The Yoga Questionnaire

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am a PhD Candidate of comparative religions (religionsvitenskap) at the University of Tromsø in northern Norway.

I am conducting research on modern yoga (primarily postural (asana) yoga) and how yoga practice may or may not connect to (alternative) spiritualities. If you in some capacity practice yoga, I would appreciate your taking the time to complete the following questionnaire.

You might find a few of the questions odd. This is in part because the survey builds on studies of other spiritual milieus. Some items from prior questionnaires are included in this survey for the purpose of comparison. Yet other items are drawn from the General Social Survey and from the Baylor University Survey, which permit certain comparisons. This has resulted in the survey being somewhat long -- I deeply appreciate your taking the time to complete it.

If you are wondering about me, I have been studying the alternative scene (and particularly Hindu-derived spirituality) for a while. I wrote my MA thesis on the Art of Living Foundation, and I have since written several articles and chapters on Art of Living, Indian new religious movements in the West, gender, and the New Age. I am also a co-editor of several anthologies. I also have a page on academia.edu that you are welcome to look into.

Categories found in questionnaires like this one frequently do not do justice to the complexities of real life. For this reason, a number of open-ended items have been included that allow for more nuanced responses. Though I prefer ENGLISH, you can, alternately, answer OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS IN ANOTHER EUROPEAN LANGUAGE. You are also welcome to contact me directly at inga.bardsen.tollefsen@uit.no

If there are items you are uncomfortable answering, it is possible to skip questions.

The survey is designed in a particular way. Invariably, there will be questions that do not 'fit' you or your worldview. If so, you can make a note of this either in comments (where available), or in the very last item. I deeply appreciate all answers, also if you consider yourself not religious/ spiritual, agnostic, atheist, or otherwise. 

The questionnaire will NOT gather and store directly identifiable personal data, and will NOT store your IP-address.

Informants may, in some cases, be indirectly identifiable in the 'raw' data material. However, informants will NOT be identifiable in publications/ the PhD thesis.

PLEASE NOTE: If you know that you are inclined to be really thorough (a trait I deeply appreciate), this questionnaire will likely to take some time to complete. Unfortunately, it is not possible to 'park' the questionnaire and return to it later. What you might want to do instead is to look through the questionnaire, note the questions you think will require lengthy responses, and then compose your responses in a word-processing program. After you have finished, reopen the questionnaire, and cut-and-paste responses to relevant questions.

Thanks for your help.

Inga Bårdsen Tøllefsen
University of Tromsø
Tromsø, Norway

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3. Which form(s) of yoga do you practice?

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4. How long have you practiced?

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5. Do you teach yoga? If so, which form(s), and how long have you been a teacher?

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6. Do you see your yoga practice as part of your personal spiritual path, as a mind-body practice/ therapy, or "just" as physical exercise?

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7. Do you see yourself as involved in alternative spirituality - whatever that means to you?

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8. Year of birth

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9. Biological Sex

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10. Do you have a different gender orientation than your biological sex?

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11. Sexual Orientation

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12. Current Marital Status

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13. Number of Children (please list 0 if you have none and include all your offspring whether minors or adults)

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14. Highest Degree (Highest Level of Education Completed So Far)

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15. If you are currently a student which of the following are you attending?

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16. Years of military service (please list 0 if you have not been or are not now in the military).

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19. In political matters, people talk of “the left” and “the right.” How would you place your views on this scale, generally speaking?

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20. Political Participation

  Never Occasionally Sometimes Frequently Very Frequently
Vote
Sign Petitions
Participate in special events (e.g., marches, rallies)
Participate in town meetings, hearings, forums and open meetings.
Serve as active spokesperson for causes of personal concern
Call, write, and/or email local authorities and/or national legislators
Give money to a political party either as membership fee or donation

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21. Should the government cover:

  Fully Mostly Partially No
The expense of sending one's child to day care/pre-school?
The health care expenses of its citizens?
The higher education costs (tuition, books) of its citizens?
Financial support for unemployed citizens?

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22. Social Activism

  Yes Sometimes No
Would you consider yourself an environmentalist?
Do you regularly recycle?
Would you consider yourself a feminist?
Would you consider yourself pro gay rights?
Would you consider yourself pro animal rights?

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23. What religion(s)/religious denomination(s) or spiritual paths were you raised in (religion of parents/guardian)? Please check all that are appropriate.

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24. Religions, spiritual paths and the like that you were involved in in the past. NB - this would be religion(s) you chose, NOT the religion(s) in which you were involved in as a result of your parents' religious choices. However, your answer could be the same as your parents/ guardian's religion.

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25. Religions, spiritual paths, spiritual practices involved in, either now or recently.

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26. Are you currently an initiated follower of a guru, or involved in a group led by a guru or other spiritual leader?

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27. Many people feel like they are seekers or that they are on a spiritual quest. If that applies to you, how old would you say you were when your seeking began? What prompted your seeking?

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28. Number of years since you became aware of -- and interested in -- yoga?

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29. Number of years since you became aware of -- and interested in -- alternative perspectives/healing/spirituality?

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30. How old were you when you first became interested in yoga?

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31. How old were you when you first became interested in alternative perspectives/ healing/ spirituality?

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32. How did you initially become involved with yoga? Specifically, what was your initial point of contact? (The next two items allow you to expand upon your answer to this question.)

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33. Out of the same set of options, were any of the following a secondary factor in your initial involvement?

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34. Please describe how and why you became involved in yoga practice.

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35. Please describe how and why you became involved in alternative perspectives/healing/spirituality.

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36. Do you think that your involvement in yoga was at least part of what led you to become (more deeply) involved with alternative ideas and/or practices?

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37. Which of the following best describes your belief?

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38. If you had to pick from the following list, you would describe yourself as being:

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39. If you have a partner or spouse, how does s/he relate to your spiritual path?

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40. Please list any yoga teachers or other spiritual teachers who have been especially influential for you.

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41. Please list any books that have been particularly influential for your spiritual development or understanding

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42. Please list any Websites, Blogs, Discussion Lists or other Internet Groups that have been particularly influential for you. Do you continue to visit any of these on a regular basis?

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43. Do you subscribe to -- or regularly read -- any Alternative magazines, either online or otherwise? If so, please identify.

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44. Have you ever...

  Never Once or twice Sometimes Frequently (e.g. a few times a week) Every day
Visited a yoga center/ ashram
Attended a yoga retreat
Purchased special clothing specifically for doing yoga
Purchased a special yoga mat

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45. Approximately how much money (in your local currency) do you spend on yoga-related activities and products in a year (retreats, classes, workshops, gear etc.)?

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46. Which best describes your view of the Afterlife?

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47. How often have you had any of the following experiences? [1] Never in my life; [2] Once or twice; [3] Several times; [4] Often; [5] I cannot answer this question

  1 2 3 4 5
Thought you were somewhere you had been before, but knew that it was impossible.
Felt as though you were in touch with someone when they were far away from you.
Seen events that happened at a great distance as they were happening.
Felt as though you were really in touch with someone who had died.
Felt as though you were very close to a powerful, spiritual force that seemed to lift you out of yourself.
Received prophecy, visions, or messages from the spirit world.
A pattern of events in your life that convinces you that they were part of a plan
Extra sensory perception of someone else’s thoughts
An accurate precognition of future events
A sacred experience of nature
A near-death experience

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48. Please indicate whether or not you have ever had any of the following experiences.

  Yes No
Had a dream that later came true.
I had a dream of spiritual significance.
I witnessed or experienced a miraculous, physical healing.
Had a 'psychic' intuition that turned out to be correct.
I felt called by God/Spirit to do something.
I heard the voice of God/Spirit speaking to me.
I changed profoundly as the result of a spiritual experience.

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49. Have you ever had an experience where you felt that…

  Yes No
you were filled with the spirit?
you were one with the universe?
you left your body for a period of time?
you were in a state of spiritual/religious ecstasy?

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50. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements. [1] Strongly Agree, [2] Agree, [3] Undecided, [4] Disagree, [5] Strongly Disagree

  1 2 3 4 5
Ancient advanced civilizations, such as Atlantis, once existed.
Some alternative treatments are at least as effective as allopathic, modern medicine.
Some people have the ability to heal by means that are not scientifically proven
It is possible to influence the world through the mind alone.
It is possible to be clairvoyant
It is possible to communicate by means of telepathy
It is possible to communicate with the dead.
Dreams can sometimes foretell the future or reveal hidden truths.
Everyone has non-human guides (angels, spirits, power animals or the like)
Some UFOs are probably spaceships from other worlds.
Extraterrestrials intervened in human history in the distant past.
Stones and crystals can have magical powers
Wearing rings or other jewelry made out of certain specific stones or crystals can positively influence the wearer's health
Astrology impacts one's life and personality.
At least some astrologers, palm readers, fortune-tellers, and psychics can foresee and predict the future
We accumulate karma as a result of our thoughts and actions
Past actions, either in this lifetime or in a previous life, can have karmic effects on the present
We are reborn on Earth after we die (reincarnation)
The divine is within yourself
We are approaching an entirely new age that will radically change our view of science, spiritual knowledge, or humanity.
The biggest problem humanity faces is a lack of love and solidarity
"Modernity" -- in the specific sense of a purely scientific worldview, secularization, urbanization, etc. -- is a problem
All spiritual paths are of equal value

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51. Have you ever read a book, consulted a Web site (more than casually), or researched the following topics?

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52. Which of the following have you found to really be of help to you?

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53. Have you ever done any of the following?

  Yes No
Purchased a computerized horoscope reading
Visited an astrologer for a private consultation
Had a friend draw up a chart for free
Drawn up your own astrological chart
Read a teach-yourself-astrology book
Taken an astrology course in person or on-line
Given an astrology reading
Have you ever altered your behavior based on your horoscope, a rune reading, Tarot reading, or other form of divination?

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54. Which of the following groups, activities or therapies have you tried?

  Never Rarely Sometimes Regularly Frequently
Acupressure
Acupuncture
Alexander Technique
Aromatherapy
Astral travel
Chiropractor
Cranio-sacral therapy
Flower essences therapy
Healing/Spiritual healing
Herbalism
Homeopathy
Hypnotherapy
Kinesiology
Massage
Meditation group
Naturopathy
Nutritional therapy
Osteopathy