The purpose of this study was to describe the perception of Yoga spirituality in Minnesota. In this phenomenological study, in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with eleven Yoga instructors about the traditional spirituality of Yoga. Although they all perceived that Yoga is traditionally spiritual, many said the spiritual aspect was not well presented in most classes, if at all. Most perceived that spiritual opening occurs with asana practice, and that many benefits were experienced when traditional spiritual Yoga was practiced. Barriers to teaching and learning the traditional spirituality of Yoga were: the fear of being exploited by a guru, the fear of non-Christian spirituality, prohibitions against spiritual talk in public institutions, lack of understanding because of insufficient training, and cultural colonization of Yoga. The implications of these findings are that, although non-spiritual yoga can be a bridge to yoga’s benefits, more training for instructors and respect for Indian culture are needed. More awareness of the spiritual aspect of Yoga and more study of its practice are needed.
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