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Yoga for Yahoos

No surprise that Christian leaders are disturbed by the rise of yoga practice across the country as a threat to their brand. Both sides are correct and wrong in turn. Sure, it’s not a Christian practice, but silencing the mind has been part of Christian tradition for centuries though no specific physical practice was tied to it. That’s what monasteries and retreats are about. Or Jesus going out into the desert. My grandmother humming vespers while working in the fields of her farm was equally engaged in using the body as a “vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine.”

Christian yoga practitioners are equally wrong in claiming they are simply doing exercises and forgoing meditation. If you want to stretch, then go ahead and stretch, but that's not yoga, so find a different brand. What makes yoga different is precisely the mystical alignment of body and spirit. Those who have chosen to accept the meditative practices and simply adapt them to their own belief systems are closer to the intent of yoga.

However, to fear sudden conversions to the elaborate cosmology of Hinduism is silly. To fear that Christian organized hierarchy is threatened by individual spiritual practices is not. It’s the brand they’re worried about. “We must protect our phoney baloney jobs, gentlemen!” As people discover their own ability to directly experience the divine of whatever sort, they find they really don’t need to pay others to lead them by the nose.


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