Is yoga a religion? | Live Science

Watch a yoga class and chances are by the end of the session you’ll have seen students bow their heads, hold their hands in a prayer position and quietly whisper ‘Namaste’. So is yoga a religion? It’s a reasonable question to ask, especially as they may have also knelt on their mat with closed eyes and chanted ‘OM’  in front of a statue of a Buddha or Indian god. 

While these rituals are not uncommon in yoga, most classes today focus on physical postures. However, it wasn’t always that way; early yoga practitioners had an entirely different agenda. Here we speak to world-renowned yoga expert and co-author of Roots of Yoga, James Mallinson, about the origins of the practice. Then UK author and yoga teacher Eve Boggenpoel explains how to get started with yoga so you can enjoy its many benefits. 

Is yoga a religion?