Saturday, October 20, 2012

An agnostic approach to Yoga

Agnosticism is the philosophy and practice of evaluating and generating knowledge based on critical, evidence-based inquiry.

The term agnostic is derived from Ancient Greek ἀ- (a-), meaning "without", and γνῶσις (gnōsis), meaning "knowledge", i.e. direct knowledge.

The agnostic approach is very much aligned with yoga philosophy and practice in that yogic knowledge is fundamentally empirical, it needs to be "experienced". The path and goal of yoga as defined above is here interpreted as a quest for greater clarity in perception and thereby more precise and effective action. The tools to achieve this goal are a healthy and balanced body and mind.

Yogic knowledge is empirical, it needs to be experienced.

Yoga defined - the bigger picture

Yoga is the philosophy and practice of concentrating your body and mind towards attaining a goal.

The term yoga is derived from Vedic Sanskrit योग with the literal meaning of "to join", "to unite", i.e. exercising a conscious effort to bring something together. One figurative application of its root verb "yuj" is yoking or harnessing of oxen, where "to harness" also implies "to put something to some use".

In yoga philosophy the "something" relates to our thoughts, speech, and action. In yoga practice the "something" is our mind, breath and body movements. The "some use" or purpose of yoga is largely defined by the particular philosophical or theological system that yoga is combined with. While formalized as one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, yoga does not stand alone as a separate belief system. Therefore, the focus and aim of yoga depends largely on the religious tradition and in particular the needs of the practicing individual.

Yoga - the conscious effort to bring something together to attain a goal