How to Explain the Spirituality of Yoga to Your Loved Ones

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There are many stereotypes attached to yoga, but until you begin practicing or researching it, you might not be familiar with its connection to spirituality. However, after some time, this often becomes a big reason why many of us consider this practice to be so important in our lives.

When yoga came to the Western world during the 1960s, it carried with it a great veil of mysticism, which piqued a lot of people's interest. Yogis such as Paramahansa Yogananda & the Maharishi, who famously taught The Beatles Transcendental Meditation, spoke in such a way about spiritual matters that millions worldwide were persuaded to take up yoga & Eastern spiritual beliefs.

Though firmly tied to spirituality, yoga is not a religion. It can, however, enhance your relationship with your inner spirit. Think of it as a vehicle that takes you to a place of deeper mind, body, & spiritual awareness. However, spirituality means something different for everyone, so you may find it challenging to explain this to those around you unfamiliar with it & its connection to Yoga. Here are a few ways you can help your loved ones understand why you are so serious about this practice.

Compassion

When someone embarks on a spiritual journey, one of the first shifts that takes place within is a growth in compassion. This compassion is directed first towards the individual & then extended to all other living beings in the universe. Yoga teaches students patience, which results in more time spent inside ourselves figuring out a healthy reaction to any given external situation. The reaction should always be positive & compassionate, as this is what the yogic lifestyle preaches.

Being kind to all living beings, including yourself is a mindset at the core of all spiritual faiths, & yoga simply enhances your ability to project these elements with the greatest of ease & patience. Explaining to those around you how yoga helps you develop compassion should make it easier for them to understand one of the aspects of spirituality found in the practice.

Connection

Yoga is very similar to meditation in some respects. Some even call it "moving meditation." There is a focus or intention placed within yoga sessions, which could be love, relationships or anything else you choose. Over time, the sense of connection you get to these areas when practicing yoga intensifies. As you practice yoga postures & breathing techniques, your mind activity lessens, helping you place your full attention on your intentions.

When practicing yoga, the connections between your mind, body & spirit increase as you spend prolonged periods of time focusing on you & your connection to the whole. While this idea is used in many meditation techniques, yoga provides effective results, as all yoga forms & styles are designed to weaken our ego & mind activity so that we can focus properly. This increased focus & attention to you & your life should be apparent to your loved ones. Simply point out how yoga contributes to this & it will likely become clear what you mean when you say yoga is spiritual.

Sharing

Nothing will teach or explain the spirituality of yoga to someone better than if he or she experiences it firsthand. For example, the internet is a great place to begin exploring the depths of yoga. Videos, blogs & radio programs will delve into the deep topics & help you answer the toughest questions. However, since spirituality is a deeply personal matter, protect any online activity with a secure connection to ensure privacy. Sharing what you read or watch with loved ones will help them see why it is so interesting to you, & it might even inspire them to get involved.  

If this is the case, the next step is to invite them to a class. With continued practice, they can deepen their understanding of the practice & experience for themselves the spiritual growth yoga can offer.

Ultimately, spirituality is a very individual journey, but the skills you develop by practicing yoga help make it easier to share this journey with others. Through compassion, connection & sharing, your loved ones will have the chance to understand the spiritual journey you have embarked on, & who knows, they may even want to join you.

If you have any questions or comments about the spirituality of Yoga, make yourself heard in the comments. You can also reach us by email at info@TheEssentialLife.org. If you have words of wisdom that you'd like to share & you'd like to see your articles featured here on The Essential Life blog, please submit your articles here


Maria Garre yoga teacher

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