Yoga against Christianity

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rainbowsmiles
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Yoga against Christianity

Post by rainbowsmiles »

Since yoga comes from the vedic scriptures, do you believe is wrong for Christians to take part in the practice of yoga?

The Catholic Church has made it clear that their followers are not to take part in the practice of yoga but other Christian leaders say differently.



.

The Vatican, in a letter approved by Pope John Paul II, warned Christians Thursday against spiritual dangers deriving from Eastern methods of contemplative meditation used in yoga and Zen Buddhism.

It said the symbolism and body postures in such meditation ''can even become an idol and thus an obstacle to the raising up of the spirit of God.''
I contacted the people over at Hinduism today, to get their opinion on the matter after reading this article:

http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/2 ... nion.shtml

But I'm curious as to what others think as well. Any opinions?
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Accountable
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Post by Accountable »

rainbowsmiles wrote: Since yoga comes from the vedic scriptures, do you believe is wrong for Christians to take part in the practice of yoga?



The Catholic Church has made it clear that their followers are not to take part in the practice of yoga but other Christian leaders say differently.





.





I contacted the people over at Hinduism today, to get their opinion on the matter after reading this article:



http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/2 ... nion.shtml



But I'm curious as to what others think as well. Any opinions?Yoga, as far as I know, is a set of techniques to move the body - a gift of God - so that it won't go all stiff from disuse. How can God not like that?? Also yoga involves meditation. Unless I'm mistaken, you (collective you) don't have to meditate on the yoga god (Yoda?) but on your body and/or nature - both of which are of and from God. Prayer is meditation. I don't see the conflict. Rather, I see a way to show appreciation from your first birthday gift. :yh_party
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chonsigirl
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Post by chonsigirl »

I practice yoga sometimes-don't laugh now, I use a CD on the DVD player. I just turn off the sound, I only want the stretching and exercises for it. I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

I do tai chi everyday the same way-nothing wrong with that either. I had to do something when my husband came home to build up my strength to do some strenuous chores, and not ache all the time afterwards. It works quite well.
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Accountable
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Post by Accountable »

I bought a beginner's yoga video. Beginner's, mind you. The lady spread her feet wide, kept her legs straight and touched her head to the floor. I threw out my back bending over to remove the tape. [smilie=3,2,3]
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chonsigirl
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Post by chonsigirl »

:wah:

I did notice how skinny-like real skinny-the people on these CD's are! I am glad I'm not in it for loosing weight, after the big bowl of ice cream I ate last night..............
rainbowsmiles
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Post by rainbowsmiles »

won't go all stiff from disuse. How can God not like that?? Also yoga involves meditation. Unless I'm mistaken, you (collective you) don't have to meditate on the yoga god (Yoda?) but on your body and/or nature - both of which are of and from God. Prayer is meditation. I don't see the conflict. Rather, I see a way to show appreciation from your first birthday gift.


The debate is actually that yoga comes from the vedic scriptures. Yes, now it is seen as a way of keeping the body in shape by Westerners but its origins are in the Hindu religion. The Hindus fear, that because it is widely used by the general public as a form of exercise that it will someday be forgotten as a base of the Hindu faith. The Christian leaders (Including the Catholics) that are against the practice of yoga are against it because it does go against the theology of the church. The Catholic church has never accepted the practice of other faiths (witchcraft (wicca) being one of them).

So understanding the debate takes a bit of thinking outside the box I guess. Yoga didn't come from God. Yoga came from the Hindus - LOL That is a fact. Buddha brought meditation and enlightenment to the world and others, including the Dalai Lama brought it to the Western world.

There isn't any doubt that yoga and meditation are great for the body. The Hindu's don't even deny that fact. The Hindus aren't particularly against yoga being practiced by Westerners (thats the Churches issue). The Hindu's don't want yoga seen as a Christian concept nor do they want it forgotten as a base of their religion. And I personally respect and honor their views on that.

The Pope and numerous other church leaders refer to their followers as heretics if they practice yoga. They don't care if your worshipping the Hindu deities in the process - they are just against the practice of yoga and the meditative practices associated with it.

Do you think that is understandable for them to feel this way, or do you think it wrong?

(as usual, the church is using scripture to back up its claims - but, like always, the sciptures are interpreted differently by everyone so there isn't one consensus on this issue).

Yoga, as far as I know, is a set of techniques to move the body


No, originally yoga was not designed for that purpose nor is it considered that way by Hindu's and numerous non-Hindu's today. The ley person sees it that way because that is how it has been filtered down to the rest of us around the world.
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Accountable
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Post by Accountable »

For Christians to be against a behavior is just silly. Jesus freed us from that kind of stuff. Our action or inaction do not ensure our salvation or damnation. All that is completely spiritual.
ch4rlie
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Post by ch4rlie »

it's a spiritual process as much as a physical one. the poses are all based on hindu ideas and symbolism. in ancient indian architecture the temples are decorated with figures of gods in yoga poses.

the catholic church took a wishy-washy stance because they can't behead anyone for heresy anymore. it IS against christianity.
ch4rlie
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Post by ch4rlie »

Hamster wrote: I agree AC...Isn't all religion supposed to be about tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness and love?

I practice meditation every day-sometime tai chi and I have tried yoga... I don't class myself as any particular "religion" but I lie to take the best of each.

Why do we have to have name calling and one-upmanship over this kind of thing?

This is the reason I stopped going to church as I was fed up of the constant battering of "it has to be our way or else you are going against God".

Is that really what any omnipotent being would want us to do?


yes ...



but as it stands with their way or the highway it clearly goes against the teachings.
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Accountable
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Post by Accountable »

ch4rlie wrote: yes ...





but as it stands with their way or the highway it clearly goes against the teachings.Which 'they' do you refer to?
devist8me
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Post by devist8me »

I do yoga 3-4 times a week and had no idea of the things rainbowsmiles brought up. Now I'm intrigued and have yet another subject to discuss with google.
I probably posted that in an ambien trance-soryy
Bronwen
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Post by Bronwen »

rainbowsmiles wrote: The Pope and numerous other church leaders refer to their followers as heretics if they practice yoga. Excuse me, rs, I do not believe that you are correct here with regard to the pope as a person or Catholicism as a religion.

I don't mean to be confrontational, I just think that you are mistaken and would ask you to provide some documentation. Earlier in the thread you asserted:rainbowsmiles wrote: The Vatican, in a letter approved by Pope John Paul II, warned Christians Thursday against spiritual dangers deriving from Eastern methods of contemplative meditation used in yoga and Zen Buddhism. It said the symbolism and body postures in such meditation ''can even become an idol and thus an obstacle to the raising up of the spirit of God.'' In a letter APPROVED by JPII? Do you know who actually wrote it? What is your source?

In any case, the two statements are hardly synonymous. Not even close. Warning against certain meditative practices of Eastern religions (which Zen Buddhism is and yoga is not) hardly expresses or implies an accusation of heresy, nor does a mere letter by a member of the Church hierarchy have such authority.

I know several Catholics who practice yoga, and I don't recall ever having heard it condemned, questioned, or even mentioned in 11 years of Catholic education. Yoga is not in any sense a religion as far as I know, nor does it claim to be.

In any case, I prefer the kind with the fruit on the bottom.
rainbowsmiles
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Post by rainbowsmiles »

1989 VATICAN WHITE PAPER United Press International December 14, 1989, BC cycle

Copyright 1989 U.P.I.

VATICAN: CHANTING 'OMMMM' MAY CAUSE 'MORAL DEVIATIONS'

By Charles Ridley, Dateline: Vatican City

The Vatican, in a letter approved by Pope John Paul II, warned Christians Thursday against spiritual dangers deriving from Eastern methods of contemplative meditation used in yoga and Zen Buddhism.

It said the symbolism and body postures in such meditation ''can even become an idol and thus an obstacle to the raising up of the spirit of God.''

It warned that to give ''a symbolic significance typical of the mystical experience'' to sensations of well-being from meditation can lead to ''a kind of mental schizophrenia which could also lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations.''

The warnings were contained in a 25-page paper, titled ''Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation,'' issued by the Vatican Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith with the full approval of the pope.

The letter analyzed the history and significance of Christian prayer and stressed the need to stick by its established methods.

''Many Christians today have a keen desire to learn how to experience a deeper and authentic prayer life despite the not inconsiderable difficulties which modern culture places in the way of the need for silence, recollection and meditation,'' the document said.

''The interest which in recent years has been awakened also among some Christians by forms of meditation associated with some Eastern religions and their particular methods of prayer is a significant sign of this need for spiritual recollection and a deep contact with the divine mystery,'' it said.

But while conceding Eastern methods of contemplative meditation have some benefit for those who practice it, the document warned against attaching too much importance to its symbolism.

''The Eastern masters themselves have noted that not everyone is equally suited to make use of this symbolism, since not everybody is able to pass from the material sign to the spiritual reality that is being sought,'' the letter to the bishops said.

''Understood in an inadequate and incorrect way, the symbolism can even become an idol, and thus an obstacle to the raising up of the spirit of God,'' it said.

''To live out in one's prayer the full awareness of one's body as a symbol is even more difficult: it can degenerate into a cult of the body and can lead surreptitiously to considering all body sensations as spiritual experiences.



Los Angeles Times, December 14, 1989

Copyright 1989 The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times

Part P; Page 2; Column 1; Late Final Desk

RELIGION: CATHOLICS WARNED ABOUT YOGA

From Times wire services, Dateline: Vatican City

The Vatican today cautioned Roman Catholics that such Eastern meditation practices as Zen and yoga can "degenerate into a cult of the body" that debases Christian prayer.

"The love of God, the sole object of Christian contemplation, is a reality which cannot be 'mastered' by any method or technique," said a document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The document, approved by Pope John Paul II and addressed to bishops, said attempts to combine Christian meditation with Eastern techniques were fraught with danger although they can have positive uses.

The 23-page document was believed to be the first effort by the Vatican to respond to the pull of Eastern religious practices.



Los Angeles Times, December 15, 1989

Copyright 1989 The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times

Part A; Page 22; Column 1; Foreign Desk

ZEN AND YOGA NO SUBSTITUTES FOR PRAYER, VATICAN SAYS;

Religion: Meditation as Physical Therapy Is Distinguished from Spiritual Enrichment

By William D. Montalbano, Times Staff Writer

Dateline: Vatican City

Urging Catholics to distinguish between spiritual form and substance, the Vatican warned Thursday against substituting Eastern methods of meditation such as Zen and yoga for Christian prayer.

In a 7,000-word letter to bishops approved by Pope John Paul II, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made a firm distinction between meditation as physical or psychic therapy, and spiritual enrichment.

"Prayer without faith becomes blind, faith without prayer disintegrates," Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the congregation, said in presenting a document he said was intended not to condemn the meditative practices of other religions but to reaffirm guidelines for Christian prayer.

Ratzinger's congregation defends doctrinal orthodoxy, and its letter to 3,000 Roman Catholic bishops around the world was apparently written to answer complaints from some of them about the growing popularity of mixing Christian meditation with practices common to Hinduism and Buddhism. It apparently was the first time that the Vatican has issued a warning on this topic.

The letter declared that "the love of God, the sole object of Christian contemplation, is a reality which cannot be 'mastered' by any method or technique."

Like the Catholic church, other religions specify how to achieve "union with God in prayer," the letter noted. "Just as the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions, neither should these ways be rejected out of hand simply because they are not Christian. On the contrary, one can take from them what is useful so long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements, are never obscured."

Some Catholics, the letter noted, believe their prayer is enhanced by techniques borrowed from "various religions and cultures." It said, though, that such practices "can degenerate into a cult of the body and can lead surreptitiously to considering all bodily sensations as spiritual experiences."

Attempts to integrate Christian meditation with Eastern techniques that use breath control and prescribed postures like the lotus position can be successful, Ratzinger said, but they are "not free from dangers and errors," and may boomerang.

"Some physical exercises automatically produce a feeling of quiet and relaxation, pleasing sensations, perhaps even phenomena of light and of warmth, which resemble spiritual well-being. To take such feelings for the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit would be a totally erroneous way of conceiving the spiritual life. Giving them a symbolic significance typical of the mystical experience, when the moral condition of the person concerned does not correspond to such an experience," the letter continued, "would represent a kind of mental schizophrenia which could also lead to psychic disturbances and, at times, to moral deviations."

Some forms of Eastern Christian meditation have "valued psychophysical symbolism, often absent in Western forms of prayer," the letter noted. "On the other hand, the Eastern masters themselves have also noted that not everyone is equally suited to make use of this symbolism, since not everybody is able to pass from the material sign to the spiritual reality that is being sought. Understood in an inadequate and incorrect way, the symbolism can even become an idol and, thus an obstacle to the raising up of the spirit to God," the letter asserted.



Excerpts:

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (LONDON) November 25, 2001, Pg. 23

Copyright 2001 The Telegraph Group Limited

IS YOGA THE NEW RELIGION? After a vicar last week banned a class from his church hall, Jenny McCartney examines the attraction of toned muscles with a dash of spiritual serenity thrown in

By Jenny McCartney

The Reverend Richard Farr, the vicar of St Mary's church in Henham, took a decision last week that has made him the talk of the Essex village and beyond: he banned a 16-strong group of yoga enthusiasts from taking lessons in his church hall. Yoga was, he said, an un-Christian practice: "I accept that, for some people, it is simply an exercise. But it is also often a gateway into other spiritualities, including eastern mysticism."

Tom Newstead, the yoga instructor ... said: "What they have done is tunnel-visioned and I am staggered. Would Christ refuse me entrance to his house if I am teaching people how to eat properly, keep fit and free of disease?"

Mr Newstead, who used to be an alcoholic and a drug addict, said yoga had transformed his life: "If it wasn't for yoga I would probably not even be here." He intends to return to the church, to press his case for use of the hall. But Rev Farr - who says that he has received "hundreds of letters" of support for his stand - seems unlikely to budge, to the quiet dismay of some parishioners who were rather taken with the banned diversion. ...

Traditionalists within the Church argue that yoga is based on Hindu teaching and is, therefore, incompatible with Christianity: this is not the first time that it has been exiled from a church hall. Disquieted members of the clergy, however, may find it increasingly difficult to avoid the sight of their flock in the lotus position. ...

...

It may be the spiritual dimension of yoga, the way in which purists claim that it "takes over your life", that leads some churchmen to be wary. There is even, perhaps, a spark of envy in their condemnation: attendances at the established churches in Britain are falling, even as people flock to practices such as yoga with fresh enthusiasm. ...

...

Christianity offers a solution for the everlasting soul, but not the flabby, disintegrating body. ...

Serious teachers of yoga, however, argue that the philosophy is no threat to the Christian faith, and can actually enhance it. Simon Low, a director of the Triyoga centre in Primrose Hill, London, said: "There is nothing in yoga that suggests it should be practised as a religion: it is a science. Patanjali, whose sutras are the foundation of classical yoga, had a concept called isvara: it describes how the practice of yoga can take you closer to whatever your God or spirit is. If you are a Christian, it could bring you closer to a Christian God.

"I often read out a poem called The Shores of Silence in my class, which was written by Pope John Paul II. Every time I read it, I credit the Pope and I always get a host of people saying how much it helped them. Yoga teaching draws on a huge number of writings and poems from different religions: what they have in common is the fundamental human search for peace and love."

...



Excerpts:

The San Francisco Chronicle, June 28, 1993

Copyright 1993 the Chronicle Publishing Co.

Section: News; Pg. A1

A Smorgasbord of Spirituality

Baby boomers eschew name-brand religion to create new rituals

Series: Religion a La Carte / Spiritual Wandering in the West

By: Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer

...

Although the United States has always been a spiritual melting pot, the declining influence of mainline churches, along with the coming to power of the '60s generation, has made the nation's religious _expression more eclectic than ever.

Organized religion has responded to rising religious syncretism in two markedly different ways.

Some church leaders, especially those in fundamentalist and Pentecostal churches, have attacked this trend as at best selfish, at worst satanic.

Other churches have welcomed Buddhism, yoga and New Age spiritualities with open arms -- conducting workshops at Catholic retreat centers and in Episcopal cathedrals that are barely distinguishable from those offered at Esalen Institute and other ''growth movement'' spas.

Only last month, Pope John Paul II warned a group of U.S. bishops visiting him in Rome about the dangers of the New Age movement.

''This religious reawakening includes some very ambiguous elements which are incompatible with the Christian faith,'' the pope said. ''Their syncretistic and immanent outlook (tends to) relativize religious doctrine in favor of a vague world view expressed as a system of myths and symbols dressed in religious language.''

But the pope's warning may be falling upon deaf ears, particularly among baby boomers.

...



Excerpts:

The Washington Post July 18, 2004

Copyright 2004 The Washington Post

Section: Outlook; B01

What Would Jesus Weigh?;

In the Church, the Body's Back in Vogue

By: Henry G. Brinton

...

Suddenly we have churches offering "Christian Yoga," which presents elements of the Hindu practice of hatha yoga in an intentionally Christ-centered setting. Others feature weight-loss classes ... and, yes, having sex.

While some of this is just a fad and a reflection of our weight-, diet- and sex-obsessed culture -- and thus an attractive way to expand church membership and sell books -- I believe it also reflects a very positive development in religious thought. After 2,000 years of being largely separated, spirit and body are finally coming back together.

Neither Jesus nor the Jews wanted this split to exist, but a group of Greek thinkers in the early church introduced a dualistic philosophy that had a negative view of the body and a positive view of the spirit. Later theologians developed this theme: Saint Augustine believed that the soul makes war with the body, and the Protestant reformer John Calvin saw earthly human existence as "a rottenness and a worm." But recently, theologians and religious scholars have rediscovered the value of the flesh. No less an authority than Pope John Paul II has given a series of strikingly positive talks on the theology of the body.

There's ample precedent for this. Jesus, like his Jewish colleagues, saw the flesh as a good gift of God, and he rejoiced in the pleasures of touch and taste and other bodily sensations. ...

...

The reunion of spirit and body carries with it the possibility of integrity -- that is, the bringing together of different parts into a unified whole. As human beings, we long to be complete and undivided, enjoying integrity as physical, emotional, intellectual, sexual and spiritual creatures. ...

...

... Integrity of body and spirit is healthy, but idolatry of the body is not. ...



National Public Radio (NPR) April 7, 2005

Copyright 2005 National Public Radio

Morning Edition 10:00 AM EST

Church in Europe to assess changing demographics of Catholicism

Anchors: Renee Montagne, Reporters: Sylvia Poggioli

...

Poggioli: ... I once asked a French bishop, `Where have all the Catholics gone?' And he told me they've become kind of like religious pagans, picking a little bit of Jesus, a little bit of yoga, a little bit of that. And you know, while churches in Europe are getting emptier and emptier, more and more makeshift mosques are cropping up as the influx of Muslim immigrants continues. ...



DO YOU WANT MORE PROOF FOR YOUR YOGA PRACTICING CATHOLIC FRIENDS? I CAN PROVIDE SO MUCH MORE :)

THERE IS SOMETHING NOW TERMED "CHRISTIAN YOGA" THAT HAS MANY HINDU'S WORRIED THAT THEIR CULTURE/HISTORY IS BEING LOST BECAUSE IT IS BEING USED AND RENAMED BY THOSE WHO USE IT. HINDUS, AS I'VE BEEN LEARNING, ARE NOT AGAINST ANYONE PRACTICING YOGA IF THEY HAVE A FULL UNDERSTANDING OF ITS PURPOSE AS WELL AS ITS HISTORY (WHICH I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH). WHAT I'VE SEEN SO FAR IN THE DISCUSSIONS I'VE BEEN IN ON, IS THAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T REALLY KNOW THE PURPOSE OF YOGA - AS POPE JOHN PAUL DID. JUST BECAUSE YOGA HAS EVOLVED AND IS USED AS A BASIC SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL PRACTICE BY WESTERNERS DOES NOT MEAN THAT ITS STILL NOT ROOTED IN HINDU TRADITIONS IN SCRIPTURE AND THAT ITS ORIGINAL PURPOSE WAS NOT TO REACH A GOD OR GODS THAT CHRISTIANS DO NOT FOLLOW.

A FEW BOOKS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT THIS RECENTLY AS WELL AS TOPICS/DEBATES CROPPING UP ALL OVER THE INTERNET. I KNEW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS AGAINST IT (I WAS RAISED CATHOLIC). I DID NOT KNOW OF YOGA'S ORIGINS UNTIL A FEW MONTHS BACK. I SENT IN A QUESTION TO HINDUISM TODAYS EDITOR AND IT WAS PRINTED IN THEIR RECENT EDITION. I RECEIVED NUMEROUS EMAILS FROM PEOPLE AROUND THE GLOBE (YOGA EDUCATORS, STUDENTS, ETC...) INCLUDING THE MAN WHO WROTE THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE "YOGA RENAMED IS STILL HINDU." IT HAS BEEN VERY ENLIGHTENING TO SAY THE LEAST.
Bronwen
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Post by Bronwen »

I appreciate the time you took to post that.

I don't think, however, that it supports your allegations. In fact, I would call it, as a whole, a well-balanced commentary. There's certainly no accusation of heresy.

Of course, it's important to note that the headlines are the creations of the headline writers of the various newspapers, and their function is to grab the reader's attention. They are not part of the actual documents issued by the Church.

I'm also not sure of the origin of the comments in ALL CAPS. Are those from an outside source or your own remarks?
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weber
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Post by weber »

WOW......and I thought Yoga, tai chi, etc. meditation, felt so good. I like to feel good. Who cares where it comes from if it gives me release from a tired, cranky body. My beliefs are not connected to relieving stress from my body. Sometimes religion just gives me so much stress that I have to find ways to feel good.:guitarist
miriam:yh_flower



Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.

.................Charles Mingus



http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/enter.cfm?
rainbowsmiles
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Post by rainbowsmiles »

Bronwen,

I apologize for not clarifying - yes, all CAPS were my words.

I know several Catholics who practice yoga, and I don't recall ever having heard it condemned, questioned, or even mentioned in 11 years of Catholic education. Yoga is not in any sense a religion as far as I know, nor does it claim to be.


You asked for my source and I gave it to you. And I'm very surprised that your Catholic friends don't know about this. Are they Catholics by practice or just in word only? There are those types (word only) - too often actually. The use of yoga by Christians pertains to those Christians who actually follow the doctrin of their church and are "practicing" Christianity and not just spouting it.

If your friends are devout Catholics (as are quite a few of my own family members) I believe they would have known about what Pope John Paul had to say re: Yoga. Most Christians don't share their knowledge of yogas purpose or history for several reasons - one being its association with Hinduism and the fact the Hindu's worship multiple deities. The Catholic church isn't the only entity taking a stand on this - other church leaders have also.

Of course, it's important to note that the headlines are the creations of the headline writers of the various newspapers, and their function is to grab the reader's attention. They are not part of the actual documents issued by the Church.


My sharing the headlines was just my way of showing you that this topic isn't new and has been shared around our Nation (U.S.) for quite some time. Your the one who said your Catholic friends hadn't heard of it being condemned or questioned - I was just proving to you that either they haven't shared this information with you or they just don't follow the Vatican Press the way my grandmother does :wah:

The fact remains - yoga has a history, it also has a purpose. It doesn't matter if its purpose has been changed to fit Western standards. I've come across a good share of Christians that had no idea yoga originated in the vedic scriptures and have since questioned their own religious leaders about this and whether or not it is right to go on with their practice. Some of them agree with the practice of yoga, some do not. I knew the church (Catholic) was against yoga but didn't know exactly why (all the details) myself until recently.

I think this is an interesting topic worth mulling over and so I share it with everyone I know. I also personally believe that the history of yoga is important and feel that yoga instructors shouldn't only be teaching the physical form to their students but also its spiritual form and complete history - religious leaders SHOULD NOT be renaming yoga to fit their own standards just because they feel guilty.

Here is an article on "Christian Yoga" that people might find interesting. It shows the diversity in the thinking going on behind this practice of yoga by Christians.

http://www.acfnewsource.org/religion/ch ... _yoga.html

One thing to remember about yoga is that The asanas/postures are worshipful postures to Hindu Deities! I've learned from non-Hindu friends that practice yoga that most of them were not aware of this. So the postures might make one feel great but as I said before - they had a purpose and I think that is why the Pope feared its use.
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Post by Bronwen »

rainbowsmiles wrote: 1. You asked for my source and I gave it to you. And I'm very surprised that your Catholic friends don't know about this.

2. If your friends are devout Catholics (as are quite a few of my own family members) I believe they would have known about what Pope John Paul had to say re: Yoga.

3. Most Christians don't share their knowledge of yogas purpose or history for several reasons - one being its association with Hinduism and the fact the Hindu's worship multiple deities. The Catholic church isn't the only entity taking a stand on this - other church leaders have also.

4. Your the one who said your Catholic friends hadn't heard of it being condemned or questioned - I was just proving to you that either they haven't shared this information with you or they just don't follow the Vatican Press the way my grandmother does :wah:

5. The fact remains - yoga has a history, it also has a purpose.

6. I knew the church (Catholic) was against yoga but didn't know exactly why (all the details) myself until recently.

7. I think this is an interesting topic worth mulling over and so I share it with everyone I know.

8. I also personally believe that the history of yoga is important and feel that yoga instructors shouldn't only be teaching the physical form to their students but also its spiritual form and complete history - religious leaders SHOULD NOT be renaming yoga to fit their own standards just because they feel guilty.

9. Here is an article on "Christian Yoga" that people might find interesting.

10. One thing to remember about yoga is that The asanas/postures are worshipful postures to Hindu Deities!

11. I've learned from non-Hindu friends that practice yoga that most of them were not aware of this.

12. So the postures might make one feel great but as I said before - they had a purpose and I think that is why the Pope feared its use.1. Don't know about WHAT? The letter? I certainly don't remember it having been read in my church, nor do I see where it supports your viewpoint. This seems to me the pivotal paragraph:Like the Catholic church, other religions specify how to achieve "union with God in prayer," the letter noted. "Just as the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions, neither should these ways be rejected out of hand simply because they are not Christian. On the contrary, one can take from them what is useful so long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements, are never obscured."2. I am not aware that he said ANYTHING about it, nor do your citations suggest that. They say only that he approved the letter, which is to say, found nothing objectionable in it. Apart from that, I see no mention of JPII whatever in any of the excerpts. Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now pope, is quoted thus (with my emphasis):"Prayer without faith becomes blind, faith without prayer disintegrates," Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the congregation, said in presenting a document he said was intended not to condemn the meditative practices of other religions but to reaffirm guidelines for Christian prayer.Maybe you'd better go back and read your own references again. The only person here condemning yoga seems to be you.

3 & 5. What, in your opinion, is its purpose? Please be specific. This seems to be the maypole that you are dancing around in this entire discussion.

With regard to its history, that may be interesting but what is the importance? I have owned three Mazda automobiles, named after the Zoroastrian god of light. Do you think that doing so has endangered my Christian faith?

4. Not exactly what I said. I said that in 11 years of Catholic education, I cannot remember yoga ever having been condemned, questioned or ever mentioned. Rock music, skimpy bathing suits, trashy novels, necking and petting, yes; yoga, no.

6. Going round in circles. Your citations do not indicate that.

7. I think it's interesting too.

8. Some probably do that and others do not. As I said, its history may be interesting but I don't see the importance.

9. Interesting, but again, not particularly supportive of your position.

10 & 11. I don't know whether or not that is true, but once again, what difference does it make? That is not the purpose of the positions, some of which are similar to certain ballet positions. Is ballet spiritually dangerous too?

12. Back to the maypole, what is the purpose? Please state your opinion clearly and provide documentation if possible.

As for the pope fearing its use, that is also unsupported by your references. It doesn't say that, or anything like that, anywhere. You are attemting to bend the news items to fit your own agenda.
rainbowsmiles
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Yoga against Christianity

Post by rainbowsmiles »

Me, against yoga? :wah: I think all of the Hindus I've spoken to so far, including Professor Tiwari would find your comments regarding me being against yoga laughable - the way I do. I love yoga, I love its history, and I, unlike you, will never rationalize its use and disregard its history.

I'm not Catholic so I'm certainly not for or against what the pope said. I attended Catholic School and Mass because my grandmother wanted it. BTW/Her church didn't tell her about this either. She has received publications she subscribes to from the Vatican press for years as do many priests. So if you really want to know the truth, maybe you should talk to your so-called Catholic friends again or address this with your own church ;)

You seem hell bent on defending the church and that is fine with me. As far as what the Vatican had to say - go read the White Paper for yourself and then you can take your foot of your mouth ;) What is posted above, as I said before, is just proof that the nation had heard of this news. They all seem to understand what it meant, your the only one who doesn't.

So, you can go on believing and thinking whatever you choose. I've already spoken when numerous people, Christian, Hindus, including the Lutheran Minister (Missouri Synod) whom I helped create a website for (banning its use, making statements against it, or changing its name to fit its agenda). And if you don't believe that is happening, well keep your head in the sand - your issue is not my issue here. ;)

As for the pope fearing its use, that is also unsupported by your references. It doesn't say that, or anything like that, anywhere. You are attemting to bend the news items to fit your own agenda.


And what exactly is my agenda since you know me so well?



The facts re: this topic in case you missed them:

Yoga comes from Hinduism and some hindus are afraid that it has become so commercialized to the point its history and its purpose will be lost.

Some church leaders, including the Vatican have spoken out against the use of yoga.

Hindus are disturbed by the idea of "Christian Yoga" because they don't want yoga to be turned into a Christian concept.

Here is an excerpt from Mr. Tiwari's email regarding the use of yoga by non-hindus.

If someone wishes to engage in Yoga for strengthening the back or improve relaxation, where does the Hindu, or for that matter Christian aspect come in? Over 85% of my students are non-Hindus, and they are not threatened by Yoga or the fact that they are taught by a Hindu. In fact the glowing praise reflects a deep appreciation of being shown a deeper side to Yoga than is often experienced in the gym environment! And even more interesting there is a genuine desire to investigate and learn more about this tradition which spent 5000 years studying and contemplating the aspects of mind and higher states of awareness, from which emanates profound peace and silence.

So the point of this discussion isn't whether or not the Church leaders (Including the Pope) spoke against it. That has already been established and quite frankly I won't bother trying to prove it to you further. Do a google search - you might learn something. It is all over the net, your own church leader should be aware of it if he/she keeps up on current events and there a few books written about it. I hardly think this topic would be so wide spread if the Popes signature on a small document meant absolutely nothing - as you claim it does.

The point of this discussion - I'll say once more - is how do people feel about the church being against yoga because of its origins and original purpose? I suppose a new question could be, do people feel its origins and original purpose are important?

I personally feel cheated that I wasn't told the history and purpose of yoga when I took my first yoga class. When I have the opportunity again I will take a yoga course but with an educated instructor, preferably a praciticing Hindu, because I'd love to know more.
rainbowsmiles
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Yoga against Christianity

Post by rainbowsmiles »

This is exactly what I'm talking about. This stance that some Christians are taking on yoga... Personally, I don't understand and cannot agree with their thinking (but as I always feel, everyone has a right to their own beliefs).

2 reasons for bringing up this topic here. I wanted to share what I had learned about yogas history with people who were unaware and also to set up a discussion about how some christian leaders and parishoners are viewing the use of yoga.

If anyone has the chance and is interested - here is a view point from a Christian who is against yoga and she gives her reasons why.

From: Christianity Today

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/123/22.0.html

Also, for anyone who is interested, I'd be glad to share Mr. Tiwari's email. I don't want to post it here because it is quite long and would take up a lot of space but I can pm it. And please, read his original article "yoga renamed is still hindu" - it is very enlightening.
Bronwen
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Yoga against Christianity

Post by Bronwen »

rainbowsmiles wrote: 1. So the point of this discussion isn't whether or not the Church leaders (Including the Pope) spoke against it.

2. That has already been established and quite frankly I won't bother trying to prove it to you further.

3. I hardly think this topic would be so wide spread if the Popes signature on a small document meant absolutely nothing - as you claim it does.

4. The point of this discussion - I'll say once more - is how do people feel about the church being against yoga because of its origins and original purpose?

5. I suppose a new question could be, do people feel its origins and original purpose are important?1. On the contrary, that is exactly the point. You claimed that they did but provided no support; on the contrary, the material you posted goes in the other direction almost entirely. Here once again is the pivotal paragraph:Like the Catholic church, other religions specify how to achieve "union with God in prayer," the letter noted. "Just as the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions, neither should these ways be rejected out of hand simply because they are not Christian. On the contrary, one can take from them what is useful so long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements, are never obscured."
2. It hasn't been established and you proved nothing except that you are no good at convincing your readers that the references you give mean something other than they say.

3. I made no such claim, nor is the topic 'wide-spread'. It is, in fact rather obscure. Since you have stated that you personally feel yoga is fine, one wonders what your purpose is here.

4. Then the discussion is moot because the church takes no such position, nor have you posted anything to indicate the opposite, and you are still dancing around the 'original purpose', which you refuse to state.

5. Some people probably feel that way while others do not. So?
rainbowsmiles
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Yoga against Christianity

Post by rainbowsmiles »

Bronwen,

I'm beginning to wonder what YOUR agenda is :wah: Your spending all of your energy trying to convince people that may be reading this thread that the Pope did not sign a document in 1989 against the practice of yoga. I wonder why that is?

The reason the Popes stand against yoga is so important is because it impacted the Christian worlds view. Some Christians have took the Popes stand to mean absolutely nothing, others took it to mean the practice of yoga was some form of devil worship (yes, I've read those articles too), etc...

No one here needs to take my word for it. Just do a google search. Here, I'll help:

This was the first thing to pop up when I googled: the pope against yoga

Some Reflections on the Recent Papacy of JPII

by Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox



While the media responds profusely to the telegenic pope who has just passed, and while he accomplished some good things such as taking a stand against the Iraq war and against capital punishment and against the idolatry of consumerism, I really do believe that history will not be kind to this papacy. This pope and his self-appointed German mafia headed by Cardinal Ratzinger will have to face the judgment of history (and very likely God also) over issues that include but are not limited to the following:

A pre-occupation with morality as sexual issues even when this morality is deeply flawed. I include the following examples:

--The forbidding of one billion Catholics world wide to practice birth control even while the human population explodes at the seams.

--The forbidding of the use of condoms even in a time when AIDS is killing individuals and whole populations the world over.

--The head-long pursuit of Augustine's theology of sexuality (all sex must be legitimized by having children)

--Ugly attacks in the pope's name against homosexuals and the complete ignoring of what science and professional psychological associations have learned about homosexuality (for example, that it is a natural phenomenon for 8-10% of any given human population as well as over 460 non-human species).

Other attacks include documents against yoga (yes!); against Buddhism (calling it "atheism"); against Thich Naht Hahn (calling him the "anti-Christ"); against feminist philosophers; against women (girls cannot serve at the altar; nor can women be priests); against theologians in general. Priests are forbidden to use the pronoun "she" for God at the altar.

So Bowen, you can go on and on with your rantings that I've proved nothing regarding the Pope/The Vatican/And Yoga. If you want to believe that, go ahead. Your not the only person reading this thread and your only one person among thousands who do ;) Do I have the Vatican White Paper from 1989 in my hands? NO. Do I need it to bring this topic here to Forum Garden for discussion? I DON'T BELIEVE SO. This is just a topic for discussion and your the only one who seems to have an issue with it. There are some very intellectual adults on here, some of which have commented on this topic already. I was interested in reading their views on this and that is why I posted the topic here. I don't have anything to prove.

It hasn't been established and you proved nothing except that you are no good at convincing your readers that the references you give mean something other than they say.


I'm not trying to prove that the Pope signed anything or that the Vatican stated anything. Thats already been proven. Like I said before, your the only one who has chosen not to believe it. :wah:

I made no such claim, nor is the topic 'wide-spread'. It is, in fact rather obscure. Since you have stated that you personally feel yoga is fine, one wonders what your purpose is here.


No offense, but is your head made out of rock? I told you my purpose in bringing the discussion here. The question for you is WHY ARE YOU SO THREATENED BY THIS TOPIC?!

I think your projecting too much. Just because you probably bring topics here that you like to debate or you're always trying to get others to view things the way you do doesn't mean the rest of us have the same agenda. Some of us enjoy discussing topics in general.

Some people probably feel that way while others do not. So?


No **** Sherlock. :rolleyes: That is what forums are mainly about and this one is no exception. People come here to discuss various topics, giving their opinions. So why should this topic not be discussed?

I don't know why I bother asking you any questions because you never answer them. Your like a dog with a bone on this Pope issue and quite frankly buddy, your in denial.

Ok, you don't believe the Catholic Church said anything against yoga. So be it... I'm curious what people think regarding the Vaticans stand against yoga and what other people think about the new "Christian Yoga?" And since you don't believe there is such a topic going around, then why are you posting here? You've already clearly stated you don't believe any such thing so....??

As for those who may be interested in this subject... a book was just written by George Alexander titled "Yoga: The truth behind the Postures" and it will be released in October. Some of the topics being discussed in the book are:

What is Yoga really all about?

Does Yoga have a religious impact?

Can Yoga be practiced for physical benefits alone?

What do Hindu sacred texts say about Yoga?

Is there such a thing as "Christian Yoga"?

Dr. George Alexander, who grew up in India, understands the true purpose of Yoga as only an insider can. He examines how Yoga affects the mind, emotions, and physical body of all who follow this ancient practice. He also draws from personal experiences in India, England, and America to illustrate how Yoga is used to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western belief systems-two worldviews that are totally incompatible.

This well-researched book explores:

The truth behind Yoga-documented by ancient Hindu texts and writings of prominent Hindu Yogis and Swamis

The significance of mantras

The differences between Hindu and Biblical teachings on the nature of God and man, life and death, meditation, prayer, morality

The testimonies of people who formerly practiced Yoga and Eastern religions.

The history of Yoga from its Hindu conception in India, 5,000 years ago, to its introduction in the West, its adaptation over the years to Western culture by Hindu "spiritual ambassadors," and its growing phenomenon in physical fitness.

I HAVE NO IDEA IF GEORGE ALEXANDER IS A CHRISTIAN OR A HINDU AND WHETHER OR NOT HE WAS OBJECTIVE WHEN HE WROTE THIS BOOK. I'LL FIND OUT NEXT MONTH.

BTW/BRONWEN,

SINCE YOU AREN'T BRINGING ANYTHING NEW TO THIS TOPIC AND REFUSE TO DISCUSS THE ISSUE AT HAND, I WILL NO LONGER BE RESPONDING TO YOUR POSTS. I JUST RECENTLY LEARNED A FEW THINGS ABOUT YOU AND I THINK I KNOW WHAT YOUR AGENDA IS AND FRANKLY, I'M NOT INTERESTED IN FULFILLING YOUR NEEDS. I WILL ONLY RESPOND TO POSTS BY INDIVIDUALS WHO WANT TO DISCUSS THE FACTS OR THEIR OPINIONS REGARDING THIS ISSUE.
Bronwen
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Yoga against Christianity

Post by Bronwen »

rainbowsmiles wrote: SINCE YOU AREN'T BRINGING ANYTHING NEW TO THIS TOPIC AND REFUSE TO DISCUSS THE ISSUE AT HAND, I WILL NO LONGER BE RESPONDING TO YOUR POSTS. I JUST RECENTLY LEARNED A FEW THINGS ABOUT YOU AND I THINK I KNOW WHAT YOUR AGENDA IS AND FRANKLY, I'M NOT INTERESTED IN FULFILLING YOUR NEEDS. I WILL ONLY RESPOND TO POSTS BY INDIVIDUALS WHO WANT TO DISCUSS THE FACTS OR THEIR OPINIONS REGARDING THIS ISSUE.Sweetheart, you need some therapy.

Incidentally, "Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox", as he insists on being called, is a renegade priest and general nutcase who has, among other things, set up several silly websites extolling himself as everything short of the second coming of Christ.

The fact that smiley here cites him as an expert - on anything - is highly significant.
rainbowsmiles
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Yoga against Christianity

Post by rainbowsmiles »

^ :wah: Everytime I see the word yoda I think of star wars :wah: I've never seen the darn movie and yet I know who yoda is - go figure.

This information was just sent to me by the staff over at classicalyoga.org

The following is some factual information about the true nature of Yoga; i.e., the many, progressive spiritual/religious disciplines of the Hindu religion. Note: the word "Yoga" and all terms associated with these teachings and practices are of the Sanskrit language.



San’skrit n. The ancient language of the Hindus ... [From: Webster’s Dictionary]

yo’ga n. [Sanskrit lit. union] Hinduism ... [From Webster’s]

yo’ga: oneness of Atman and Brahman. [From: A Dictionary of Sanskrit Names] This is the true definition of the Sanskrit word "yoga."

at’man n. (Skr. atman breath, self) Hinduism ... [From Webster’s]

Brah’ma n. Hindu Religion ... [From Webster’s]

Yoga (yo’ga) (Skt.,=union) general term for spiritual disciplines in Hinduism ... [From Columbia Encyclopedia Sixth Edition 2000]

yoga: a Hindu system ...

yoga: a system of Hindu religious philosophy ... [Thorndike Barnhardt Comprehensive Desk

Dictionary]

yoga: a Hindu discipline ...

The Yoga System: One of the Six Acceptable Systems of Hindu Philosophy [From a secular book on comparative religions: Religions of Man Macmillan Co., 1969, 202-203.]

The first recorded evidence of the word “yoga” is found in the Vedas: “Seers of the vast illumined Seer yogically control their minds and intelligence.” Rig Veda V.81.

Ve’da n. (Skr. knowledge, sacred lore.) The most ancient sacred literature of the Hindus.

[From: Webster]

"Hinduism speaks of many different methods or paths to reach God. Of them four are considered major paths: (1) Bhakti Yoga--the path of devotion, (2) Jnana Yoga--the path of rational inquiry, (3) Raja Yoga--the path of mental concentration, and (4) Karma Yoga--the path of right action." (Bhaskarananda, Swami, The Essentials of Hinduism, Washington, Viveka Press, 1994, 115.)

Hatha Yoga is, of course, no exception to the indisputable fact of the Yoga/Hindu connection.

Many of the postures are worshipful poses (asanas) only to the Hindu Deities such as:

Matsyendrasana, Krounchasana, Surya Namaskar and Hanumanasana dedicated to the Hindu Spiritual Beings Siva, Muruga, Vishnu and Hanuman, respectively.

The popular Aum chant is fully described in the Hindu scriptures and is synonymous with the Hindu Deity Ganesha.

In an effort to instill common sense and respect for the specific spiritual practices of the many great religions of the world, it is a fact that there is not one mention of the word "yoga" in the Torah, Bible or Koran. Of course, all aspects of Yoga are fully detailed in the numerous Hindu scriptures and taught within Hindu Temples and organizations by qualified teachers.

The historical, extremist terrorism against Hindus/Hinduism is well documented. Unfortunately these incursions (in various forms) are as alive today as they were 2,000 years ago.



Since all of Yoga is Hinduism, it is only common sense and a sign of respect that the genuine teacher of any aspect of yoga be a qualified Hindu (Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, sects of Hinduism, may also ethically teach). Also since all of Yoga is about the religious/spiritual teachings and practices of the Hindu religion, it is highly unethical to charge money for any form of Yoga service. No religion charges money for its basic spiritual/religious services.

No religion charges money for its basic spiritual/religious services.


I wonder if I went back to Lifetime fitness and used this information if I'd get a refund for those yoga classes I took. :wah:
Bronwen
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Yoga against Christianity

Post by Bronwen »

rainbowsmiles wrote: The Catholic Church has made it clear that their followers are not to take part in the practice of yoga but other Christian leaders say differently.

Any opinions?Yes. You're a complete idiot. Of course, that's just my opinion, as you requested.

The Catholic Church has NOT made that clear, nothing you have posted here supports that claim and in fact, the letter you keep referring to actually goes in the other direction, saying that there is much of value and benefit to Christians in the teachings of other religions. Anyone who doesn't believe that need only go back and read it.

What on earth are you trying to prove here? What a waste of web space.
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Suresh Gupta
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Yoga against Christianity

Post by Suresh Gupta »

I am surprised that there are people who think that Yoga is against Christianity, or against any religion or belief. Yog means 'to join'.
Spread love not hate

Suresh Gupta

http://www.betterlife4all.com

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