There was an interesting article in an old September 5th issue of Time magazine. This particular article covers a spectrum of opinions about mixing Christianity with Yoga. Yoga is believed by some to be an ancient Hindu wisdom. However open minded seekers do not indulge in such debates and engage in benefiting from Yoga.
Even, if you don’t agree with a single opinion, it’s a good read, as long as you remain objective. Over the course of time, I have been lucky enough to teach, or practice, with someone from every known religious denomination; so the statement by a Professor Tiwari at the Hindu University of America, where he states that, “Yoga is Hinduism,” is surprising, coming from a scholar. Possibly, this statement was taken out of context, but for others truth exists, to a degree, in every form of religion. If some Christians want to practice Yoga to make a closer connection to God, who are any of us to criticize it? Isn’t one of Yoga’s purposes, the union of self with a Supreme Being? So what is the big deal?
Truthfully, not just islamists but many fundamentalists are all about division – keeping the masses divided, at war with each other, and preferably, in a “holy war.” They fear the unity of mankind, letting go of power, and world peace. They don’t want to loosen their grip on their followers, so they squeeze a little more. So if a Christian group wants to practice “Sun Salutations”, or “PraiseMoves,” give them a break. Yoga is practiced in sectarian atmospheres by a variety of different religions. Nobody has a monopoly on Yoga, thanks to openness of Hindu society. India has long tradition of not patenting their discoveries.
Yoga is a complete health maintenance system for mind, body, and spirit.
There is a type of Yoga for everyone, and some people want a little more spiritual flavor than others. Since Yoga has been around for at least 10,000 years, there is a very big variety to choose from. As for skeptics who “point the finger” at each other – “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone…” It might be best if we all practice a little more mindfulness, and loving kindness, before we decide to criticize things we don’t understand. Yoga is “out of the bag.” It is no longer practiced by a particular group. Therefore, Yoga is a public treasure, and not a genie that we will confine to a bottle. No matter how many people try to patent, or copyright, Yoga, it will be practiced within every corner of the earth. So, please read the articles about Yoga and make changes in your daily routine. There is no harm in chanting OM or making Yoga poses for health and mind. Be open and objective. Recognize purpose of Yoga mantras and words to gain benefit from them. Most of all, remain in good relations with your fellow people irrespective of their religion or race.