be free, be happy, be peaceful

May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Is yoga a religious practice? (3)

In most religious teachings, the followers or the practitioners are not allowed to question the truth of the teachings. Where else in the teachings of yoga, is all about self-inquiry and self-realization without blind-believing in anything, including the teachings of yoga. Even if there's a vision of 'God' image appears in front of the practitioner, the practitioner is unattached, unmoved, undisturbed, and let it passes away.

In religious teachings, people must believe in God, or else it is regarded as sinful or evil if one disbelieves in God. Where else in the teachings of yoga, one can either believe or disbelieve in God, it makes no difference. In the end, liberation from ignorance has nothing to do with believing in God, or not. Beyond all the different selfless and impermanent names and forms, all is one.

In religious teachings, people will be condemned and criticized for having inappropriate or wrong conducts based on what the teachings categorize as appropriate and inappropriate conducts, right and wrong conducts. Where else in the teachings of yoga, there's no condemn or criticism even if the practitioners do not practice yoga correctly according to the Scriptures, or their thinking and behavior are not perfect, or they abandon their practice. It's one's freedom and responsibility for what we want and don't want, what we do and don't do, what we think and don't think, what we feel and don't feel, what we know and don't know, what we achieve and don't achieve, and how we act and react.

In religious teachings, people will be judged by 'God'. If one is 'good', one will be rewarded with all kinds of goodness blessed by 'God', and if one is 'bad', one will be punished with painful punishment accordingly in the name of 'God' or sanctioned by 'God'. Meanwhile in the teachings of yoga, there's no judgment or punishment from 'God', but each and everyone either suffer or enjoy the consequences of their actions. There's no 'God' interference with the consequences of one's actions. For those who have gone beyond egoism, all actions being performed are selfless and are not bound by the fruit of actions, or karma. There's no doer of actions and there's no enjoyer of the fruit of actions.

In religious teachings, 'God' is the controller of all manifestations, being extremely 'busy' minding all big and small life events of all beings. Whether it's something good or bad, people would put the responsibility onto God, saying that it's God's will. In the teachings of yoga, the universal consciousness exists in all and doesn't control anything, but all and everything exist, change and stop existing in accordance to the law of impermanence. Good or bad is deriving from each individual egoistic impure mind. It's nothing to do with God.

Above all, yoga is about dealing with the mind and its modifications that are under the influence of ignorance, impurities, egoism, attachment, desires of craving and aversion, where restlessness and suffering arise due to all these defilements, and yoga shows a way to transcend the mind, ignorance, impurities and suffering. Yoga is universal or non-discriminate, beyond all kinds of religions and cultural beliefs and practices.

All minds, except those that are already free from ignorance and suffering, are under the influence of ignorance and impurities and would experience suffering, disregard whether the minds are religious or non-religious, spiritual or non-spiritual, highly intelligent or less intelligent, highly knowledgeable or less knowledgeable, good or bad personality and behavior, positive or negative thinking, happy or unhappy mood, and so on.

Be free.

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My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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