Is Yoga Hindu?
Yoga is the science of
meditation that appears in Hinduism, which is a broad tradition, as
the essence of its spiritual practices. Yoga is not merely yogic
postures but includes pranayama, mantra and various meditation
approaches. Yoga is an integral part of Sanatana Dharma or the
Yet whether we regard Yoga
as Hindu depends upon what we understand Hinduism to be. If we
follow the superficial and stereotypal view that Hinduism is an
ethnic religion, then Yoga, which is a universal science, goes far
beyond Hinduism, however intimately it may be related to it. We see
Buddhist and Jain systems of Yoga and practices in many different
mystical traditions that resemble Yoga.
However, if we understand
Hinduism as Sanatana Dharma or the universal tradition, which is its
true reality, then we see that Yoga and Sanatana Dharma must always
go together. Yoga or union with universal consciousness is the
practice of Sanatana Dharma or the universal path. Just as Sanatana
Dharma leads us to universality, so does Yoga. Sanatana Dharma is
the greater science and culture of Yoga, its application to all
aspects of life.