Is Yoga Against My Religion?

Students at Olivenhain Elementary learn yoga. Photo Credit AP

At Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School in Encinitas, California, a new controversy is flaring up surrounding the teaching of yoga poses to the young students. Some parents have expressed concern to school officials that the students' daily practice of yoga and asanas conflicts with their religious beliefs. Below, Sadhguru responds to a questioner, "I am practicing yoga. Is it against my religion?"

Sadhguru: “See whatever your religion may be, I don’t wish to comment on that, because it’s your personal thing. It’s a cultural thing. Yoga is a technology. Let’s say you’re following some religion…either Christian or Islamic or Druze…You may be one of them, so I don’t want to comment on any one of them because that’s your personal choice. Because you are Christian, or Islamic, or Druze, suppose you buy a BMW car. If you’re Islamic, it won’t work for you, right? Hmm? Maybe it works for Islamic because there is 'M' in it. It won’t work for the Christians. Is that so, I’m asking. If you do not know how to use it, it doesn’t work for you. Yes?

If you do not know how to drive the car, whatever religion you belong to, it could kill you. But if you know how to drive a car… This car, as a mechanism, is not making a distinction what the hell you are, what the hell is in your head. Whether you can drive the car or not, that’s all that matters, isn’t it? What you believe or disbelieve, this car doesn’t care. It only cares whether you know this mechanism, and can you drive it or not? So yoga is a technology. If you learn to use it, it works for you. If you don’t learn to use it, it does not work for you.

So whatever religion you are, if you learn to use it, it will work for you. If you do not learn to use it, it doesn’t work for you. It’s just like your car, your cell phone, your computer. If you learn to use it, it works for you. It doesn’t stop, it doesn’t put up a password, “give me the Christian password” otherwise…poof. No such thing, isn’t it? So this is just a technology. You just learn to use it.

Because it’s subjective technology, it is of a certain kind…It is not that there have not been mystics in other parts of the world, they have been everywhere, but generally they chose to keep their mouths shut. If they opened their mouth, they got killed. Generally that’s been the history of this world. Anywhere if they opened their mouth, they got stoned to death, they got crucified, they got killed, so many horrible things happened to them.

But in the East, we preserved them. We revered them. You can come and sit in a temple and question the fundamentals of the temple. Nobody will throw a stone at you. They’ll debate with you, they’ll argue with you, but nobody will throw a stone at you. Because we created this culture, mystics grew. It is not that they wouldn’t have grown elsewhere, they would have grown elsewhere also, but because of beating down and chopping down, even if there are, they didn’t open their mouth. If they opened their mouth, they’re dead.

So mysticism does not come from the East. It comes from within. Wisdom does not come from the East. It comes from within. Knowing this life will not come from the East, it comes from within. So what comes from within cannot be against anything, isn’t it?”

  1. Dariush

    This question is a sad reflection of some childhood training.
    In religious dominated culture, obedience of religion authority citing “words of God” and dictating mechanical rituals in the name of God, created individuals who are afraid of any other physical activities that may interfere or negating their religions! Because erroneously they have identified worshiping God with their physical activities!

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