yoga without the spiritualityBy Rachel Holmes

Where can students find yoga without the spirituality? Let’s look at options and some of the comical aspects of this search. There are many types of yoga and many different needs for students. Some students want to belong, to get fit, to find themselves, to lose weight, and some have no desire at all to enhance their spiritual growth. Historically,  yoga has its origination in spirituality, but physical yoga exercise without spirituality exists. In fact, it can be a great weight loss plan. There are many physical and mental benefits that accompany yogic practices, and it is one of the reasons that people get into it. But what if you do not like the spirituality in yoga? That is understandable because spirituality is not everyone’s cup of tea. In that situation, you remove the spirituality from the exercise; you simply have to find the right yoga instructor and class.


Finding the Right Style or Class for You

If you want to find a posture practice that is not spiritually centered, then you should look for instructors who are focused on the health and exercise aspect of yogic techniques. Find an instructor who wants what is similar to what you want. Instructors will often attract students who want the same thing. Asana practice comes with outstanding physical health benefits. For example, it can make you feel stronger, it can help you to lose weight, and it can increase your flexibility. Heavy emphasis on physical goals is a core philosophy in fitness yoga classes. Let’s be honest, if you want to crush the spirituality out of your practice, you can focus on getting your pics all over social media. You won’t be focusing on anything spiritual while doing a handstand on the edge of the Grand Canyon or a skyscraper. People who risk their lives for a death defying extreme yoga pic have managed to discard spirituality, but maybe they should say a prayer or two before taking a death by yoga selfie.


One way to find a class that focuses on the poses of yoga without the spirituality is to look for a specialized niche session. For example, you could look up hot, power, weight loss or purchase p90x yoga. If you do not want yogic exercise with spirituality, then you should avoid the styles of yoga with a traditional name. For example, Kundalini yoga will definitely have spiritual aspects in every class. If you want yoga without the spirituality, you must avoid spiritual health, or anything spiritual, and traditional styles would have to be eliminated. No singing,  because singing might bring about states of spiritual beauty and we can’t have that.

Yoga in Different Packages

There is an endless spectrum of teachers, styles, approaches, and schools, so you should never assume you cannot find an asana practice without spirituality. There are even gentler styles for new students, seniors, or people who cannot do difficult yoga poses. Doing your research beforehand can help you to find a style that is the best for you. A military approach to physical fitness might be enough to purge the spirituality out of the class. A loud drill sergeant can definitely take the spirituality out of a room.


Students – Vocalize Your Concern Beforehand

One way to get into a yoga training session without spirituality is to vocalize your concern beforehand to the instructor. If he or she is honest, the teacher will understand your concern and be honest with you about the spiritual aspects taught within the yoga school. If you don’t hear what you like, keep looking for a class until you find one that does not have that spiritual aspect. The worst that can happen is you join a Pilates class.

Yogic methodology has been practiced for thousands of years as a spiritual practice. However, as the demand has grown for classes without chanting, there are fitness yoga instructors who are focused more on the health aspects. A little research can help you to find the class that would best suit you.


Teachers in Search of the Unicorn

Does yoga without the spirituality seem like a bunch of B.S.? Let’s look at this from a teacher’s point of view. What about teaching one of these made to order classes? What do you do if you want to teach a yoga class, but the facility doesn’t want any spirituality at all? Maybe you just bow out – From the beginning this is not a yoga class. The management only wants warm ups, stretching, and a cool down. They don’t want woo-woo yoga or to be the facility that creates the next wave of yoga zombies. They just want a Stretch or Stretch And Tone class. No pranayama, meditation, relaxation, mudras, japa, or anything else that might upset them. Can you put that in a skillet and cook it up?

Yoga teachers who are purists will refuse. Pilates teachers will say: “No problem.” Yoga teachers who need a job, will teach a stretch class. So, it can be done, but it has become a stretch class, which is not really a big deal.  Unless, you eliminate smiling, laughing, and reading books – In that case you may just create a new strain of zombies who would be ready for indoctrination. Anything is possible, we already have beer yoga and goat yoga. We could have them together and make sure there is no spirituality, because we have distractions and a big clean up after class.


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