more from the “yoga is evil” battle front thanks to a link on souljerky…
“Children’s yoga classes have been banned from two church halls in Somerset, by vicars who regard the practice as “un-Christian”. ‘Yoga impinges on the spiritual life of people in a way which we as Christians don’t believe is the same as our ethos,’ said the Rev Simon Farrar.
I’m a yoga devotee, but I can understand Mr Farrar’s position. If he wants the kiddies of Somerset to grow into passive, faithful churchgoers, he’s right to keep them away from the ancient Hindu art of self-realisation….
…In Hindu mythology, yoga was developed by Shiva, the maverick, dreadlocked god of destruction and regeneration. He renounced the world and sat atop mount Kailash, manipulating his body in 8,400,000 postures, to reveal the basic animal instincts and desires that motivate us. Shiva was an outsider who refused to fit into mainstream society, cultivating his innate individuality instead, and yoga became the practice of rebels and nonconformists throughout Indian history.”
I love the comment about the early yogis being the nonconformists of Hindu society because if you read my post about my California training, Stephen Cope emphasized that the renouncers of the Hindu rituals, the sramanas, starting from the 8th Century BC to the 2nd century CE, used their own bodies and minds as laboratories for the direct experience of yoga and for the research on the nondualism of body and mind.
The actions of the sramanas were similar to that of Martin Luther when he told the Catholic Church, in essence, “I don’t need a priest to be the intermediary between me and the Divine.” In the same way the sramanas told the Brahmin priests “we don’t need your fire rituals and sacrifices to know the Divine.” Iconoclasts and rebels, I love it. By the way, I’m a very lapsed Lutheran. and always the rebel.
The author of the Guardian article finally asks, “Who knows what dangerous urges the Rev Farrar has repressed with his Anglican dogma, which might gush forth with a mere sun-salutation? Perhaps it’s not yoga that scares him, but what it might release within himself.”
What indeed makes someone so fearful of the unknown and the unfamiliar, whether it is within us or out there? Once I gave a cloth painting of Durga to the owner of the yoga studio where I used to teach because she said she wanted something that expressed “strong feminine energy.” She returned it to me within a week because she said that two students complained about it — two out of over 100 students that attended the studio every week. They told the owner they were “Christian” and the painting of Ma Durga made them “uncomfortable” because it was “Hindu.” sigh…it’s always the few….
No one tied them up, taped their eyes open, and made them stare at Durga the same way Malcolm McDowell was forced to watch graphic violence in A Clockwork Orange. I have never been to a yoga studio where anyone was forced to chant those evil MAN-tras to Vishnu and Krishna, those MAN-tras that strike fear in the heart of Pat Robertson. I wouldn’t go to a studio where anyone forced me to do anything. Apologies to any kundalini yogis out there, but I never went back to a kundalini yoga class because I was told I HAD to wear a white scarf. uh….no thanks.
I have my own opinion about what the owner should have done, but the fact that these women were so fearful of something that was not in their realm of experience gives me pause. Hmmmmm…how would it go over if I walked into a church (my own choice, forced by no one) and told the minister or priest that as a Buddhist, looking at Jesus on the cross bugs me and I want it taken down. I would probably be politely told, “get over it. this is a church. this is what we do.”
Be afraid. be very afraid. yoga might make you think.