Yoga: Sport or Spirituality? : A comparison of practitioners' views and practices at SATS, Norway with yoga literature
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In YOGA SUTRAS, Patanjali defines yoga as “yogas chitta vritti nirodhah, Yoga is the restriction of the movement of the mind” (Philosophy of yoga, 2018, p. 80). It is important to understand YOGA SUTRAS starts with this sutra, and perhaps Patanjali offers the whole meaning of yoga within these three words. However, the important thing we want to concentrate on is that Patanjali words are only concentrated on the mind and have nothing at all to do with modern poses of yoga, and it is mostly the yoga of the mind and not the body (Philosophy of yoga, 2018, p. 81). Therefore we should ask where all these difficult poses in modern yoga come from? and where is the place of the mind, spirituality and traditions? Is there any connection between modern physical yoga and the ancient yoga of the mind? In the classical texts, yoga mainly acts as a means to still the mind and support atman individual souls attaining Brahman. However, in the modern era, the word yoga has been given new interpretations. In the Encyclopedia of Religion, Mircea Eliade explains yoga in the following way, “yoga derives from the root yuj, meaning to bind together, hold fast or yoke. Yoga means union; to unite body and mind” (Encyclopedia of Religion, Eliade, entry of Yoga). What is yoga truly for Norwegians? Spirituality, sport or health? The main objective of this research is to go behind the scenes and answer this question. Langøien, in his article on YOGA, CHANGE AND EMBODIED ENLIGHTENMENT asserts that modern yoga in the west has more attention on the body and the physical part, while there are still some connections to the traditional and philosophical part of this path which may impact practitioners’ experience and in turn affects yoga traditions as well. (2012, p. 27). Through this research, I aim to explore the links and relations between the fitness trend side of yoga and its philosophical and religious traditions among practitioners of yoga at SATS.
Master's thesis Global Studies. VID Specialized University, Stavanger, December 2019