The present study aimed to analyze the extent to which yoga practitioners (n = 784) live by their faith/spirituality and how this influences their perceived prosocial behaviors. For that purpose, the model of transformational spirituality was applied. This model assumes that people who experience the sacred in their lives change their attitudes and behaviors and take responsibility in the world. Data from this cross-sectional anonymous online survey with standardized questionnaires (e.g., Franciscan-Inspired Spirituality Questionnaire, Awe/Gratitude Scale, World Health Organization Five Well-Being Index) showed that for most of the enrolled yoga practitioners, yoga is a conscious way of life and a path of spiritual development. Thus, they search for the Divine in the world, live in accordance with their spiritual convictions, and regard their faith/spiritual convictions as an orientation in their lives. Moreover, they score highly on peaceful attitudes and respectful treatment of others, and on commitment to disadvantaged people and the environment. Although the frequency of asana (postural) or pranayama (breathwork) practices was only marginally related to the indicators of spirituality, the frequency of meditation and studying the philosophical background of yoga was weakly to moderately related to Spiritual Experiences, Awe/Gratitude, and Living by Faith. Respondents' well-being was best predicted by experiential aspects of spirituality, inner congruence/emotional involvement with yoga, and with yoga seen as a spiritual path (R2 = 0.21). Regression analyses (R2 = 0.32) further showed that participants' inner congruence with yoga practices could best be predicted by the experiential aspects of spirituality and, to a lesser extent, by the frequency of asana practices, duration of yoga practice, and Peaceful Attitude/Respectful Treatment. The core dimension of faith and the related experiential aspect of spirituality were thus crucial for the ways the enrolled yoga practitioners behave in the world and interact with others and the environment.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.