Atheism and Yoga

Q: I was wondering is Atheism compatible with yoga? Can atheists practice yoga?

A: It's a great question! Atheism and yoga are very compatible because the practice of yoga does not mandate any type of belief system. Yoga is not a religion (but it is something best done religiously!) Yoga is simply a technology which can be used in whichever way a person is inspired to use it. It represents a technology which fosters the revelatory experiences upon which all religions are based.

Because the practice of yoga/meditation engenders direct experience and expanded awareness, one is eventually able to transcend definitions and labels and to experience more deeply whatever it is they believe in.

In Sanskrit, Yoga is derived from the word meaning yoke. That signifies that through the process of yoga we want to yoke ourself to our Higher Self. Traditionally, the goal yoga systems is Samadhi, or complete absorption in God. God could be said to mean: Totality, Infinity, the Universe, the One that gave rise to many, etc. This experience of Oneness transcends all labels and intellectual attempts to categorize it. It's a great tragedy when people allow their limited and limiting definitions of something more vast than they can imagine to create divisions and strife. For humanity to survive and thrive we need to focus not on what divides us, but on what unites us all: We're all aware. We all feel joy and pain. We all have the capacity to have a say in the reality we create. Especially if we band together and bond together.

If your life thus far has not offered you "proof," that there is a life beyond the body, or that "God" exists, that doesn't mean that you are less evolved than someone who believes in God. Some of the most Spiritual people are those who lived their lives with a healthy skepticism. Many people feel that if there is a God then he has left the building, otherwise, why would there be so much suffering? The question might be reframed from Why does God allow it? to How can we amend it?