Yoga is a “big deal”.
Let us get this straight. Yoga in it’s modern form is nothing like it’s origins. Which is fine, boxing is not like it’s origins either and fencing hasn’t resulted in deaths recently.
Yoga is in effect a series of stretching exercises, resistance training and callisthenics that build up the flexibility of the body. It’s not magic, it’s basic common sense. It is however a Hindu tradition and steeped in “Ideas” that are based on Hindu tradition such as meditation and the idea of exercise to bring calm and peace.
In a nutshell when we go to the gym rather than pounding rhythm, Yoga is about building your body through holding awkward poses that strengthen the muscle. In effect your body is your resistance and weights.
Now that’s a sensible scientifically sound idea about Yoga. It does not however bring you closer to any gods nor does it allow you to smack Col. Guile across the map or teleport or spit fire. That’s the woo aspect of it. Neither does it require any faith in gods any more than Tai Chi or Karate do. And yes there are Yoga schools for “fighting”. They bring you inner peace by solving your problems by killing your enemies. The “woo” in Yoga is the inordinate value placed on it for dealing with things but that’s relatively benign.
But Yoga is often at the forefront of Christian arguments that it is being used to push Hinduism in schools. Bear in mind, in Hinduism missionary conversion is considered anathema. You can be a Hindu if you like, but to try and have a god fight to see who’s gods are the awesomest (trust me it’s Hindu) is considered bad. There is no right way to Nirvana. There are many ways to enlightenment and to live a good life. So to say one is better than the other is considered arrogance. To each their own path.
Judge John Meyer acknowledged that yoga “at its roots is religious” but added that the modern practice of yoga, despite its origins in Hindu philosophy, is deeply engrained in secular U.S. society and “is a distinctly American cultural phenomenon.”
This is in response to a Christian group trying to get school Yoga classes banned.
Now I understand that Yoga is like Karate or any other eastern martial art and has been divorced from it’s cultural roots. And I am in two minds about that. On the one hand it makes it secular, on the other hand it’s kind of denigrating a culture that most people know nothing about..
“If yoga is a religion and has religious aspects, it doesn’t belong in the public schools,” said Dean Broyles, who represents Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, whose two children opted out of yoga for physical education. “There is a consistent anti-Christian bias in these cases and a pro-Eastern or strange religion bias.”
Anything that helps fight the modern obesity epidemic is good. Yoga is one of those things.
Yoga is not a religion. You can do yoga as an atheist. Meditation and calming yourself doesn’t require belief in the Atman or Eshwara or Krishna.
And it’s nice to see respect for other religions here. I am afraid the Sedlocks and Broyles come off not as champions of secularism but “religious bigots”.
The plaintiffs objected to eight-limbed tree posters with Sanskrit characters that they said were derived from Hindu beliefs, as well as to the use of the Namaste greeting in class and several yoga poses said to represent worship of Hindu deities.
Namaste is not a Hindu greeting any more and is universally used in the sub-continent in a variety of forms. It is a more formal version of “Hello”. It’s like bowing before a Karate match and referring to your teacher as Sensei.
And some of the poses in yoga are “religious” such as the Surya Namaskar but the positions don’t matter so much as the prayer in your head. You can still do the positions without a religious aspect.
But by the start of the 2012-2013 school year, the Sanskrit and Namaste had been eliminated from the program, and poses had been renamed with “kid-friendly” descriptions, poses now called gorilla, turtle, peacock, big toe, telephone and other terms, according to testimony. The lotus pose, for example, is called criss cross apple sauce in Encinitas schools.
Yeah this is kind of unacceptable.
If we took the rain dance of Native Americans and removed all of the cultural ideology behind it, it would be an insult to it.
This is like me celebrating Easter as Zombie and Chocolate day. The Lotus pose is “JUST” a pose. It’s a position that resembles the shape of a flower… It’s in no way religious and it’s how many people in Asia sit down.
Renaming the positions may make it more palatable for a western audience, but it does a great injustice to the actual history of the art. My Karate lessons were taught by a Kuwaiti man shouting Japanese instructions. To change that would be to dishonour the art. Yet why are we so happy to do the same to Yoga?
However, the plaintiffs’ expert, professor of religious studies Candy Gunther Brown, testified that yoga practice indoctrinates Hindu religious practices whether the individual knows it or not.
Brown cited research suggesting yoga practice changes the user’s brain and thoughts, a sort of gateway drug to the occult, Meyer said.
Then we must ban Christmas from schools. After all, celebrating Christmas holidays indoctrinates Christian Religious Practice whether the individual knows it or not?
Want proof? I used to believe in Santa Claus.
Wait what? Yoga changes the user’s brain? And this is a professor of religious studies? I smell bullshit.
And to class the world’s oldest religion as “occult” is to denigrate the faith of a billion people. Which is a right laugh coming from an umbrella faith that includes people who believe in handling snakes and making random noises.
Remember your “faith” may seem bullshit to everyone else.
I don’t mind removing the “religious” aspect of Hinduism from Yoga. I do mind removing the INDIAN aspect from Yoga. If we are willing to give martial arts the level of respect they deserve without gigantic rants about the inculcation of our children in Shinto, then we can have Yoga without the gigantic rants about the creeping missionary work of Hinduism. To claim otherwise is a complete misunderstanding of an entire MAJOR faith which is unbecoming of a professor of religious studies. It’s dishonest, self serving and ultimately stupid.
I think Candy is jealous. Carpenter on Cross is hardly fun when compared to a dark child defeating a snake in a dance fight.