Many may ask the question is yoga a religion? The answer is yes and no but not necessarily. While yoga isn’t a religion per se, many yoga practitioners will choose to blend yoga with spirituality and/or religion and sometimes it can come very naturally. What makes this possible is the physical benefits of yoga such as improved flexibility, balance, stress relief and increased stamina. However, those same benefits also tend to erase some of the more negative aspects of traditional religions such as the need for belief and higher power.
Yoga is one of the oldest philosophies in the world and has been practiced widely throughout India, Tibet, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Although most people today would probably associate yoga with yoga pants and mats, the history of yoga goes much deeper than that. For example, yoga goes all the way back to ancient times when the Hindu Gurus was trying to heal others and themselves. The underlying philosophy is a sort of spiritual Buddhism that emphasizes meditation, yoga practice and devotion as well as a strong belief in the Hindu gods and goddesses.
However, the history of yoga is complicated by the fact that many Hindus and Buddhists do not practice yoga in accordance with the Buddhist path as set forth in the texts of the Buddha. When you look deeper into the meaning of the texts, it is clear to see that these spiritual paths are compatible with each other. Therefore, the question is not is yoga a religion but rather is it a philosophy that is compatible with many different religions such as: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. This is just to give a small sample of the many different types of religions out there. What I am trying to say is that the compatibility of these different religions is part of what makes yoga such a powerful and beneficial practice.