“It is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person. In a way, the traditional notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual but not religious. It is not necessary to go to church and give money— for many, nature can be a church. Some of the best people in history do not believe in God, while some of the worst deeds were done in His name” ~Pope Francis
I don’t believe in religion.
To me, all the religions are pointing to the same truth, just in different forms. I honestly used to think that religion was for the weak. That sounds horrible doesn’t it? It sounded horrible as I wrote it too.
People want to hold onto something. To believe that they will find comfort in times of need and in the afterlife.
But do any of us know if any of these religions are REALLY true. No! How many people do you know have died and come back to life to tell us what the real truth is. NONE.
And frankly I will never be okay with a belief system that says “if you don’t believe x y z, then you’re going to hell.” Fuck that. How pretentious. Totally asinine. The number of religions are innumerable and are born out of cultures and people groups far different from each other.
So let’s please stop this nonsense that says “my way is the ticket to heaven and you’re just living in sin.”
Naturally this opinion is based on childhood experiences with Christian fundamentalism. Not that fun. I also have a far too developed left side of the brain. And I don’t love the “rules” of religion. It feels forced and stifling. And not logical.
But as I’ve grown older, I have come to value the structure that religion brings. And although Yoga is most certainly NOT a religion, there are guidelines to follow. And this really isn’t something to balk at. Humans thrive on discipline and structure. There is something to be said for being able to prop one’s hat on a set of beliefs.
Anything that you can turn to in tough situations to bring comfort is worthwhile.
Religion is NOT for the “weak” as I once thought.
And honestly we all have our own beliefs. Whether it’s connected to a formal school of thought or not they’re there. So we might as well make them count and work for us.
So that’s why I can get on board with Yoga principles. I DO NOT want to hear about how God is going to save us. I want to hear the down and dirty tools that I can use to better myself today. I don’t want pray to “someone” outside of myself to magically change me.
Since we come from the Divine, and the Divine lives and breathes inside each and every one of us, let’s go ahead and save ourselves shall we?
And really the Niyamas and Yamas are saying exactly what every major world religion is saying. Don’t steal. Be honest. Cultivate disciple. Establish a relationship with the Divine. None of these are weird. Or hippy dippy. They’re just common sense.
They are principles that all of us “should” be doing regardless of being Yogis or not. These principles are simply saying……”let’s just be good human beings alright“?
So let’s get started. I have broken out the Niyamas and Yamas and have included some musings of my own. Sometimes the dissertation on Yoga principles can get rather dry. And you’re really not sure how if fits into real life.
So I’ve provided examples and practical tips to get your Do’s and Dont’s on!