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Is Yoga a Religion? Or a Science?

There is an ongoing debate around whether yoga is to be considered as a religion or science. Many individuals distinguish between classical yoga and modern yoga.

They believe classical yoga has been originated from Hindu religion but modern yoga has a different meaning and have detached themselves from the spiritual or religious aspect of yoga. Another strand of individuals believe yoga as a secular practice which is a scientific process and not an inherently religious one.

Yoga is a positive and comprehensive practice which tries to bring an unity or harmony through the integration of body, mind and spirit. Yoga means union as well as discipline. Hence yoga can be considered to be a practice or a system of practices which would help human beings reach their ultimate or optimum potential.

So before deciding whether yoga is a religion or a science, we need to understand both the perspectives to evaluate and understand how should one perceive the process or activity of yoga.


Why is Yoga not a religion?

Yoga is considered by many to be a part of a religion but not a religion by itself. Yoga is universal, though it has originated in India, but it is not limited to the same. It can be practiced anywhere in the world. Any individual has the right to practice yoga despite of being from different religious backgrounds.

Yoga doesn’t imbibe by or consider any particular religious believes but asks individuals to uphold certain basic ethical principles. Yoga aids to all religion or religious followers by improving their nervous system, providing them with a healthy lifestyle and helping them to find inner peace and calm in this chaotic world.


Yoga as a Science

Rather, yoga is considered to be a science because of the particular methodologies it follows or prescribes others to follow. Yoga in the current society has proved to be beneficial for curing many diseases as well. It is being able to cure asthma and can reduce the rate of heart attack.

Yoga is based on facts and has nothing do to with following a certain faith or not. Yoga is a personal practice. If you practice it, it would yield you the same results as anyone else as it is based on scientific facts and are not mere assumptions.

So whether you have faith or not, you would get the same result while practicing yoga. Science proves that the entire existence is just one energy and yoga makers you experience it through it’s practice and aims to make you understand and feel the concept of union.

It is a science which aims to understand the relationship between body and mind. The teachings of yoga doesn’t have any religious or theological orientation. It helps an individual attain inner peace and makes the individual calm and confident about her or his own self.


Yoga is a solution in which no belief system is involved. It is considered to be an experiential system. It doesn’t have any specific set of moral codes which it dictates you to follow. 


The practice of yoga makes you treat everyone as part of you, hence builds a feeling of belonging towards everyone else, which would make you  behave in a certain proper way and be good to everyone else without any presence of moral codes telling you to do the same.


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Yoga As Both Science And Religion 

Yoga doesn’t necessarily have to be either religion or science. It is a guiding path for every individual and how the individual will be going about with it is up to them. It can be a science for some or a religion or spiritual experience for some.

It can be perceived as both science as well as mysticism. As it is a deeply personal journey, it depends on the individual how he or she would be practicing it. If you are a religious person, you might chant hymns while practicing it, and if you are a non-religious person, you might practice yoga just to improve your physical as well as mental health and achieve a flexible body and a peaceful mind in the end.

Also, read our post on Yoga For Anxiety And Depression

Concluding Thoughts 

Yoga may have religious roots or origins, but whether you want to open up to it or incorporate it in you daily practice is absolutely up to you. Yoga as a science or a religion is not an absolute dichotomy and individuals have the right to believe which one they think to be true.

Hence, yoga can be perceived both as a scientific as well as religious practice based on the way one is approaching or perceiving it. So, it’s not necessary to choose one of the two, but you can perceive yoga as a scientific methodological practice and can also view it as a religious practice according to your belief system and moral codes.

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