#yogaabc: H is for Hinduism
Yoga as many of us in the West understand it is quite a long way from its roots.
Yoga is one of the six major schools of thought, or darshanas in Hinduism. They are all derived from the ancient Vedic scriptures and are united by the belief that multiple paths exist to reach liberation, or moksha, or oneness with God. That the divine resides within all that exists, and we all can reach moksha – earning this by the fruit of our actions, words, and thoughts, or karma, and advancing spiritually by acting in accordance with dharma, or righteousness.
The yogic postures retain elements of their earlier spiritual meanings – while we typically call it the “Sun Salutation”, the Surya namaskar is actually a series of positions designed to greet Surya, the Hindu Sun God.
Does this mean you need to be a Hindu to practice yoga? Not really. The whole point is that we all walk our own path, and if that means we just want to enjoy the physical and psychological benefits of yoga without the “Omming” and chanting, then that’s great! You may also be more attracted to the spiritual aspects after a period of practicing physical yoga. Many people with other spiritual beliefs have also found ways to integrate the benefits of yoga practice while maintaining these believes. It’s all there to benefit you, wherever you are at this moment.