Breaking down some FAQ today!
What is Om? What does Namaste mean? Is Yoga a religion?
Let's dive right into it. Om is the most important seed mantra stemming from Hindu and Tibetan Buddhism. OM is the most elemental of vibrations. Say it with your mouth. It starts in the back of your mouth and works its way forward. Say it slowly with length, like a long chant. This is what the yogis and Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist believe is the sound of the void. It is the seed sound of the universe, the vibration that created everything. Many other religions have similar sounds, including the Christian "Amen."
Namaste. Namaste carries the meaning of "the divine in me bows to the divine in you," or can be understood as "the light in me honors or bows to the light in you." Literally, Namaste means "salutation to you," or "bow to you." It is commonly used in India as a respectful "hello." Usually, your hands come together, palms facing and touching each other, at your heart center, like prayer hands, or wishing hands. You then bow your head forward while saying namaste. This is a greeting often used at the end of a yoga class.
Is Yoga a religion? No, but it can goes hand in hand with religion for Hindus and Buddhists and other religious sectors. Yoga came from the same holy Indian scripts written thousands of years ago, the Vedas, that Hinduism and Buddhism also stem from, and thus the ties are very close in their use. Yoga is non-sectarian and as seen in the USA and many other countries, is used most often in a way that emphasizes Hatha Yoga (the postures, the breathing, etc.). Hatha Yoga prepares the body for meditation, or the ultimate goal of reaching a personal enlightenment. There are other types of yoga, including Bhakti Yoga, which emphasizes devoting oneself to a personal God and is stemmed from Hinduism. So yes, it is tied to religion, but not one in and of itself. Yoga is practiced far beyond India, from the USA, to Brazil, to Italy, to Iran and more.
For further insight, Sri Swami Satchidananda explained as he was bringing yoga into the USA, that he believed that all religions share universal principals and that yoga was not a religion, but a combination of teachings that form the foundation of anyone's spiritual practice. He is famous for saying "truth is one, paths are many," and this is why.
Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg for explaining these FAQs, and these are solely my take on the answers. If you'd like to learn more or have a more in depth conversation, please reach out to me! I'd be happy to provide material for you to read or answer any questions. Otherwise, I just hope this provided some insight into those little questions we ask ourselves in class!
yoga, food, family, and travel. these are what drive my life! as a stay at home mom of 2 little girls with an active yoga practice. i longed to find the perfect yoga class for my own children. i felt a calling to a kids yoga teacher training in early November, 2017 and answered the call. in 2018, i felt called towards a greater mission. teaching teens & adults. today, i am living my dream.