Atheism and Yoga

I work out (cue the LMFAO “Sexy and I know it” lyrics). It’s quite boring to talk about, but I weight train, enjoy endure various forms of cardio, and do yoga. As a former dancer, yoga is soothing and familiar to me. It connects me to that strong, graceful, flexible person of my past (I am truly baffled of all I used to be able to do in dance). I enjoy yoga as quiet time, a space to focus ALL my thoughts and energy onto myself, and a personal journey in which I do my best, for me, that day.

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I recently read an article about an atheist assembly behaving like a megachurch. Now, I have many opinions on that topic; atheists should not subscribe to any organized religious-like effort, as doing so negates their atheism. I understand the desire for community. There are so many local organizations in need of volunteers and worthwhile causes to support, why participate in a cult-like, quasi-religious group to show the world you are good even though don’t believe in a god? OK, rant over… This same article also touched on atheists exploring spiritual realms, including meditation and yoga.

The fact is that people practice yoga for a variety of reasons and walk away from each session with a variety of take aways. Some, like myself, enjoy the clarity, focus, mindfulness, balance, strength, and flexibility that an hour of yoga brings. Depending on your definition of “spiritual”, it could be argued that a mind-body focus like this is in fact spiritual. Others may embark on a more blatant spiritual journey through asanas, connecting to and performing for the gods. I came across this doozy of an article that claims practicing yoga is bad for Christians as performing these postures and breathing in this way invites a god “with a little G into your life”. To counteract this, a Christian alternative to yoga was created, called Praise Moves. I don’t want to promote it, but fuck me! If breathing and stretching threatens your faith, you certainly wouldn’t want to do it surrounded by a bunch of heathen Hindus (or atheists), right?

Yoga is a personal practice. You make it what you want it to be and hopefully are able to find a style/yogi/class that supports you in that goal. Maybe you enjoy practicing yoga because of these so-called spiritual benefits. Maybe you just want to reap the physical benefits. Maybe everyone needs to back the F— off.

Namaste.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaibara/2811540730/”>kaibara87</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

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