Seated Jina, probably Mahavira, 9th-10th century
Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago and has become a part of the lives of many millions around the globe. This widespread popularity has also raised questions about whether yoga is a religious, spiritual, or simply a physical practice—issues made even more complex by the hundreds of styles of taught yoga today. Comparative religion scholar and yogi Graham M. Schweig examines the many facets of the practice as he answers the most basic of questions: What is yoga?
In defining the essential nature of yoga, he draws from ancient classical texts, especially the Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita, and from modern thought on religion and interreligious matters. He looks at the distinctions between definitions of religion and spirituality; the role yoga plays in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other traditions of faith; and how yoga can be a religious and a spiritual practice, as well as a purely psycho-physical one unbound by religious doctrine and vision.
Schweig is professor of religion and director of studies in religion at Christopher Newport University.
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