|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 232 ]
Interest in exploring yoga is expanding around the globe now. Those who embark into the study of yoga today come from a variety of cultural as well as religious backgrounds. Hence, quite often the concepts presented within yoga can be wholly unfamiliar if not sometimes even perplexing to some people.
We can't properly understand yoga without first understanding the fundamental view of reality behind the teachings.
In our yogic pursuits what we are primarily interested in seeking unbiased truth, irrespective of cultural or religious programming—that underlying truth from which we ultimately cannot escape.
At essence, many of the world's religions speak of these same truths, yet differences of language and imagery, politics as well as human ignorance have served to polarize and alienate one from another, drawing rifts and erecting barriers where none previously existed -- where in fact in nature, non exist at all.
The ability to discern the literal from the metaphorical, the abstract from the material, the artificial from the real, is needless to say, a crucial capacity to possess in pursuit of the higher life.
The wonderful aspect of the science of yoga is that it brings a systematic clarity, through intimate, first-hand experience, to the fundamental truths of nature and enables one, regardless of their social, cultural or religious background, to cut through the semantics and rhetoric to see the unity of thought and belief between otherwise seemingly conflicting ideals.
Yoga reveals the unifying principles behind all religions and philosophies. As Swami Gitananda says, "Yoga helps one to become a better Christian, a better Muslim, a better Buddhist, a better Jew, a better Hindu, a better Human Being!"
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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