Yoga Practises in Other Religions

Yogic ideas are often expressed in the sermons of Buddha. Early Buddhism included meditative states. Yogacara Buddhism teaches yoga to attain enlightenment. In Tibetan Buddhism the generation of the heat in one’s body is considered as the basis of the whole of Tibetan Yoga. Zen Buddhism is a form of Mahayana Buddhism. Schools of Mahayana Buddhism are renowned for their closeness with Yogic ideas.

In Christian society, during 1898, the Vatican stated that Zen, yoga and other meditation practises can “degenerate into a cult of the body.” In spite of this, several Roman Catholics practise the elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Yoga. On the other hand, Pope John Paul II blessed Swami Satchidananda the founder of the Integral Yoga. Aside from that, many Catholic establishments have served as venues for Integral Yoga events.

In Islam, the development of Sufism which focuses on both breath control (pranayama) and physical postures (asanas), was considered to be influenced by Indian yogic practises. In 2008, Malaysia’s Islamic body passed a fatwa against Muslims who practise yoga, believing that it included fundamentals of “Hindu spiritual teachings” that might lead to blasphemy and eventually to haraam. According to fatwa; yoga practise is permissible only as a physical exercise, and they disallow the chanting of sacred mantras, and state that teaching yoga is inconsistent with what is believed by Islamic philosophy. In addition, the Council of Ulemas banned yoga practises in Indonesia. These fatwa’s have been criticised by various pro-yoga Islam groups.

Tantrism aims to perceive reality and achieve freedom from it. It deals with ritual forms and spiritual practises of worship. Tantric mediation further evolved to chakra meditation.