Yoga is not a religion. Or if valuing life, all forms of life, valuing yourself and honoring your Self with love is considered a religion, then, it is. I think of it more as Art, supported by findings in Science. Art is something beautiful that requires no explanation or reasoning. Science is defined in the dictionary “a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied”. It is spiritual in that it seeks to bring us better connected to our inner self, that of our soul or our spirit. Our soul is a storehouse of so much untapped energy… and yoga brings us to recognize what’s within us. Wars are fought over religion, then, yoga is definitely not that. NOT religion. Not about power to dominate others who gets in your way. It is more about you getting out of your own way, and inviting the true self to shine through the layers of old habits, patterns and obstructions. It’s Power of LOVE manifested because in the end, life is just that… about love. Our spirit is undying because there’s this positive energy called…”love” which gives us the eternal life beyond death. On the surface, it may look faded or perhaps even erased from memory – it’s still there all around us.
Meditation is a practice or a tool, but again, it too is not a religion. Meditation is practiced in all forms of religion, as prayers and chants and affirmatons, serves as a form of meditation. Yoga is practiced by all people in every religion but not a religion. Having said that, Yoga, like certain rituals, have a tone set by the instructor. I like to think that my tone is that of ZEN, a mindfulness we cultivate. Hope this “ritual” called the yoga practice, helps in cultivating clarity and peace on your journey to spread your love. Love, the positive energy, root of optimism, hope and faith that believes tomorrow will be a better day than today; Fear, the negative energy, the root of anger, hate and greed, caught in the past but not learning from the past. While we live in that dualism, we accept both with grace, we pray for more light to expose the darkness; not hide from them.
Dhyana Mudra – Meditation Hand Pose for Zazen:
In this mudra, the hands are placed on the lap, right hand over left, palms facing upward and fingers stretched in a relaxed pose. The right hand represents enlightenment, while the left is the illusory nature of existence.
Alternatively, this positioning of the hands signifies skillful action (or “method”) as arising from a state of inner calm.
Sometimes, this mudra is displayed with both thumb tips touching each other, forming a triangle. This figure represents the Three Jewels of Buddhism – the Buddha, the Sangha and the Good Law (Dharma). The coming together of the thumb tips also indicates the union of two psychic channels in the body, as represented by the male and female principles that exist in every sentient being.( ida and pingala nadis or yin/yang contrast)
On a more practical note, the Mudra signifies the gesture of absolute balance. The person meditating is completely unmoved by the surroundings, immersed in infinite space. Be.
In many temples of Japan, should you practice Zazen (sitting meditation) there, a monk will hit you with a stick should your distraction be apparent – a slightest bit of movement, and whack! comes the (gentle and tender they say) blow…but luckily, we do not have to tolerate such ill interpreted method here.