I’ll admit I can only take so many rants, discussion, posts and all the other forms of communication before my patience is worn to the born. When that I happens I have to step in say something or my head will explode.
Now before I begin, I’m going to make a few assumption about you the reader. If you do not meet these requirements, please do not proceed with reading this post. And no, “a good friend told me…” is not acceptable as a replacement for anything.
1. You understand we are talking about Yoga the action and not the religion associated with it.
2. You have studied yoga for yourself. Meaning you have actually looked into it, have talked with multiple instructors and most importantly have actually taken a course or observed one in person.
3. You have performed research in the health benefits of yoga. For example, here is a recent study by some folks in Germany Yoga and Low Back Pain , covered by Runner’s World. And when I say research I mean from all areas. Not just from Christian sites but places like the AMA and health and fitness areas.
If you meet those requirements, lets knock down the ultimate issue most Christians have with Yoga and it goes something like this:
If you are performing Yoga moves you MUST also be participating in Hindu religious beliefs.
Buzzzzz!!!!! Thanks for playing but you are Wrong! Wrong! And Wrong!!!
Yoga can and has been separated from it’s belief systems. Don’t believe me? Fine, then maybe you’ll believe “Scholar Georg Feuerstein” [sic] and how he “worries that yoga is losing its way”. Heck he even wrote a book about it. “Georg Feuerstein, author of “Yoga Morality: Ancient Teachings at a Time of Global Crisis,” is worried that, in the process of becoming so many things to so many people, yoga has lost its ethical, philosophical and spiritual roots.”
The article goes on to explain:
most of today’s yoga practitioners don’t care about, or don’t understand, the tradition’s moral teachings, which could offer guidance on sexuality, war, corporate greed, racism, politeness, gluttony, financial debt and pollution.
When tens of millions of North Americans find their identities in saying they “do yoga,” Feuerstein says, widespread ignorance about yoga’s ethical traditions represents a tragic lost opportunity.
For most of those who try yoga, the ancient practice is more about physical fitness than spiritual discipline,
So here we have one of the big names in yoga basically saying people are performing the “motions” but little else. That last sentence nails it, “more about physical fitness than spiritual discipline. Need more evidence? Fine.
During high school I developed some arch issues and as a result saw some fitness folks who game me some exercises to help strengthen and improve flexibility in the area. Do you want to guess what some of those “moves” were based upon? Yup, yoga. So for around 4-5 yrs I was doing yoga moves and didn’t even know it. It wasn’t until I saw some book that explained some of the same moves I was doing that I even realized. Sorry Mr. Feuerstein I am part of the problem you are facing.
So I hope that dispels all myths regarding yoga being separated from it’s spirituality. With that wall knocked down, lets go for another. With yoga now being treated as two parts could you in fact combine the physical with another religion? Why of course you can. I know for a fact there are Catholic Yoga classes being offered in my area. Instead of Hindu practices they say Our Fathers, the Hail Mary and sometimes the Rosary. This is why I am growing rather tired with all the pounding of chest by so many “Christians”. What really makes me crazy sometimes is the same people who will get in your face about this whole subject have no issue with Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry being labeled as Catholics.
They are doing the same thing Mr. Feuerstein talks about. Both Pelosi and Kerry are against some of the most sacred Catholics tenets yet no one has thrown them out saying they do not represent what Catholics believe or stand for.