In so-called Christian yoga, “They have separated yoga from Hinduism, which is in effect stealing,” Param said. “Is there Hindu baptism or Hindu Communion or Hindu Mass or Hindu Torah? No.”
Some Christians agree with him, rejecting the idea that yoga can be adapted to a church setting. As an alternative, some of them have promoted something called “Praise Moves,” a light aerobic exercise combined with Scripture readings.
“As Christians, we need to be careful of the religious practices that we participate in,” said Kathleen Porter, who is starting Praise Moves classes in Frederick this month, the first in the Washington region. With Praise Moves, “we’re giving [Christian] people an alternative. It doesn’t have connection to other religions or other gods,” she said.
Despite such criticism, the enthusiasm for spreading yoga to people of all faiths appears to be growing.
I don’t want to hurt anyone’s conscience… that is not my intention, but it seems that the rocky reefs of religion are never far beneath the surface. I recognize the relgious roots of yoga, and like some other subjects I will readily say to you that this is going to come under the concerns about weaker brethren ( mostly sisters in this case I’m guessing).
Having paddled my canoe down this stream before I know that there is no satisfaction for those who are truly offended. They are going to tell you that doing yoga exercise is sin. I don’t agree, but then I have a whole packet of caveats I go by in this, and I would end the discussion with a wholehearted encouragement to those who find this a questionable activity to NOT hurt their own conscience.
First, bodily exercise is not top on your priority list. It helps you to be fit and healthy, but you could get the same outcome if you were an active worker and kept your soul calm. The spiritual growth you make is the only lasting matter to attend to. I completely believe this, for all my advocacy of physical exercise.
But I believe that Christ can give us true understanding of how things fit in the universe, including the stretching and such that one does in types of exercise.
What I don’t believe is this:
“”Why not share the joy? Why miss out on it?” asked Tewari, who added that he has a Christmas tree in his home. “My firm belief is that ultimate reality is the same. Every religion teaches basically good things.” Christmas tree? Christianity is not a Christmas tree…or a holiday event…. Christianity has a message and if we are strong enough, convicted enough of that message I don’t worry about misrepresentation or confusion. But that is one big caveat, isn’t it?
I don’t want to offend you, dear reader…so if you have reservations about yoga, try to ignore my occsional references to fitness tapes that have that format.
You see, I also have the conscience that will allow me to enter a bar with the intention to witness to the denizens thereof. It’s not for everyone. Shoot, I’d go into a Gay bar if God gave me direction and not think to ask twice about it. I had active plans along that line not too many years ago, but the timing wasn’t right.
But that isn’t what I would advocate for the run-of- the-mill ( this meaning “usual circumstance” not any insulting insinuation) Christian woman. We all have our gifts and callings… and we all differentiate…yet we all have some things to keep in mind:
There is a principle here. This body will be destroyed, it will be taken up into the immortal. Now in light of that, how important is it that we have one certain form of exercise for that body that we should contend over it? It isn’t worth the time. It bears nothing upon a person’s eternity, except if it offend them. There are so many types all equally good for getting fit. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with in line with your convictions.
There are things that have crept into the Church that are truly dangerous…. but we lack the discernment at times to understand the difference between cultural things that are a danger and those we just fear out of lack of familiarity, or because we imagine how detrimental they may be. If yoga was revealed to me to be detrimental- I’d drop it in an instant. Dump the DVD’s and not think twice about that.
Are you worried about yoga style exercise? Perhaps you ought to look into the inroads that Wicca has made into the mainstream Christian Churches…. and maybe your energies are better pointed in that direction.