A recent picture posted to Huffington Post’s Religion’s Facebook page sparked a passionate discussion over whether or not yoga is a spiritual practice.
The picture was an image from Mind Over Madness Yoga, a Summer Solstice event featuring thousands of New Yorkers convening in Times Square for a free session. The conversation that followed included conflicting views.
Some commenters said yoga a great way of connecting with their Creator regardless of one’s faith. Another said that for them, yoga is more spiritual than church.
Others expressed the notion that the practice is solely a fitness activity that is positive yet isn't up for spiritual discourse. For instance, one commenter said, “Anything that causes people to relax and get in shape has got to be good thing.”
On the flip side, another person said “Yoga was never an exercise. It is a part of a meditation. It helps you get here and now.”
However, other commenters were leery of the sometimes loose classifications of the spiritual elements of yoga. For example, one person said, “The people are hungry and they will spiritually eat whatever they are fed now.”
Another said, “I think the spirituality within yoga pertains to Hinduism. Take the Hinduism out of it, and you’ve just got exercise, which isn’t spiritual at all.”
On the other hand, some felt yoga's benefits are equally physical and spiritual. Someone said, “You all need to do some yoga and chill out. Do a hour class with a bunch of skinny chicks and after you lie on the floor in a puddle of sweat tell me it isn't exercise in addition to a spiritual releasing event.”
The discussion continued on Twitter, with a variety of replies to the question, "Is yoga as a spiritual practice?" A slideshow of reactions is below.
What are your thoughts on yoga? Do you practice it? Is it a spiritual experience for you?