I practice yoga once or twice a week. For me, it is a time when my mind goes blank and I think to myself, this is how other animals must think! That is, they do not think, which is to say they cannot even think about not thinking. The correct practice of yoga demands total concentration on the physical self — breathing, stretching, creating or releasing muscle tension. The focus reaches a point of complete mindfulness, and it’s as if you can feel every hair on your body, all at once.
For an atheist, this is probably the closest thing to an “atheist’s prayer.” Complete indulgence in the present, where thinking is unnoticeably absent. There is nothing. Coming out of this break from reality, the self is renewed and positively recalibrated.
it doesn’t make sense to me why someone wouldn’t dabble with the idea of divinity when they don’t actually need to accept it. how free is an atheists’ mind really? D: being heavily grounded is a bond between us and our maker(the substance we are composed of), period, for anyone.
To accept nothingness is not to deny spirituality. The existence of life (and conscious life too!) is magical, yes, but the reality is that our universe will eventually fizzle out into nothingness. One can accept the reality while appreciating the transitive nature of life. I recommend reading Issac Asimov’s “The Last Question” (it is a short story) to illustrate what I am trying to say.
I ponder this a lot because I have chosen a path of teaching yoga and I don’t like to live with a belief in a personal God. You don’t need to believe in a personal afterlife or morality to choose to follow the principles and acknowledge the you are made of something you cannot yet identify with. My philosophy about it is still developing but the psychological healing and physiological balance that is possible with it is more effective than anything I’ve experienced yet. And a community committed to nonviolence, truth, and discipline is a good one to be a part of.Real Ashtanga has way less of a spiritual component and those communities are not as mystically inclined. And most of the pseudo-scientific tools they use can be related to proven scientific concepts.
I’m an atheist, and I do yoga often.
Yoga is not a religion, nor does need a belief in a deity. I see no contradiction.