release of hormones, enzymes, and proteins, with many of them stimulating the recuperation and automatic recovery that your body goes through naturally after it has been injured.

You are also going to be able to leverage yoga as a pain management solution.

People all over the world find yoga to be a big boost from a mental clarity and pain management standpoint, as it works as an active form of meditation. As you focusing on each and every movement, ignoring the outside world, you’ll learn how to completely control your body, your emotions, and increase your pain tolerance level as well.

It really doesn’t get any better than this!

Taking the next step

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Though you are certainly going to be able to get into yoga just by watching a couple of videos on YouTube or buying a fancy DVD package, you are probably going to want to go through a couple of real classes with professional yoga instructors to lay down a rock-solid foundation first.

This is especially true if you are looking to take advantage of yoga to heal your neck, to heal your back, or to rest and recover a lot faster than you would have been able to all on your own. There are significant advantages to yoga when it comes to natural healing, and honestly you’d have to be at least a little bit crazy not to take advantage of them at every opportunity. Of course, always consult a doctor before you decide to engage in any kind of yoga or physical activities after an accident.