Spiritual Benefits of Yoga: Finding Inner Peace

Spiritual Benefits of Yoga: Finding Inner Peace

Introduction to Yoga Spirituality

Many people practice yoga because of the physical benefits they experience from it. They might attribute feeling more grounded, calmer, and happier to doing exercise. In actuality, they’re likely experiencing this “zen” feeling from both the movement and the intention behind it. 

Yoga, at its core, is a spiritual practice. Connecting your breath to your movements is a spiritual practice. You don’t have to think about or believe in it, but it’s happening because it’s inherent in yoga. In the first section, we’ll look at the origins of this philosophy, which validates this idea of spirituality as an interconnected part of the practice of yoga. 

By practicing yoga, you’re naturally moving with intention. It’s laced within every movement and every breath. When you ground down into your feet or sit bones, you’re learning to be present in your body while also aiming to connect with the ground beneath you. The term “spirituality” might throw some people off, but it doesn’t mean religion. It can mean finding purpose in life, mindfulness and presence, a broadened worldview, or maybe just plain happiness. 

spiritual benefits of yoga

You get to define what spirituality is for you, but if you’re practicing yoga, you’re likely practicing spirituality whether you realize it or not. 

Today’s article will explore the origins and philosophy of yoga and spirituality, how yoga is a spiritual practice, alongside the many benefits of practicing yoga. If you’re curious about how to deepen your yoga practice and learn about the different aspects of spirituality incorporated into this world, then keep reading. 


The Origins and Philosophy of Spirituality in Yoga

In Sanskrit, the word yoga derives from the word “yuj,” meaning “to unite or connect.” Many people view yoga as a connection or union between the body, mind, and soul. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact origins of yoga, but it has been traced back more than 5,000 years to Northern India. That’s a lot of years. 

There was a time in history called the pre-Vedic and Vedic periods. During this time, some of the earliest practices of yoga appeared in texts like Rig Veda, which spoke of the word “yoga” as part of a hymn to a rising sun god and again on stone tablets showing figures in meditation seats. 

rig veda tablet yoga

These early clues to yoga’s history didn’t contain the philosophy or practice of yoga that we know today. The Vedas did have elements of breathwork, postures, and inner awareness. 

Pantajali’s yoga sutras and the Bhagavad Gita came later on, according to some historians. However, the dates aren’t specific, and they talked of gurus and some of the earliest yogis living in India and spreading throughout Tibet and East Asia. 

origins of yoga


Of course, we now live in modern times where people all across the west have access to yoga, yoga teacher training, and other types of traditional Eastern practices. Because of this, no two teachers will likely have differing viewpoints about yoga. 

You’ll find meditation classes using modern approaches to presence, hot yoga classes filled with hilarious teachers, and then your typical vinyasa classes where you may or may not receive spiritual wisdom or guidance depending on what the teacher believes. 

As you learn about the history of yoga, it’s always worthwhile to do the inner work and reflect on yourself to see what resonates with you. It’s ok if you don’t practice yoga as gurus did 5,000 years ago. 

If you’re looking for a place to start, the eight limbs of yoga can help guide you toward a more spiritually meaningful yoga practice. Below, you’ll find a list of the eight limbs, and you can visit this article for a deeper dive into the meaning of each one. 

The 8 limbs of yoga include: 

  1. The Yamas
  2. The Niyamas
  3. Asana
  4. Pranayama
  5. Pratyahara
  6. Dharana
  7. Dhyana
  8. Samadhi

Yoga as a Spiritual Practice 

If you’re looking for more than just a physical yoga practice, you’ve come to the right place. There are so many ways to “deepen” a yoga practice, and that’s by exploring some of the yoga philosophies that focus more on the mind. 

Later, we’ll discuss the benefits of a spiritual practice — like a more regulated nervous system. For now, let’s see how meditation, mindfulness, and breathwork can lead to spiritual growth and self-realization. 

breathwork practice

Are meditation and breathwork a significant part of a yoga practice? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. Breathwork should be incorporated into every yoga session because every movement is about the breath. Sure, you might go through a whole class trying the hardest poses and kicking up into a handstand, but are you breathing? 

Breathwork is the key to connecting your mind with your body. When you are mindful of your breaths, syncing them up to your movements, you’re practicing a skill that will carry over into every part of your life. 

meditation practice

Meditation, on the other hand, is a little more complex. People may define meditation and breathwork as the same thing, but they aren’t always, although they could be at times. Meditation can be many things depending on what you’re after and who is teaching you. 

The goal for many people with meditation is to help calm and quiet the mind. It doesn’t mean you don’t have thoughts, but it can help you let go of things more easily instead of attaching to stories that aren’t beneficial to us. Instead, you can notice the feeling, whatever it is, and then let it go and watch for the next thing. 

When you practice any form of mindfulness, meditation, or breathwork, you’re teaching your body how to find a state of equilibrium and balance. With this practice, the potential for spiritual growth is huge because it unlocks the door for you to look within and observe what you see there a little more objectively. 

spiritual benefits of yoga

Consistency is the key ingredient here. If you meditate one time, you’ll likely feel a little calmer. And then it’s gone. Just like eating healthy or exercising, you must practice with the breath and the mind daily to see more substantial results over the course of your life. 

Spiritual Benefits of Yoga

A regular practice of yoga has many benefits, body, mind, and spirit. The goal of yoga for many is to create some sort of union between the three. Yoga has many spiritual benefits; we’ll share some of them below.  

  1. Improved focus and clarity.
    Focusing on presence or meditating on a specific object can help train and focus the mind. By focusing the mind, you may experience more clarity because the mind feels less busy.

  2. A greater sense of purpose and meaning in life:
    The spiritual benefits of yoga often lead to a greater sense of meaning and purpose. When you have something to focus your life on, whether it be a career or a way of being, it can drive you and help you feel like you’re living for a reason.

  3. Increased hope and compassion
    If you read the news, you know there’s plenty of devastation floating around the world. By practicing non-violence and learning to regulate your nervous system, among many other skills, you can increase your sense of hope and compassion for yourself and the world around you.

  4. A better understanding of your body and history
    The spiritual practice of yoga naturally encourages us to look within and self-reflect. As part of this process, you may come to understand your body more. As you move your body, you may experience a release of emotions at different times, which is a powerful way to work through your history and traumas.

  5. Increased self-awareness and self-acceptance
    As things rise, you may notice you have historically been hard on yourself. By practicing the spiritual side of yoga, you may notice an increase in self-awareness (noticing when you’re judging yourself) and self-acceptance (“I am great just the way I am.”).

  6. A deepening of personal relationships and connections with others
    Sometimes yoga can feel like an isolated practice. We’re in a room full of people, but frequently, no one talks to each other during the practice itself. When you dip your toes into the spiritual side of yoga, you can participate in workshops and activities to enhance your connections with others and use those tools to deepen your personal relationships.

  7. A sense of inner peace and contentment
    Anxiety is a major challenge for a lot of people, and practicing all aspects of yoga regularly can lead to greater contentment and a sense of inner peace. Of course, we’re still human and will still struggle, but with these practices and tools, we can support ourselves better when life gets hard. 
spiritual benefits of yoga


Finding inner peace can come in many forms. You could go to therapy, exercise daily, journal, build relationships, or practice yoga. For many people, it combines all of the above and more. 

Yoga is just one tool you can add to your spiritual toolbelt, with many benefits. As you learn more about how to use yoga to improve the quality of your life, don’t be afraid to dive down rabbit holes of information that pique your curiosity. You never know where life will take you. 

spiritual benefits of yoga

If you’re new to yoga, or even if you’re not, it’s ok to take things slowly or dive in head first. There’s no right or wrong way to learn about or get into yoga. If hot yoga is your thing, start there and learn more about yourself in the process. If you like yoga nidra and more relaxed classes, don’t be afraid to sign up for a workshop to learn more about it. 

You don’t have to teach yoga to take courses that dive into the spiritual side of the practice. Everyone’s journey is unique, and you’ll find what works best. 

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