Is your Yoga practice spiritual?

It’s a question Cyndi posed on her blog: “Do you consider your Yoga practice to be spiritual? What makes your practice spiritual?”

So, I’ve been thinking about this, and my answer is a quiet and humble “no.”

It’s something I struggle with. I guess it’s kind of like going to a fabulous restaurant and wondering why everyone raves about the food. But that’s not even a very good comparison, because I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

Let me explain by saying that my yoga practice is not simply physical. I do love the physical aspect of yoga. But more important to me, my yoga practice helps take me away from “I should have cleaned the bathtub” and “Did I leave the iron on?” and “OhmygodlookatmythighswhydontIworkoutmore?!” to a place where I can focus on other things.

It gives me a place to work on my biggest life goal: to change who I am. I wish I were less sarcastic, and I wish I were more openly honest with people, less guarded. I wish I didn’t use humor as a screen to keep people out. I wish I could more easily and sincerely say things like “I’m sorry” and “You’re right, I’m wrong.” I want to craft a better person who thinks before she reacts, who always considers other’s feelings before making a move, who greets life’s challenges with a smile and patience rather than cussing and glowering.

In the same token, yoga also gives me a place to be okay with who I am. Non-judgemental acceptance is the party line, and I’m down with that. My yoga practice, thanks in part to my soulful yogini and the supportive community of our studio, creates for me a space where I can be more honest with others and myself, and more satisfied and generous with myself at the same time. For at least one hour a week, I feel unstoppable and confident. Whole.

So, no, there is nothing spiritual about my yoga practice. There’s no God (either uppercase or lowercase) and frankly, there’s very little meditation. But there is a wellspring from which I can draw patience and candor. And there is some good framework for building the person inside of me as well as the person on the outside.

  1. <![CDATA[The Irreverent Yogini]]>’s avatar

    well, jeni, i think everything you wrote is very much about being spiritual. the word spiritual actually means ‘in spirit’. not necessarily about God, but about recognizing that which is beautiful and sacred in us all. it’s a matter of semantics i suppose. my yoga is about finding God in myself and others, which is all about self improvement, acceptance and living truth. love you lots!!
    the irreverent yogini