Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yoga Minus Hinduism

In the latest issue of Newsweek, the "BeliefWatch" section has a piece about Christian Yoga.

Yoga minus Hinduism

Did I miss something? I'm suppose to be Hindu? The article is about a group of Christians tweaking the practice around to cater to their beliefs, renaming poses because Sanskrit is sacrilege or something.

Yeah, at first I did get a little offended as it's safe to criticize Christianity. But then I started thinking, is Christian Yoga any different from Punk Rock Yoga, or Disco Yoga (I'm not making that up)? There's always going to be someone trying a new kind of Yoga to attract a certain audience. I guess I can't fault them as long as they DO it.

What bothers me is the division, Ashtanga is better than Iyengar, Christian better than Hindu...who cares!!!! Just enjoy it and gain something positive out it. No judgments.

I'm going to bed, good night!

21 comments:

smallcitystyles said...

I love yoga because it is all about loving kindness for yourself and for those around you.

How can that be sacrilegious?

I respect those who prefer Christian Yoga and I hope they will respect me for sticking with the yoga that I love.

I agree that there should be no judgments.

Megan said...

I'm Christian, and embarrassed!

I can't believe that! Well, yes, I can. I was asked on a plane this week if I was "born again", to which I replied, "I don't use that language, but yes, I believe in Jesus". She was so not impressed with my progressive ideals. :) You could tell she thought I needed evangelizing. Geesh, calm down. I ordered a vodka tonic right after, and waited for a speach. Funny, I was reading my Yoga Fit magazine, and thought to myself that she probably thinks I'm Paegan for reading that.

Yoga, to my understanding, is NOT a religious practice, but a practice to enhance your spirituality, no matter what that is. And it's really good for that purpose! :)

Lori said...

Heh...it won't be long before there's a class called "Secular Yoga."

I too dislike the division, but I understand why it happens. What inspires one person doesn't necessarily speak to another.

If only people would realize that practicing tolerance is way less effort than getting all bent out of shape over what someone else is doing. :oD Who has time for that?!

rand(om) bites said...

Politics hey, even in yoga. It really is amazing. You'd think yogis everywhere were being recruited for some kind of holy war!

Jane said...

Hi! I'm glad to have found another yoga blogger! I've got you linked up.

In my country (the Philippines), we are predominantly Christian so it is no surprise that more than 95% of us in my yoga class are Christian.

My yogi teacher is non-Christian but he has never attempted to bring us away from our faith and if he does speak about spirituality, it is always on terms we understand.

And if, in doing yoga, we become better citizens of this world and aim to spread generosity, love and kindness, so what is wrong with that?

You're right. I'm headed for bed too! :-)

Meg said...

I started thinking about the whole Hindu-yoga connection when the "yoga banning" by UK Christian churches issue went down a short time ago...was wondering if there really was a conflict between my practicing yoga and Christian roots. It's honestly something I hadn't explored all that carefully before. I mean, of course I knew yoga was rooted firmly in Hinduism, but it seems to have evolved so far away from that, here in the US anyway, that I never gave it a second thought. Then, I started thinking about how, what if I'll never be a "true" yogini if I don't believe in the Hindu aspects...then my head started to hurt and I gave it up. Maybe I'll figure it out some day, but for now, I'm content to keep practicing yoga and not worry about it!!

Linda (Sama) said...

"yoga was rooted firmly in Hinduism"

Yoga was NOT rooted in Hinduism. Yoga predates Hinduism.

I always find all these yoga + Hinduism discussions very interesting because my teachers in India taught us -- in our class on the Yoga Sutras -- that Hinduism disavowed yoga eons ago. If one really reads the ancient texts one would know this.

It had to do with the ancient Brahmin priests not agreeing with Patanjali that the path to samadhi was not through them.

In other words, it has to do with religious politics -- sort of like the same stuff that goes on now....

Meg said...

I stand corrected!

Melissa Garvey said...

I have been particularly fed up lately with the judgement I've come up against in yoga circles. Can't we all just have fun and keep learning? I'm off to have some coffee (judge that--ha!).

A said...

I dated a guy who was born-again (not really the scary kind) and he & his mother kept warning me against yoga. That the positions were invoking the devil (ok, that part was a bit freaky). I say that anyone should feel comfortable enough to try yoga out - meaning, approaching yoga without labeling it as Hindu. If all they get out of it is a good workout, then so be it. If they begin to get something more out of it, then that's great too. I'm not all for the different fads going around in the yoga world, but the gift that yoga brings (presence, connection, quiet mind) are the same gifts that all religions aim to bestow upon the people.

Linda (Sama) said...

when I wrote about the same subject, one reader commented that it is too bad that some "Christians" who do yoga have to change the names of the poses to suit their brand of yoga. she wondered what they were so afraid of that they could not honor the roots of yoga and learn from those roots.

AM I A HINDU? Best Seller said...

Let us go through FACTS.

True, Yoga system started in India and it came from HINDU CULTURE. I do not want call it by name Hinduism, since IT IS A CULTURE and not an organized religion like Islam or Christianity.

There is nothing wrong if anyone want to call Yoga by the name Christian Yoga, since GOD, TRUTH and SALVATION, YOGA are UNIVERSAL CONCEPTS and no religion can monopolize them.

Practicing Yoga can do harm.

Yoga can only help a person physically, mentally and spiritually.

http://www.amiahindu.com/

AM I A HINDU? Best Seller said...

Let us go through all the FACTS.

True, Yoga system started in India and it came from HINDU CULTURE. I do not want call it by name Hinduism, since HINDUISM IS A CULTURE and not an organized religion like Islam or Christianity.

There is nothing wrong if anyone want to call Yoga by the name Christian Yoga, since GOD, TRUTH and SALVATION, YOGA are UNIVERSAL CONCEPTS and no religion can monopolize them.

Practicing Yoga can do NO harm.

Yoga can only help a person physically, mentally and spiritually.

http://www.amiahindu.com/

Hosanna said...

But have you seen yoga practitioners when coming for healing prayer services at churches and during prayer for deliverance found themselves trembling and spirit manifesting and vomiting? And after deliverance they acknowledged a burden has been lifted. Still not believing, huh? Then ask yourself what's that at the end of your spine that caused the manifestation?

Anonymous said...

I am a born-again pastor loving brikram yoga...I will get you born again doing the tree stand.

Anonymous said...

"Did I miss something? Am I suppose[d] to be Hindu?"

Actually, yes. Since Hinduism doesn't require anyone to pray or even believe in God, you are a Hindu. Technically everyone is a Hindu.

I think Westerners have a hard time grasping this because they think of Hinduism as a "religion" in the Abrahamic sense. It's not. Like a previous poster said it's more of a cultural thing. "Hindu"
is just an umbrella term that Westerner colonists came up with label people.

"Yoga was NOT rooted in Hinduism. Yoga predates Hinduism."

False. "Hinduism" dates way back to Indus Valley Civilization long before the Vedas and everything else was written. As for Brahmin priests rejecting yoga, they also started the caste system. Why should we care what they thought? We're free to believe what we want not follow the teachings of some corrupt priests with agendas.

nickysam said...

Hinduism provides spiritual food and Yoga Sadhana for all sorts of people to suit their temperaments, capacities, tastes, stages of spiritual development and conditions of life. In no religion you will find such a variety of practical Yoga practised and such sublime unique philosophy expounded.
-----------
Nickysam

Buzz Mraketing

yoga schools said...

I stunned to hear that yoga can destroy the faith in Hindhuism… isn’t there other major issues in the country to concentrate…

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nathan said...

The word "yoga" means to bring together-and is where we get the word "yoke." The crux of the matter of whether to practice it or not stems from the motive of one's heart. To those who discount any spiritual essence existing in this world, unless they experience that dimension they will not believe it exists. This society is materielly oriented and thus the materiel perspective. As a Christian, I can vouch for the existence of a Holy Spirit, and the conterfeit spirits that pose problems. When one empties their ming, there is a danger of it being inhabited by a malicious spirit. Yogs can give glor to God, if we are filled and not merely empty. There is a huge difference between the "Holy Yoga" and all other types. This is a subjective statement.

Anonymous said...

The word "yoga" means to bring together-and is where we get the word "yoke." The crux of the matter of whether to practice it or not stems from the motive of one's heart. To those who discount any spiritual essence existing in this world, unless they experience that dimension they will not believe it exists. This society is materielly oriented and thus the materiel perspective. As a Christian, I can vouch for the existence of a Holy Spirit, and the conterfeit spirits that pose problems. When one empties their ming, there is a danger of it being inhabited by a malicious spirit. Yogs can give glor to God, if we are filled and not merely empty. There is a huge difference between the "Holy Yoga" and all other types. This is a subjective statement.