Yoga can both be spiritual or physical. However, as far as its origin is concerned, one of the main goals of yoga is actually spirituality. Yoga is about attaining oneness with the divine. Consequently, it can be stated that yoga, by the nature of its discipline, has a spiritual purpose.
Albeit, some do it for physical goals. It is, as well, highly acceptable when you start yoga for fitness journey and healthy lifestyle.
Yoga is composed of different forms. The totality of it would result to its spiritual aspect or as have been mentioned, “the oneness with the divine” and the physical yoga is only one of the forms of it.
Therefore, yoga can be done until the form concerning the physical aspect of it may have been achieved, even without attaining the totality of yoga or its spiritual aspect.
We can illustrate it by imagining what a train with different stations having spirituality as the destination point and physical yoga as one of the stations you have to pass in order to get there.
Physical yoga improves body and considered one of the exercises which is actually good to maintain health and physique.
People often stop at this form for what their main purpose in doing yoga is not really spirituality rather a healthy body.
Even you do not reach the spiritual purpose yoga, it is still fine. In fact, the form of yoga pertaining to physical aspect only would require other constitutions of yoga as well.
Therefore, it means that, in order for someone to be able to perform the postures we usually see on persons doing yoga, it is not enough that the individual possesses a strong body.
Rather, it signifies that the said person actually has done other forms of yoga aside from physical. So, in brief, the totality of yoga is spiritual and it being physical is only one of its forms.
Is yoga a spiritual exercise?
Yoga is a spiritual exercise. The totality of yoga is spiritual in nature and its ultimate purpose is spirituality and “oneness with the divine.”
Although some sees yoga to only benefits the body by strengthening and improving its flexibility, it is undeniable that its main goal is spiritual.
The ancient science of yoga goes far beyond the mere physical aspect, by way of connection between the mind, body, and the surroundings as well as spirit.
The postures or the physical exercises of yoga is only the first step or as mentioned one form of many other forms of yoga.
When we speak of spirituality, it does not actually refer to ghostly spirits. On the other hand, it pertains to energy other than the person’s doing yoga.
This also involves awareness and consciousness of the person in each and every act he or she will be committing.
Yoga strengthens not only the physique of the person exercising but it also affects the inner being of that person, that inner being is what we can assume the spiritual aspect of yoga.
Why yoga is considered a spiritual exercise?
The reason why yoga is considered as a spiritual exercise is that it does not merely focus on the strength, endurance, and flexibility of the body.
It also affects the mind of the person conducting the exercise, which tends to focus on higher form of energy.
Yoga is not actually limited to the stretching of muscles and remaining in postures for a definite period of time.
Aside from those, it includes control of breathing and concentration, which, in sum, would affect the consciousness of the person doing it.
When it does, that’s the time the exercise goes far beyond its physical aspect. The concentration needed in yoga involves bringing inner peace to one’s self. It, thus, requires a great control of emotion.
In simple words, possessing a strong flexible and strong body would not necessarily follow that you’ll be able to perfectly stay still in the postures of yoga.
One has to concentrate mentally to remain in the posture. Ergo, it is a combination of the physical body strength and the spiritual aspect.
The body helps you to follow and make the posture while the higher consciousness enables you to remain in that particular posture.
In view of these, we can clearly conclude that yoga is actually a spiritual exercise, as the same is originally included in its discipline.
Can you do yoga without the spirituality?
During the ancient time, yoga is regarded as a spiritual exercise with main goal of attaining oneness with the supreme or the divine.
Yoga being spiritual in its origin does not necessarily mean that it cannot be done without spirituality. As a matter of fact, yogic physical exercises has existed without inclusion of any spirituality.
Moreover, a mere physical exercise of yoga is what most people deemed good for a weight loss program or healthy lifestyle.
In situation such as this, the best thing to do is find a good instructor and let them know ahead that you would only be doing the physical exercise of yoga without going further ahead to its spiritual aspect.
A good yoga session would not actually force spirituality on you. In another way, it will only introduce and teach it as an important part of the practice.
More often than not, people on the first hand would aim solely to reach or perform the physical exercise of yoga.
Yet, after the transformation brought by the exercise to these people’s body, mind and emotion, they would naturally seek to reach the spiritual aspect of it.
Meaning, choosing to only do yoga as a physical exercise can be done, and it is completely fine. The spiritual aspect of it is not forced and we’ll be chosen by those who seek to reach it.
What is spiritual yoga?
As mentioned, yoga from its origin is spiritual in nature. It’s main purpose and aim is attaining oneness with the supreme consciousness or the divine.
Spiritual yoga may have many names depending on the country it is exercised but its concept is the same. It may refer to the inclusion of consciousness and mind in the physical exercise of yoga.
This kind of practice penetrates into one’s mind. It uses sound, mind, breath, and meditation. It relaxes and restores the mind and the body.
Although most commonly, it appears as only a physical exercise and stretching enhancing flexibility, yoga, as a discipline, is more than a physical posture.
Unlike common physical exercise, yoga is not limited to the work of the muscles. Many use this also as a tool to reduce stress, attain peace of mind, and meet emotional needs.
This exercise can provide more than a regular exercise could. The benefits gained in this practice is not limited as well to the physical aspect.
A person’s fitness can be seen easily in the shape of the body. One’s spirit though cannot be clearly fathomed outside.
It is, nevertheless, manifested in one’s action and reflected in one’s attitude. Spiritual yoga greatly affects these two concepts.
Spiritual dimension of yoga
Spiritual dimension is a broad concept but it can refer to the need for meaning, purpose and fulfillment in life.
It encompasses one’s hope or will to live as well as faith and belief. As stated, yoga is originally a spiritual exercise, for whose main purpose is oneness with the supreme consciousness or the divine.
The spiritual aspect of yoga puts greater importance on the attainment of peace and clarity of mind. Perfecting the posture of the exercise is deemed only of a secondary importance.
In order determine the spiritual dimension of yoga, we need to find its connection with life. As an exercise and being not limited to physical enhancement, we can clearly state that yoga has its spiritual dimension.
As previously mentioned, doing yoga affects the consciousness. It allows a person to act with a correct attitude and self-control.
It would allow a person to be in his best behavior. With this, we can conclude that he or she would be able to see though things and process or evaluate facts of life in a much deeper way than a usual person does. On this score, he or she can find a meaning for his or her existence or purpose in life.
Yoga is not the same with some other kind of exercise. Though most people regard it as normal physical activity, it is undeniable that is more than muscle work.
It includes mind concentration. With cerebral relaxation, yoga can reduces stress, improves emotional health.
And, at some point of the journey, it will reach one’s consciousness and form a spiritual dimension. Its end goal is oneness with the supreme consciousness or with the divine.
Even yoga can be done by only aiming at its physical aspect. One is not required to traverse its spiritual level in order to reap yoga’s benefits.
Only those individuals who want to attain higher form of consciousness that they go beyond yoga’s physical form.
Many have said that they would only try the physical exercises of yoga. However, within that circle, people have also gone far beyond the physical aspect after the seeing their transformation.
To put it simply, going for the spiritual aspect is always a matter of choice by the person doing the exercise.
Yoga is an individual training. Many have studied it. Nonetheless, with the concept of spirituality, it could only be achieved if you try it with yourself.