Publication Date



Yoga, Heart-Mind, Senses and Sensation, Meditation, Experience (Religion), Spirituality


This paper will argue that yoga is not just a mind-body practice, but a spiritual practice that is experienced through the body and the senses, including sight, sound and physical sensation. This is of importance because most of the emphasis within yoga scholarship is on the mind as the doorway to spiritual practice and not the sensory experience as the key to opening the door. We will look at two important passages within The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali and The Bhagavad Gītā, and compare how they differ. We will also analyze two spiritual doorways: the mind and the heart. Feelings and emotions often seem to be absent from yogic practices, or there seems to be a misconception that we need to rid the self of feelings and emotions within our practice. Meditation is a common practice found within world religions. One sits quietly contemplating an aspect of the divine. But what happens next in reality? The mind likes being given things to do, and points of focus help draw our awareness and attention to where we would like to direct it. A variety of practices can help us in our efforts to concentrate, many of which involve our senses, such as mantra. In addition to the sense of sound, our sense of sight and touch is also often used within meditative practices, such as yantra, mudra and mandala. In our meditative practices, are we really telling our minds to cease and desist? Stop thinking. Stop feeling. Stop sensing. Is that what we are really saying? What would a world without senses look, sound, smell, taste, and feel like? Yoga is a sensory spiritual practice that is experienced by the heart-mind through all of the senses, a completely immersive experience. Yoga is a spiritual practice that is experienced by the whole person, heart and mind, through the body and senses. It is felt.