Question: Is yoga a religion?
Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda: Yoga is not a religion, rather yoga is a process of self-discovery, a process of uncovering or clearing away what’s keeping us from understanding our true identity and value. It’s a process that one follows to clear the cobwebs of the mind, intelligence, and heart so that he can see and understand himself, others, and the world clearly, as they are.
The truth of our identity is intrinsic and inseparable from us. Realizing one’s true identity is therefore not a matter of artificially changing one’s dress or memorizing a new dogma which is common in religions. The path of yoga is a personal journey that you yourself must follow to uncover your true identity through direct experience and perception. In that sense, yoga is a science, not a religion. It’s not something you join or quit; it’s not something you just believe. It’s a process. Those who are self-realized are those who have themselves gone through this process of uncovering the true nature of things.
Yoga is a process; it includes tools, values and virtues, which one must apply in one’s personal life to achieve optimum physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. One cannot “join” a process—one can only apply it.
Through the process of yoga meditation and cultivation of wisdom, one comes to understand that essential aspect of oneself which never changes. This is self-realization. Helping individuals realize their true, unchanging identity is the goal of Science of Identity Foundation.