Yeah, I would suggest that anything your SIL says to you should not be taken as representation of something any other person in the same situation would say.
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This is how my sister-in-law recruits people to take classes at her new yoga studio, unfortunately. Explaining to people that they need her to enlighten them, bring them spirituality and fix all that's wrong in their lives is her marketing plan. And I'm sure it is people like her that are giving yoga a bad name.
And, believe me, I know that she is crazy.
I know it has nothing to do with Yoga itself… and it’s not just Yoga which people use to “appear special”.
But is Yoga one such “direction” which attracts “these type of people” among the Westerners?
For me it is the same issue as why some celebrities get into Kabala… Oh, I am soooo cool and mysterious, I study the ancient Kabala!... Many Jews don’t even like it when auslanders stick their noses into Kabala…..
Same as why Beatles went to India and studied with Guru…. Sounds cool and “mysterious” and certainly can be used as an excuse in regular life for all sorts of idiosyncrasies…..
Same as why person from any western society would make a show out of “following the mysterious foreign cult or ideology” – American Taliban, Obama’s mother and Heidi Klum and their exotic husbands, Cat Stevens becoming a radical Islamist, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen converting to Christianity, people who believe they are witches and sorcerers, people who start cults and proclaim themselves and start followings as Gurus of the Ancient Philosophies……. Something is very abnormal about this.
One thing is to study and learn about the new cultures and religions, another is to become a “converso”…… I wish people would celebrate and stick to their own roots, heritage, religion and culture that they were born into, and enjoy and respect others’ from a distance.
It’s not odd to see a western girl doing an arabesque, but is sure looks weird when a California Blond is in a Lotus position…. Honestly, bless them if they want to do it… but it looks “mismatched”… .
Even if I ever find Yoga fast and exciting, i am not going to do it as I was born with Ballet, Gymnastics and Figure Skating as “cultural sports”. I’ll try it, study Yoga a little bit… but will not “adopt it” as part of my life. Gymnastics, Ballet and Ice Skating are also very good form of exercise….
I think the only danger yoga poses is that if you get limber enough you can put your own head up your ass. But then, that's been done by many people of many faiths.
Personally, I think that any faith that forbids its followers from exposing themselves to any foreign ideas is going to do more harm than good to those followers.
I went to a Roman Catholic girls' college that required a Theology class every year. The second course, after Intro to Theology, was Comparative Religions. It was taught by a Vatican scholar who presented everything from Greek mythology to Buddhism to Judaism to various forms of Protestantism to Mormonism and everything in between and around the fringes. It was interesting and educational and pretty much factual and I don't remember anyone in the class rushing off to join another religion because of it. I know it helped me understand some of my non-Catholic friends' churchs a little better.
I do think that if learning yoga is enough to sway a person from their original faith, then chances are that original faith wasn't all that strong to being with. The pastor should probably be looking into that aspect rather than blaming yoga for seducing his parishoners away.
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I think that in it's pure form yoga is part of mysticism. but most people who I know who do yoga (and yes i have done it periodically), do it for exercise. It is a great work out, though I am too old for the headstands now . I was drawn to yoga because I am very flexible. I am not particularly coordinated and do not have the skills for tennis, but yoga, I'm good at. So, that's why I like it. I don't feel special or get any sort of spiritual benefit. It's about stretching and health. I get more of a spiritual feeling when I walk 2/3 miles outside every day. People have too much time on their hands to think about ridiculous things like this - a danger to other religions - just silly.
I'm with you - I get more of a spiritual feeling from freedom of movement... contra dancing with a roomful of high-energy folk dancers, a good dance caller, and a live band; or flying down a bike trail with my gears set to a high pedal tension, feeling like I won't be able to walk properly the next day from either activity, but loving every second of what it is that I'm doing, and not caring how I'll feel afterwards.I get more of a spiritual feeling when I walk 2/3 miles outside every day.
That's how *I* get my spiritual release, plus a damn good workout!
I understand what he's saying - I took a Yoga class last year and was I was very uncomfortable on a number of levels.
The class instructor made it very spiritual, repeatedly talking about how it really started out as a form of religious worship moreso than exercise and how much she and her Guru enjoy Sunrise Yoga since it lets them be as one with the world.
I expected a Yoga class at a fitness center to focus more on exercise and stretching, which is great for skating. I was very disappointed, absolutely bored, and overwhelmed by the advanced stretches. After that one class, I decided this was a crock of **** and I would never take another Yoga class.
After doing more research, I've concluded that the instructor was the problem, not Yoga itself. There are different types of Yoga and different class "instructors" teach in different ways. "Hot Yoga" is more strenuous exercise than what she taught. She had a mix of student levels, but she really focused on challenging her advanced students by dismissing the beginners with a casual "Imagine you are in a field...". Yoga had become her religious outlet and she was really trying to get more like-minded people "into" her regular groups - she handed out flyers for upcoming events with her guru, even invited me to a Sunday Morning Sunrise session after I said this wasn't for me. What sealed the deal was that she never corrected a single position. Afterwards, I realized she wasn't really a good instructor, she was a recruiter.
I wouldn't rule out trying Yoga again, but I'd be very selective in checking out the classes and instructors the next time to find one that I'm comfortable in and that meets my expectations.
I'd guess that this religious leader who feels threatened doesn't realize that he might have one or two charismatic Yogis in the area, which is a valid point if he's lost parishioners. Is he handling that stress well? Ummm...no.
However, there are a lot of people who are looking for something and really want to "belong" to a community, but on their own terms. I have a friend who's changed Christian denominations regularly, often when she meets a new guy through the Christian Dating website. Her faith isn't really the issue, it's that sense of welcome and belonging - that's what they're looking for and a strong leader of almost any religious organization can attract those seekers. Whether or not they stay is up in the air - they've already proven that they're not committed to any one religion. If the Yogi moves, they'll either become part of his new community, give his replacement a try, or look for something else.
That's probably who the Pastor is seeing leave his flock. He doesn't know how to deal with it, so he spoke out about the concern. In his shoes, I would have put my efforts towards making my parish a warm, welcoming and vibrant community instead of criticizing and being bitter. But, he's only human and he made a mistake. Now he needs to be virtually stoned on FSU, lol.
Last edited by FigureSpins; 10-12-2010 at 07:01 PM.
Last edited by IceAlisa; 10-12-2010 at 07:00 PM.
"Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."
from Speedy Death
"Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode
triangle pose, you wouldn't attempt to hold onto your ankle, unless you already had the flexibility to do so, but would place your hand somewhere between knee and ankle). Your yoga teacher would be checking for correct alignment and would encourage you only to go as far as you currently could without causing pain or loss of balance. For poses that involve balance, one can begin practicing getting a sense of keeping balanced by beginning practicing by using the wall to help maintain balance.
Yoga for me is a great supplement to ballet and other dance classes. I have the time to work on my flexibility, balance and core strenght and I see improvement even though I'm already quite flexible (long way to go to get to contortionist level though )
I've never viewed Yoga as anything other than excercise. I wouldn't mind learning about its origins but it definitely is nothing religious for me. And even if, I wouldn't give a damn.
Depending on how hard you work on yourself, lots of poses are a real challenge and for me it's very satisfying when I achieve or improve a certain pose
I actually could do a lot of the postures, but that one... I ix-nayed on it. If I had lost my balance, I would've fallen into someone, because the room was quite crowded. my favorite part was when we were just lying on our backs, and the room was completely still, expcept for the low voice of the woman leading the session. I felt like I was sinking into the floor. Quite a difference from the rowdy contra dancing I was doing later on that evening!
I will also say that I am completely cool with the spiritual aspect of Yoga; much of my own spirituality stems from talks I used to have with an elderly Martial Arts practitioner who's made MA the backbone of his own spirituality.
Last edited by Karina1974; 10-12-2010 at 08:40 PM.
Hmmm. Well sorry Mr. Seminary President, but I don't think there is anything "genuinely Christian" about directing people how to live their lives or attempting to stir up fear, drama, and controversy in the name of Christianity.
I meant to take the high road.... but I missed the exit.
All of that said, this pastor certainly wasn't addressing it in the right way. He made a blanket assumption about the motives of everyone who instructs or attends yoga classes and that's where he lost people.
Karina, I can actually do that pose. I'm old but flexible.