View Full Version : Is Yoga Unchristian?


Mathom
31-08-2007, 07:29
This tale amused me:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=478755&in_page_id=1770&in_page_id=1770&expand=true#StartComments

A 'yummy mummy' has been barred from holding yoga classes for toddlers in two church halls in Taunton because apparently Yoga is Unchristian.

Now while part of me cheers because I'm beginning to get fed up with all this trendy Yoga and yoghurt knitting stuff shoved at mums, I'm also a bit annoyed at these vicars and their bizarre old fashioned attitude. Isn't Yoga these days just another form of exercise? I could understand is they were doing classes in Transcendental Meditation but it's just Yoga for kids. And what exercise would be Christian? Self-flagellation classes? Advanced genuflexion? ;)

The comments from readers are also funny - some of them sound like they live in the US Bible belt, not the UK ;)

Becky B
31-08-2007, 09:36
After I picked myself up off the floor laughing, I have to say it just confirms my views of the Christian church.
Yoga is based on a different philosophy, so obviously it is bad - most monotheistic religions claim you'll be damned if you don't believe in their particular god.
Narrow minded doesn't even come close :) I wonder if they also think she should be at home looking after her kids and be seen and not heard :hihi:
I like your alternative ideas, Mathom

RiffRaff
31-08-2007, 09:40
It certainly made me swear in a rather un-Christianlike fashion when I tried it!

Tinkerbell G
31-08-2007, 09:43
Always thought the 'war on terror' was a Christian plot to eliminate Yoga. My worst fears confirmed! :o

pk014b7161
31-08-2007, 10:08
i hope he didn,t lead boo boo astray

poppins
31-08-2007, 11:22
Would have made a better photo if she had shaved under her arms properly :gag:

BasilRathbon
31-08-2007, 11:25
I don't understand - wasn't Yoga a character in Star Wars?

plekhanov
31-08-2007, 11:27
I once read an article about some Buddhist monk who did a marathon every day as a religious act, I wonder if this Minister was aware of that if he'd conclude that long distance running is 'unchristian'?

Just because yoga is used by many branches of the dharmic religion that doesn't mean that it's inherently religious.

poppins
31-08-2007, 11:27
I don't understand - wasn't Yoga a character in Star Wars?


:hihi: Yoda

Mathom
31-08-2007, 11:30
I don't understand - wasn't Yoga a character in Star Wars?

That was of course Yoda, though he does bear an uncanny wrinkled resemblance to Yoga fan Madonna these days ;)

I wonder if these churches also chuck out the Christmas tree, Holly, Santa and other trankelments round Christmas time, being that they are 'sinister' Pagan influences?

upinwath
31-08-2007, 11:39
Thank christ it wasn't a mosque. :hihi:

Heyesey
31-08-2007, 11:41
I wonder if these churches also chuck out the Christmas tree, Holly, Santa and other trankelments round Christmas time, being that they are 'sinister' Pagan influences?


The more serious ones do try, but they're fighting a losing battle and have been for two thousand years.


The condemnation of vicars such as these, is always founded on the assumption that they're wrong, and that faith in Jesus is not the only way to a better life. Since they believe that it is, they must, necessarily, refuse to condone any actions that go against that philosophy.

Anyone who is truly a Christian, would refuse to have anything whatsoever to do with Yoga; but most people who claim to be Christians don't take it remotely that seriously.

Mathom
31-08-2007, 11:44
However Christianity is a real mongrel religion that drew in influences from many others (Judaism and Mithraism for starters) so *is* there any true Christian way that involves not taking in aspects of other religions? How can any vicar or priest say that their way is the right way?

Heyesey
31-08-2007, 11:47
However Christianity is a real mongrel religion that drew in influences from many others (Judaism and Mithraism for starters) so *is* there any true Christian way that involves not taking in aspects of other religions?


I didn't say it made sense. I said that if someone BELIEVES it makes sense, they have a moral obligation to persuade as many people as possible of the fact, to save them from eternal damnation.

Any who claims to be a Christian and doesn't go out preaching at every possible opportunity, is not following his religion.

Mathom
31-08-2007, 11:59
I didn't say it made sense. I said that if someone BELIEVES it makes sense, they have a moral obligation to persuade as many people as possible of the fact, to save them from eternal damnation.

Any who claims to be a Christian and doesn't go out preaching at every possible opportunity, is not following his religion.

That's the most annoying thing about some followers, that they take the 'evangelising' thing to that degree. It seems to act as justification for spouting lots of hateful stuff. :( Not all are like that though I hasten to add ;)

JoeP
31-08-2007, 12:01
Heyesey,

I rarely get in to these debates, but I think you should read more in depth before telling me I'm not a Christian because I don't proselytise at every opportunity.

There are several orders of Monks and Nuns who don't proselytise, but choose to let their devotions and their work in their community bear witness to their faith. I think you may have a simplistic view of Christianity, but, that's up to you.

As for this particular case - I personally don't practise Yoga but am aware of it's origins as a spiritual practice in both Hinduism and Buddhism. As a form of physical meditation I don't see a problem, and the meditative tradition has been in Chrisitianity since it's beginnings. Most westerners practice Yoga from a secular viewpoint anyway.

It's rather up to the Vicar involved, but I do feel he's being rather OTT here.

Heyesey
31-08-2007, 12:01
That's the most annoying thing about some followers, that they take the 'evangelising' thing to that degree. It seems to act as justification for spouting lots of hateful stuff. :(


It HAS to. If I thought your lifestyle would cost you an eternal place at God's side, I'd do absolutely anything possible to convince you of the fact. Anything less would be to condemn you to a fate infinitely worse than mere death.

Bago
31-08-2007, 16:41
Actually, I do agree with the Priest here. I think if his action will make people think about their own faith and religion, then maybe this is not a bad thing overall ?

First of all, the origin of yoga *is* from a religion. For someone to take that and to change it into a physical sport, or exercise is the debate here.

Maybe it's the term "yoga" that is being used. A lot of derivation of exercises from yoga have been called something else. e.g. pilates, alexander techniques... numerous and various naming convention which pay respects to the original term. Without defacing the original meaning. Call me old skool, but I think that it is a basic respect to religion.

It does seem somewhat unChristian for the priest to decide this, but then again, he has the reputation of his own parish to withold. Which is that, there should not be another religion being practised within a religious ground. I am fairly certain that even if the facilities are open for community used, there would be strict rules that goes with it. What was the woman thinking?

Yes, I am not a Christian, I would undertand this point too. Not all churches may be like that, but if you are in the church, then surely you would follow the religious ethos as stated and not kick off?? :confused: I do not see it as unreasonable.

If the church allows it, it is down to their discretion. I do not understand why the woman thinks that she has ultimate right to do so?

Heyesey
31-08-2007, 17:32
Heyesey,

I rarely get in to these debates, but I think you should read more in depth before telling me I'm not a Christian because I don't proselytise at every opportunity.

I was baptised in the spirit twenty years ago, and I used to know the Bible inside out. I *do* know whereof I speak, thank you.

Wildcat
31-08-2007, 19:32
Actually, I do agree with the Priest here. I think if his action will make people think about their own faith and religion, then maybe this is not a bad thing overall ?

First of all, the origin of yoga *is* from a religion. For someone to take that and to change it into a physical sport, or exercise is the debate here.

<snip>

Yoga predates Hinduism as some of its positions are seen in pictures from the Indus Valley civilisation. Even in Hinduism it is associated mostly with Samkhya a tradition that makes no reference to Gods.

Bago
31-08-2007, 20:17
Yoga predates Hinduism as some of its positions are seen in pictures from the Indus Valley civilisation. Even in Hinduism it is associated mostly with Samkhya a tradition that makes no reference to Gods.
Are you sure that it is "yoga" ? Or is it just an English word to generalise the kind of exercises used in various religion in one form or another?

Incense burning had been about using it to worship the dead. Yet, in the translation of culture, it became potpurri in the new age of modernism. I cringe when I see that. I guess if individuals cannot see the association or relate to it, then it doesn't really matter to themselves. Yet, they cannot really dictate how others should or shouldn't, right? I do feel that the priest has a right in this instance though tbh.

Just for my own understanding really. Do you disagree with the priests' action?

Grahame
31-08-2007, 21:10
“Is Yoga unchristian?”

Well it isn’t Christianity so it must be (un)christian.

Is Yoga harmful to the body? No, and can be very beneficial

Is Yoga harmful to the mind? Meditation is good it all depends what you let your mind dwell on. Are you meditating on chess openings, child care, a research project you are involved in, or your next terrorist attack?

Here are some example mantras I found on the net and people spend an inordinate amount of time meditating on these. Years ago a work colleague told me the mantra he had been given was "frying pan!" I kid you not. As to whether they are useful, harmful, or beneficial then you are the best judges.

'Om and salutations to the remover of obstacles for which Gum is the seed.'

'Om and salutations to that feminine energy which bestows all manner of wealth, and for which Shrim is the seed'

'Om and Salutations to that feminine energy which protects from all manner of negative influences, and for which Dum is the seed.'

'Om and salutations to that feminine energy which informs all artistic and scholastic endeavor, and for which Eim (pronounced I'm) is the seed.'

http://www.sanskritmantra.com/simple.htm


Personally I would rather meditate on the love of God and all it means. If I were an unbeliever I would like to be thinking positive thoughts that might bring a degree of peace, help, and joy into peoples lives.

Sheffette
31-08-2007, 21:37
I think the vicar is being a little extreme here. I'm going to weigh in with what JoeP says, that ok, Christians are encouraged to evangelise but they're not supposed to see everyone as, as Adrian Plass puts it "some sort of spiritual scalp." Sometimes just trying to do the right thing can be as good a demonstration of Christian living as button-holing some poor fellow who happened to cross your path, minding his own business and unaware that you were "ablaze for the Lord" lol.
I knew a lovely chap years ago, a Christian, who practised yoga techniques as a form of meditation to meditate on his faith. I can't see anything wrong in that.
Perhaps if this vicar let people use the church hall they might get interested in what goes on in Church? That's got to be better than being held up in the press as a bit of a nutter.

maggi
31-08-2007, 22:44
Crikey! Is it still the 'silly season'? And worse, am I the only person who remembers old news? :rolleyes:

Here's a challenge. I can find this story from :-

October 2002 in The Times (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article818901.ece)
August 2002 in The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,,781721,00.html)
November 2001 in The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/11/21/nyoga21.xml)

and

June 2001 in The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2000/07/08/nyoga08.xml)

Can you find an older one?

(PS I hear that 'Baa, baa black sheep' may be being banned too!)

*Cinderella*
01-09-2007, 08:53
Crikey! Is it still the 'silly season'? And worse, am I the only person who remembers old news? :rolleyes:
Here's a challenge. I can find this story from :-

October 2002 in The Times (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article818901.ece)
August 2002 in The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,,781721,00.html)
November 2001 in The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/11/21/nyoga21.xml)
and
June 2001 in The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2000/07/08/nyoga08.xml)

Can you find an older one?

I can certainly remember one. It was published in the 'News Chronicle' in 1960, and picked up on an earlier report that had been in the 'Catholic Herald'. I am only able to recall the date because it was one of the last issues before the Chronicle sadly merged with the Daily Mail; most Chronicle readers probably transferred their patronage to the (Manchester) Guardian, I know I did.

Plus ça change....

plekhanov
01-09-2007, 10:46
“Is Yoga unchristian?”

Well it isn’t Christianity so it must be (un)christian.
:huh: You can say that pretty much everything 'isn't Christianity' but does that automatically render them 'unchristian'? By your logic playing football or table tennis would also be 'unchristian' and activities which churches shouldn't support.

The minister is clearly claiming that yoga isn't merely not a part of Christianity but that it's antithetical to Christianity, don't you comprehend the difference?

Grahame
01-09-2007, 10:51
Yes and I developed the theme by comparing Yoga with Christianity, or did you not read beyond the first line?

plekhanov
01-09-2007, 10:57
There was nothing in the rest of your post which in anyway stopped your premise from being fundamentally flawed.

Grahame
01-09-2007, 11:38
There was nothing in the rest of your post which in anyway stopped your premise from being fundamentally flawed.

And my premise was what precisely?

plekhanov
01-09-2007, 12:37
And my premise was what precisely?
:huh: What you can't recall what you posted a little further up the page? To remind you:

“Is Yoga unchristian?”

Well it isn’t Christianity so it must be (un)christian.
By redefining 'unchristian' in such a way you are going against both the commonly accepted definition:

Of an action, institution, etc.: at variance with Christian principles,

And also against the way in which the minister who's narrow mindedness is described in the article used the term.

Bago
01-09-2007, 15:03
A member of a religion entity is in not so many words, saying to a member of the public, "please do not practise another religion on Christian grounds where we try to practise Christianity only".

Is that not fair enough?

Why is it then deduced that this Christian figure be a representative of all churches and all Christians?? :confused:

Does self altruism and free will not count any more? Even one or two article has mentioned that other priests practises yoga in their own home as a form of exercise. Yet, it is not always seen as such, and if it isn't, then it is not under the discretionary of the church to have the final say?

It's interesting to see that there seems to be some kind of consistencies within all the other articles that were posted about not allowing another religion to be practised in church.

Maybe the media should not be a stirrer in such situations. I find it informative to know that is how it is for churches. If I was in the priests' shoes, I too would insist on this aspect too.

plekhanov
01-09-2007, 15:14
It would be fair enough if the yoga enthusiast in question was seeking to 'practise another religion' as she wasn't the minister just made himself look small minded & rather silly.

Bago
01-09-2007, 15:20
I think it is petty of the yoga enthusiast to not understand that others may not see it as mere exercise, and she is enforcing someone to break what seems to be an ever so important point in religion too. Where is her respect to the priest or his parish?

Is it like asking an Iman in a mosque to accept a pork burgar van on the religious ground for car parking purposes, just because there is a football ground nearby or something.

plekhanov
01-09-2007, 15:27
I think it is petty of the yoga enthusiast to not understand that others may not see it as mere exercise, and she is enforcing someone to break what seems to be an ever so important point in religion too. Where is her respect to the priest or his parish?

Is it like asking an Iman in a mosque to accept a pork burgar van on the religious ground for car parking purposes, just because there is a football ground nearby or something.
She didn't try to 'enforce' anything on anybody she asked to use the hall when she was refused she moved on & found an alternative venue.

Bago
01-09-2007, 15:54
She didn't try to 'enforce' anything on anybody she asked to use the hall when she was refused she moved on & found an alternative venue.
Why did the papers get hold of he story, and why did she chose to give an input instead of saying a more diplomatic word on the matter? There is no point putting the priest down. She could've asked a mere "why" and maybe get her answer. Then again, the priests should've explained more clearly.

Grahame
01-09-2007, 16:01
The OP asked the question, “Is Yoga Unchristian?”

"The practical aspects of Yoga play a more important part than does its intellectual content, which is largely based on the philosophy of Saṃkhyā (q.v.), with the exception that Yoga assumes the existence of God, who is the model for the aspirant to spiritual release. Yoga holds with Saṃkhyā that the achievement of spiritual liberation occurs when the self (purusha) is freed from the bondages of matter (prakriti) that have resulted because of ignorance and illusion."

(Is this Christian?…No.)


"Sanskrit: “Union of Force”), a school of Indian philosophy that stresses mastery of the body as a way of attaining spiritual perfection. It is an outgrowth of the Yoga school of Indian philosophy. Haṭha Yoga traces its origins to Gorakhnāth, the legendary 12th-century founder of the Kānphaṭa Yogīs."

(Is this Christian?…No.)


"The typical Hindu ascetic (sadhu) usually wears a distinctive mark (puṇḍra) on his forehead and often carries some symbol of his religion.
If he is a Vaishnava he might possess a discus (chakra) and a conch shell (saṅkha), replicas of Vishnu's flaming weapon and his instrument of beneficent power and omnipresent protection, or a śālagrāma stone or a tulasi plant, which represent, respectively, Vishnu's essence and that of his spouse Lakṣmī. If he is a Śaiva, he might impersonate Śiva and carry a trident (triśūla), denoting empire and the irresistible force of transcendental reality; wear a small lingam; carry a human skull, showing that he is beyond the terror inspired by the transitoriness of the world; or smear his body with apotropaic (supposed to avert evil) and consecratory ashes. These emblems are sacred objects of worship because the divine presence, when invoked by mantras, is felt to be in them."

(Is this Christian?...No.)


"The one religious consequence of the Sāṃkhya-Yoga is an emphasis on austere asceticism and a turning away from the ritualistic elements of Hinduism deriving from the Brahmanical sources. Though they continue to remain as an integral part of the Hindu faith, no major religious order thrived on the basis of these philosophies."

(Is this Christian?...No)

Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)


There is the answer.

Wildcat
01-09-2007, 16:12
Are you sure that it is "yoga" ? Or is it just an English word to generalise the kind of exercises used in various religion in one form or another?

Incense burning had been about using it to worship the dead. Yet, in the translation of culture, it became potpurri in the new age of modernism. I cringe when I see that. I guess if individuals cannot see the association or relate to it, then it doesn't really matter to themselves. Yet, they cannot really dictate how others should or shouldn't, right? I do feel that the priest has a right in this instance though tbh.

Just for my own understanding really. Do you disagree with the priests' action?

My reference for info on Yoga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga) and Samkyha (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samkhya) was primarily wikipedia.

I am sure incense was used to make rooms\huts smell nice before it acquired any religious significance.

The priest has every right, he does however look a fool when it gets plastered all over the media, because lots of people do Yoga and pilates and stuff without any religious references.

Just because it isn't in the bible doesn't make it unchristian. I don't believe there is any reference to Jam making in the scriptures for example.

Grahame
01-09-2007, 16:20
My reference for info on Yoga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga) and Samkyha (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samkhya) was primarily wikipedia.

I am sure incense was used to make rooms\huts smell nice before it acquired any religious significance.

The priest has every right, he does however look a fool when it gets plastered all over the media, because lots of people do Yoga and pilates and stuff without any religious references.

Just because it isn't in the bible doesn't make it unchristian. I don't believe there is any reference to Jam making in the scriptures for example.


Except Jam making is not a recognised religion.

Spaghetti making might be a religion though? :D

maggi
06-09-2007, 23:58
I can certainly remember one. It was published in the 'News Chronicle' in 1960, and picked up on an earlier report that had been in the 'Catholic Herald'. I am only able to recall the date because it was one of the last issues before the Chronicle sadly merged with the Daily Mail; most Chronicle readers probably transferred their patronage to the (Manchester) Guardian, I know I did.

Ah, the progress we make in 50 years.

Plus ça change....

...plus c’est la même chose

*Cinderella* PM me your email :)

maggi
07-09-2007, 00:05
Spaghetti making might be a religion though? :D

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster) is certainly a deity of sorts.