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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Yoga Sinful?
Beautiful Dreamer
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Hi. I am new here and I was wondering if anyone thought Yoga or exercises like it was sinful. I am asking because a friend of mine reported some back pain and when I told him to try yoga (I used to do yoga before my accident, long story), he told me that he didn't want any part of it and seemed to find it sinful. He is an evangelical Christian. I personally don't see how exercise of any kind can be sinful in and of itself-when I practiced yoga, I just did the positions and did no chanting or anything like that.

So what do you think? Is yoga sinful? I think some people are just afraid of what they don't understand.

[ 14. February 2006, 03:45: Message edited by: Duo Seraphim ]

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CrookedCucumber
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quote:
So what do you think? Is yoga sinful? I think some people are just afraid of what they don't understand.
Sure, yoga is sinful. But's not as sinful as `naked Twister' [Smile]

[Er... you were yanking our chains, weren't you? I'll try for a serious answer if you tell me it's a serious question, but I'm not sure how it can be [Smile] ]

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Sine Nomine

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There's nothing sinful about 'Naked Twister' if you're married. Marriage of course being defined as the union of one man and one woman.

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Precious, Precious, Sweet, Sweet Daddy...

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Peronel

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Perfectly serious question, I'm guessing.

Here is a story about a vicar who banned the yoga group from his church hall.

Madness.

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Lord, I have sinned, and mine iniquity.
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Littlelady
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quote:
Originally posted by CrookedCucumber:
quote:
So what do you think? Is yoga sinful? I think some people are just afraid of what they don't understand.
Sure, yoga is sinful. But's not as sinful as `naked Twister' [Smile]

[Er... you were yanking our chains, weren't you? I'll try for a serious answer if you tell me it's a serious question, but I'm not sure how it can be [Smile] ]

Well, CC, it could be a serious question. I remember in my early days as a Christian I started karate and was told by some Christian friends at the church I was then attending that karate was indeed sinful because chants to some foreign god were apparently involved. I looked abashed, since I hadn't chanted anything. I'd grunted a lot (oo-er) but that was only because the dan told us to, so as to sound aggressive and stuff.

I preferred the karate, so in the end I left the church for one which was less concerned about things like karate.

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'When ideas fail, words come in very handy' ~ Goethe

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Beautiful Dreamer
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I personally can see how you would think the question wasnt serious but there are people who actually think yoga is sinful. They think the same thing about martial arts and pretty much anything else that involves making noise and wasn't invented by Christians. I am a formal fundamentalist and some of the things that people tried to tell me would make your head spin. I am so glad I got out with my faith intact. [Roll Eyes]

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Mark Wuntoo
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It's not always evangelicals who feel this way. I knew a minister of 'liberal persuasion' who wouldn't support it on church premises because of its association with another religion. Sinful by association, it seems. [Ultra confused]

Certainly the Ship is the place for guidance on the issue.

[ 08. January 2006, 19:33: Message edited by: Mark Wuntoo ]

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Mad Geo

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Yoga is stretching with relaxation excercises. If jogging is sinful (and it is in my world) than Yoga is sinful, which is to say, NOT.

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Skinhead
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I used to be a fundamentalist worried about being contaminated by non-Christian influences ... now I just have regrets about all the people I put off religion, and all the fun and growing-up I missed out on. [Two face] If our faith is valid, it can survive the juxtaposition with other faiths; in fact we might learn something from them in the process. I think Paul's discourse about eating meat offered to idols is relevant here - if it makes you feel guilty, it's bad, but it shouldn't! [Snore] [Overused]
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dorothea
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No, not unless you subscribe to the fearful ‘there’s a devil residing in every other religion/spiritual approach' theology. Anything that's good for your health can't be bad. Yoga has some benefits even if it promotes a vaguely universal Hinduism. For example, I sometimes practice a Yoga based meditation, which helps my asthma. I stopped worrying about being gobbled up by a false God years ago, especially as the practice helps my breathing and stress levels. The old adage about babies and bath water comes to mind. You don't have to accept everything in Hatha-Yoga philosophy, even if you practice the basic exercises. If it helps you breathing, improves your posture, etc. then that’s a good thing. I doubt many Christians would refuse to be treated by a doctor if he was Islamic, so why the fuss over age old healthy living practices, which have grown out of a different spiritual tradition?

J

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Newman's Own
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This is not the first time I have heard of the idea that yoga was sinful. I personally do not see any harm in either the relaxation exercises or the mental exercises to harness concentration powers.

I think that what confuses some of our more avidly fundamentalist brethren is that the religions of the East are not credal - they are philosophical systems. (Thomas Aquinas was good friends with the thought of Aristotle, even if Aristotle's god would have had few of the characteristics of that of the Jewish or Christian traditions.) [Smile] Hindu ideas of multiple gods aside, the combination of developing concentration and the focus and relaxation element in the physical exercises can be highly valuable - in meditation, not only physically. I myself do yoga exercises for my back.

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daronmedway
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quote:
Originally posted by Peronel:
Perfectly serious question, I'm guessing.

Here is a story about a vicar who banned the yoga group from his church hall.

Madness.

I must be insane then because I wouldn't like Yoga classes to be held on church premises.
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Littlelady
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quote:
Originally posted by m.t_tomb:
I must be insane then because I wouldn't like Yoga classes to be held on church premises.

Why not?

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'When ideas fail, words come in very handy' ~ Goethe

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Not

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I've found yoga to be the reverse of harmful spiritually, as well as physically. I have learned a lot about how posture and breathing affect our mind and spirit, and this has very practical and beneficial effects on my praying.

Very little teaching on prayer pays much attention to the physical aspects. For a religion which claims not to be dualist, Christianity can do a pretty good impression of it. Yoga helps me move a bit closer to praying with all of me. That doesn't make the prayer or the pray-er any less Christian.

(and it helps my backache, core strength, mood, blood pressure, flexability, fitness... but that wasn't the question)

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the Pookah
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Maybe it would help to realize there are a number of kind of Yogas.

Yoga does mean 'union' in Sanskrit but Hatha Yoga are purely physical exercises so that's not a problem unless the teacher tries to throw religion in.

There is Tibetan and Hindu deity yoga, which involves visualization & posture, but you'd know if you're chanting "Om" or "Namah Shiva" or seeing a 9 armed goddess so I wouldn't really worry:)

The same for martial arts, ask "what does this mean?" No one should have a philosophy or belief system shoved on them unknowingly.

I feel the same way about 'meditation' there can be a lot of Buddhist content & I would want people to be aware.
the Pookah

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Fuzzipeg
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Some Christian traditions do talk about posture etc when praying..........

Meditation is a Christian tradition and there are various schools of meditation within the tradition and they vary in approach.

Banning Yoga from the Church Hall! They'll be banning liquor next...sigh.

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Jengie jon

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It depends on the person. This is one of those cases of "food before idols". Yoga comes out of Hinduism. It has eight different limbs to the yoga quest
  • Universal moral teachings
  • Self purification
  • Postures (exercises)
  • Breathing
  • Withdrawal of the mind from senses and exterior objects
  • Concentration
  • Meditation
  • A state where one becomes one with the universal spirit

As you can see, one is forming oneself as a religious being through these practises. How far can a Christian go is a sensible question. When does use of these practises become a synchronistic approach or even Yoga teaching take over from the Christian teaching.

My source for this is Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar. As you might guess it is a question I have struggled with myself. Circumstances rather than thought have made the decision for me. I found yoga exercises and breathing useful, but in the end the classes were at the wrong time. I have found other eastern systems that are not as strongly tied to another faiths religious teachings and now do those at home. Actually I think there is probably room for the development of Christian Yoga due to the fact Christianity has always used bits that are culturally outside it, and there exist Buddhist yoga schools.

Jengie

[ 08. January 2006, 20:40: Message edited by: Jengie Jon ]

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FiliusSyon
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What I think confuses many people is the breadth of the practices called "yoga". It is a word that contains afaik many different practices, from hindu devotional rites to the form of super-slow aerobics dominant in the west. In hinduism, there exists a theoretical framework connecting all those different forms of yoga. I don´t think this says anything about the actual spiritual content of the practices we label "yoga", and even less if it is a good thing.

Think for example of the beginnings of the hospital. In medieval ages, it is firmly linked to monastic orders and the concept of "caritas". One could even argue that the salvation through works was one of the driving concepts behind their institution. Still, I doubt we could find many protestants that reject hospitals on that ground.

So, while obviously certain practices started because of reasons we do not hold anymore, the practices continue, because they have been found beneficial in themselves, without the thoughts that may originally have given rise to their development.

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Joan_of_Quark

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I've actually seen a book somewhere called "Christian yoga" or "yoga for Christians" or some such, so someone has already thought of that one.

I've done yoga on and off for twenty years, purely as a means of getting more flexible and relaxing, without any of the spiritual content. As others have said, classes and styles vary a lot. It didn't seem to have any effect on my atheism for 20 yrs and so I assume it won't have any on my Christianity now. I also did a lot of martial arts, but nothing with any spiritual content - one class did have a couple of Muslims who were permitted not to bow to the teacher or anyone else as that would have caused them religious issues, the stuff we said in foreign languages was only "yes, teacher" and counting.

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The Scrumpmeister
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I have heard warnings about Yoga from RC and Orthodox sources, so it isn't just the fundamentalist Evangelicals that have an issue with it.

quote:
Originally posted by Jengie Jon:
It depends on the person. This is one of those cases of "food before idols". Yoga comes out of Hinduism. It has eight different limbs to the yoga quest
  • Universal moral teachings
  • Self purification
  • Postures (exercises)
  • Breathing
  • Withdrawal of the mind from senses and exterior objects
  • Concentration
  • Meditation
  • A state where one becomes one with the universal spirit

As you can see, one is forming oneself as a religious being through these practises. How far can a Christian go is a sensible question.

Thank you for this, Jengie Jon.

I have never known much about Yoga, but knew that it was an eastern religious practice. If spiritual leaders of the Hindu tradition say that Yoga is inseparable from its Hindu roots, then they're the highest authority I have access to with my limited knowledge.

I can't really comment on the priest's actions in any detail, but it does seem that it's perhaps unfair to call it madness. There's clearly concern about Yoga for Christians from various and opposite corners of Christianity, so it isn't as though he's just being contrary.

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If Christ is not fully human, humankind is not fully saved. - St John of Saint-Denis

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A.F. Steve
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quote:
Originally posted by dorothea:
No, not unless you subscribe to the fearful ‘there’s a devil residing in every other religion/spiritual approach' theology. (cut)


That mindset doesn't make much sense to me. It's the same one that says that playing Dungeons and Dragons is the first step in the road to hell (like this guy).

If you feel that your faith is weaker than the real or perceived powers of the evil spirit world, perhaps you shouldn't do it. I, for one, find that the New Testament is pretty clear that the law of God is about intent. Otherwise, with all that evil masonic imagery on the dollar bill, you'd have to spend your life avoiding 1's.

quote:
I doubt many Christians would refuse to be treated by a doctor if he was Islamic, so why the fuss over age old healthy living practices, which have grown out of a different spiritual tradition?
J

Oh really? I know Christians who refuse to buy gas from Muslim owned service stations. Not sure where Notlob is (is that Bolton spelled backwards?) but it must not be near T'leb Elbib, USA.

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Littlelady
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quote:
Originally posted by Back-to-Front:
If spiritual leaders of the Hindu tradition say that Yoga is inseparable from its Hindu roots, then they're the highest authority I have access to with my limited knowledge.

However, surely this is to assume that yoga, along with other non-Christian practices (of which, I'm sure, there are legion if we took time to think about it), have remained the same within the context of an adopted culture? That's not to say traditional yoga is not still accessible outside of India. However, I doubt very much that the yoga classes most of the people I know attend have any Hindu affiliation left at all. From what friends say, it is much more a kind of deep breathing, feel better, get focused kind of exercise. I've yet to hear any reference to any spirituality.

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'When ideas fail, words come in very handy' ~ Goethe

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CrookedCucumber
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I apologise for treating a question glibly that was seriously meant [Hot and Hormonal]

It seemed odd to me because, although I am aware at some level of a connection between yoga and Eastern religious thought, I've never experienced it as anything other than a form of exercise.

(To be honest, as somebody mentioned karate, I think the same about karate -- I've never really bought into this ``Seek perfection of character'' stuff -- it's just practicing punching and kicking.)

Even if some particular practice has its origins in non-Christian religion, I don't really see how the origins of the practice (taken alone) can make it `sinful'. As I see it, deeds, words, and motives can be sinful; religions and philosophies cannot be sinful except to the extent that they inspire sinful deeds, etc.

Or is the problem that, by practising yoga you're venerating Hindu gods or something like that? Presumably if you believe you are venerating Hindu gods, you are venerating gods. If you believe you are doing exercise, you are doing exercise.

Just my $0.02, of course.

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dorothea
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A.F Steve wrote:

quote:
quote: I doubt many Christians would refuse to be treated by a doctor if he was Islamic, so why the fuss over age old healthy living practices, which have grown out of a different spiritual tradition?
J

Oh really? I know Christians who refuse to buy gas from Muslim owned service stations. Not sure where Notlob is (is that Bolton spelled backwards?) but it must not be near T'leb Elbib, USA.

Well, in that case, IMO, those people have a real problem.

Yes, Notlob is Bolton spelt backwards, which I took from an old Monty Python sketch about a dead parrot. Perhaps those people you speak of would find the fact that I wrote my town backwards as evidence of the fact that I'm possessed by the Devil?

I don’t know how strong I am in the spirit, I rely on the my faith, but mediating to help my asthma feels safe enough.

J [Biased]

[ 08. January 2006, 21:04: Message edited by: dorothea ]

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Vikki Pollard
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Ooooh yes - I was taught that yoga, homeopathy, etc were sinful.

It strikes me now that perhaps the folk in my church didn't have REAL things to worry about.

Perfect love casts out fear, I read somewhere. [Biased]

ET correct spelling mistake which implied one should sleep with prefects. [Eek!]

[ 08. January 2006, 21:04: Message edited by: Vikki Pollard ]

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"I don't get all this fuss about global warming, Miss. Why doesn't the Government just knock down all the f**king greenhouses?" (One of my slightly less bright 15 year old pupils)

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Littlelady
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quote:
Originally posted by A.F. Steve:
Oh really? I know Christians who refuse to buy gas from Muslim owned service stations. Not sure where Notlob is (is that Bolton spelled backwards?) but it must not be near T'leb Elbib, USA.

If it is Bolton spelled backwards then, given the large Muslim population in that area of Lancashire, would your response still apply I wonder?

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'When ideas fail, words come in very handy' ~ Goethe

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dorothea
Goodwife and low church mystic
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Little Lady,
lots of people in Bolton have an Asian doctor. Of course some might be racist - I had an aunt like that - but it doesn't necesarily stop them from respecting their doctor's professional opinion.

Perphas it wasn't the best analogy to use but I think maybe it's being taken slightly out of context here.

(Edited for general incompetence!)

J

[ 08. January 2006, 21:10: Message edited by: dorothea ]

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Protestant head? Catholic Heart?

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leo
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I believe yoga is good for both body and soul. I am not afraid of hindu gods - if they exist, then it's OK to pray to them; if not, those prayers go to God.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Littlelady
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# 9616

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quote:
Originally posted by dorothea:
Little Lady,
lots of people in Bolton have an Asian doctor. Of course some might be racist - I had an aunt like that - but it doesn't necesarily stop them from respecting their doctor's professional opinion.

I think I've been misunderstood, Dorothea. I was asking for clarification from A F Steve because I didn't understand his reference. I wasn't sure he knew that Bolton had a high population of Muslims. That's all. I wasn't implying anything. Sorry if I gave that impression.

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'When ideas fail, words come in very handy' ~ Goethe

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The Machine Elf

Irregular polytope
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I can remember reading Christian Yoga by Jean-Marie Dechanet in the weeks before I became a Christian, and still value its insights into how physicality can effect spirituality. My exercise of Yoga fizzled out, though I practiced for a few years from late teens on to early twenties. Nowadays I practise Tai Chi, both are forms that infuence spirit by posture and emphasise breath control. But then, so does classical western fencing. I am aware of Daoist resonances to my spirituality, but I don't know if that's from Tai Chi or fencing or reading Thomas Merton's Way of Chuang Tzu, or just following the way, truth and light Himself.


TME

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A.F. Steve
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I believe yoga is good for both body and soul. I am not afraid of hindu gods - if they exist, then it's OK to pray to them; if not, those prayers go to God.

Hehe... I can see it now!

Account named Vishnu@moksha.com does not exist. Your message is being forwarded automatically to God@heaven.com. This is a system email, please do not respond to this email directly.

//SIGNED//

Jeff, God of divine SMPT/POP3
fmr. God of Biscuits

For technical assistance, please consult your the technician at your nearest pray-mail server. These are easily identified by the large, pointed antenna on the roof.

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Lived in FL, TX, NE, CA... I'm now immune to culture shock.

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adso
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# 2895

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What if there are invocations to other gods/spirits involved?
I've never done yoga but have gone to a circle dance group over the past year. There are some great international dances, including a few traditional Jewish dances based on passages from the Psalms and Isaiah, and I often pray while dancing these. However, the group leader often asks us for a moment of silence while we invite the spirit of the dance to join us, and she leads occasional weekend sessions (which I haven't been to) of dances to invoke the Moon Goddess, or solstice renamimg/rebirthing ceremonies.
What are anyone's thoughts on this? Sorry it is a slight tangent but I don't think it really merits a separate thread.

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os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua eius loquetur judicium. lex dei eius in corde ipsius, et non supplantabuntur gressus eius. alleluia.

Posts: 688 | From: pays de galles | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Evo1
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# 10249

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I'm of the variety that would say that Yoga is spiritually dangerous for similar reasons to ouija boards, tarot etc.

And also mertial arts. For instance, the bow, thought now to be a sign of respect to the opponent, originally signified submission to gods etc.

I don't go for astrology either.

[ 08. January 2006, 21:49: Message edited by: Evo1 ]

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dorothea
Goodwife and low church mystic
# 4398

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Little Lady,
my apologies if I misunderstood. But I still think A.F Steve took my analogy somewhat out of context but on the other hand perhaps he didn't.

J [Biased]

[ 08. January 2006, 21:55: Message edited by: dorothea ]

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Littlelady
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quote:
Originally posted by Evo1:
And also mertial arts. For instance, the bow, thought now to be a sign of respect to the opponent, originally signified submission to gods etc.

But why should what something used to mean, in another place and another time, have any relevance to now?

I took karate for years. I only ever bowed to my opponent. There was no teaching about gods of any kind. Karate, like many things, has been westernised in most cases. Quite often the dans are western. The ones who taught me were.

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'When ideas fail, words come in very handy' ~ Goethe

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Littlelady
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# 9616

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quote:
Originally posted by dorothea:
Little Lady,
my apologies if I misunderstood. But I still think A.F Steve took my analogy somewhat out of context but on the other hand perhaps he didn't.

J [Biased]

It's possible he did. I've no idea, coz I still don't understand what it was he was trying to say! It seemed like what he was saying was that Christians in his locality were racist, but I was trying to clarify if that was the case and if Bolton having a high population of Muslims made any difference to his view. But I guess it'll all just remain a mystery. [Big Grin]

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'When ideas fail, words come in very handy' ~ Goethe

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Evo1
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# 10249

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Don't know, I do know though that when I used to play with ouija, I gave no credance to any of that, but I do think that things worked through me regardless of what my motives were.

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Just think how horrid I would be if I didn't have a Personal Relationship with Jesus

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dorothea
Goodwife and low church mystic
# 4398

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Evo,
Eqauting Yoga with oujia boards and astrology is like mixing apples with pears. Or expecting X and Y to have the same meaning or value. I don't think yoga or karate are mentioned in the bible. Equating these practices with false gods and wicked powers seems a trifle reductive from where I'm sitting. It also creates at worst spiritual fear and at best a narrow minded perception of well respected practices.

J

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Evo1
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# 10249

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Ok, just sharing my thoughts thats all.

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Just think how horrid I would be if I didn't have a Personal Relationship with Jesus

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Foolhearty
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quote:
Originally posted by Sine Nomine:
Marriage of course being defined as the union of one man and one woman.

Not in my church, it isn't. Union of two people, thank you.

Also one of our choir members teaches yoga in a church school classroom two nights a week.

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Fear doesn't empty tomorrow of its perils; it empties today of its power.

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A.F. Steve
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quote:
Originally posted by Littlelady:
quote:
Originally posted by dorothea:
Little Lady,
my apologies if I misunderstood. But I still think A.F Steve took my analogy somewhat out of context but on the other hand perhaps he didn't.

J [Biased]

It's possible he did. I've no idea, coz I still don't understand what it was he was trying to say! It seemed like what he was saying was that Christians in his locality were racist, but I was trying to clarify if that was the case and if Bolton having a high population of Muslims made any difference to his view. But I guess it'll all just remain a mystery. [Big Grin]
That exactly it. Though not my locality so much as my hometown down south. Flashback to hearing my geteel Southern Baptist deacon great uncle saying, "I just can't buy my gas from those towel heads. I'd rather buy it from Jews than them."

Also, T'leb Elbib = Bible Belt

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jlg

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Why am I here?
# 98

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My understanding is that the yoga postures are not Hindu worship in themselves, but merely a preparation (through strengthening the body and learning to control one's breathing) for meditation and/or worship. As has already been pointed out, it can be helpful in Christian prayer by allowing one to comfortably maintain an erect, awake, and yet relaxed posture while praying.

I suspect the vast majority of western yoga classes are more or less just exercise classes, though the non-gym-affiliated ones might tend to be taught by people into "new agey" stuff like health food and such. If one is concerned about being exposed to Hindu or New Age concepts, it shouldn't be difficult to find a purely exercise version of yoga.

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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If you take (Hatha) Yoga as most Westerners do - as healthy slow stretching (or in case of Asthanga, as a sort of medium-paced Eastern gymnastics) - then it is hardly at odds with Christianity. There's no rule against being or becoming healthy and limber as a Christian. However, if you do Yoga, if you use Hatha Yoga as physical formation for that particular spiritual path, then it's clearly non-Christian (and a "sin" in that you choose it over your Christianity). Basically, you cannot take Yoga and Christianity serious at the same time.

But even if you consciously use Hatha Yoga just as an exercise, some caution is clearly warranted. From my experience (I have done several years of Hatha Yoga, and some Asthanga, and I intend to continue the latter once I have more time again), teachers of Yoga are often "serious" about their Yoga. If they are well-informed, then this means they will be into some form of Eastern spirituality, if not, then they will be into some New Age pseudo-religion. It's fairly inavoidable that this will color their teaching of even "just the exercises" (as it should, for these exercises were meant to prepare the ground for the corresponding spirituality). Further, one thing we can learn from Eastern arts is that how the body is held and moved does influence the mind. I would suggest that for Christians there's are some interesting questions to be asked about Eastern "body expressions" of faith. It is far from clear to me that one can be humble before God in the Lotus seat.

I have no problems with sourcing the East for its riches in the body arts. I have done a fair bit of that myself. But precisely when we take their claims serious, we have to start asking questions. If they truly can affect the mind via the body, we have to ask: in what way, and do I truly want this? I think one can use the physical exercises of Yoga, but one has to consciously guard against Yoga taking over one's faith.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Jason™

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If Yoga puts you in contact with the divine, wouldn't we as Christians want that?

How could it take over one's faith? It's not professing to be a faith in itself, and it's not directing to you any specific divine.


B_D, I think you got it right when you said "People are afraid of what they don't understand." That's it exactly. Especially when it threatens our "us vs. them" constructs.

-Digory

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the Pookah
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Hmm, I wonder what Christian Indians do; Do they practice Hatha Yoga.
Listen all physical culture can be controversial. The ancient Hebrews were horrified when the Hellenized Jews exercised naked in the gymnasium. And then those communal Roman baths. Corrupting polytheists.
There is nothing new under the sun;-)
the Pookah
(oh Ingo, I and other Tibetan, Chinese etc Buddhists do full body on-the-floor prostrations)

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by the Pookah:
(oh Ingo, I and other Tibetan, Chinese etc Buddhists do full body on-the-floor prostrations)

I taught full body prostrations to beginners during my Zen days, since they were part of the regular "Sunday service" of our group. So what? My point with regards to the Lotus seat stands (or should that be "sits"? [Biased] ).

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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FiliusSyon
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The lotus seat may actually be a very good example. It is in our view very much linked to Buddhist meditation. I happend to read up a little on the theory behind compassion meditation, and all writers I read gave the same reason for it: "It is the physically most stable way of sitting". Less danger of falling on face when falling asleep I guess.

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Custard
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# 5402

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Since yoga is often inseperable from Hindu philosophy, would it not be a good idea to come up with something similar in terms of the exercises, but without the philosophical / religious undergirding, as has been done with Karate and Kickboxing?

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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(In case you have no idea about the meditation postures I mention below, check out these pics.)

Except that Joe Average on a Western chair can outsit an accomplished Yogi in the Lotus seat, in particular if that Yogi does not adopt the practice of putting a cushion under their bum (not all do). And concerning stability without external aids, I doubt there's much improvement in the Lotus seat over the Burmese seat (which does not "knot" the legs). Personally, I can sit in Seiza longer than in half-Lotus (and I can hold full Lotus only for a couple of minutes on a good day). As for sleepiness, the full Lotus seat works for most Westerners simply by the pain it causes. It's difficult to go to sleep when your legs are killing you. Once the pain gets less (or the drowsiness worse), that changes. I've seen sleepy people topple forward and hit their heads on the wall from full lotus. But fair enough, if you must sit on the ground unaided and must worry about sleepiness overcoming pain, then the Lotus "tripod" structure is fairly stable. Why must you?

Anyway, my point has more to do with the "entirely erect spine" with "level head and slightly downward gaze" and "centeredness" in a "dignified bearing" with hands folded in a "cosmic mudra" that one is supposed to cultivate in the Lotus. It is indeed the posture of a spiritual prince in full command over his mind and body, who holds the universe in (or rather in front of, symbolically) his tanden (lower belly, center of gravity).

Now, either "There is absolutely no esoteric significance to the different positions.", as for example the website linked above asserts. In that case I wonder why so many practicioners either do the full lotus or at least approximate it as much as they can. Let's just bring some chairs to sit in comfortably and meditate, right? Or there is such a significance. In that case I wonder whether this posture fits a Christian spirituality.

Taken a look at this and this for Christian postures, as comparison. (I note that I had some trouble locating a picture guide to traditional Christian prayer postures on the web, these two were the best I could come up with. Can anybody help out?)

[ 09. January 2006, 06:26: Message edited by: IngoB ]

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Welease Woderwick

Sister Incubus Nightmare
# 10424

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There was a fairly insane far, far, far, right fundamentalist "christian" group where I used to live and work run by a group of complete control freaks who purported to know more about all sorts of professional issues than did the professionals!

These people condemned yoga and vegetarianism and martial arts as being all manifestations of the Anti-Christ.

Besides being able to quote scripture, something at which the Devil is also skilled, they gave little evidence that there was anything Godly about them at all.

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