This is an excerpt from canaanland(the bookstore) which they excerpt from NECF. A good short piece on yoga practice. Research deeper if you want (it'll be good for your knowledge for further debate too haha) and for some humor look at end of post.


Many view yoga as a form of exercise to strengthen and improve their muscles and breathing as well as to relax their mind, thus keeping them good health. But why has it become such a big issue to certain religious groups? The bone of contention seems to be the meditation techniques – or “curbing the mind” as some call it. While it has been argued that these techniques are scientifically proven to improve one’s health and have nothing to do with religion, yogis – practitioners of yoga who have reached an advanced spiritual state – think otherwise. They are adamant that yoga, regardless of how it is branded, is Hinduism.

Within the Christian community, yoga too has been a controversial subject – some have reservations while others see nothing wrong as long as those who practise do not deviate from Christian faith. Rev. Dr Herman Shastri, the General Secretary of the Malaysian Council of Churches, opined that it was all right so long as Christians do not pray “to other Gods while practising yoga” (The Star, 31/10/08). However, some Christians disagree, and like the yogis, they firmly believe that yoga cannot be separated from its Hindu roots even if one takes away the spiritual underpinning and practises only the physical exercises.

Still others hold that yoga can surely be redeemed for God’s good purposes because our God is a redemptive God. A growing interest in Christian Yoga was thus developed, particularly in America, replacing Hindu spirituality and philosophy with Christian spirituality and theories. Such concept, nonetheless, did not go down well with certain groups.

The American Hindu Foundation, in its response to an article “Stretching for Jesus” featured in Time magazine (25 Aug. 2005), commented, “Hindu Americans are rightfully outraged by the brazen appropriation of one of their vibrant faith’s most lasting contributions to this country’s health, well-being and popular culture.” It called Christian Yoga an act of “intellectual property theft” and accused evangelical Christians of proselytising and converting Hindus in the guise of Christianised Hindu practices. Some Christians who formerly practised yoga think that Christian Yoga is an oxymoron.

In actual fact, Christian yoga, according to Dr Ng Kam Weng, director of Kairos Research Centre, fails to understand how yoga meditative exercises (especially the breathing techniques and the mantra chanting) work to disrupt our mental function. Change of name does not change the process, he says.

Yoga is an ancient practice that originated from India. The goal of the practitioners is to achieve oneness or union with the Absolute through physical and mental disciplines. Dr Ng emphasises that one must keep in mind the historical connection between yoga and Hinduism and how such practices are traditionally integrated with its own philosophy and spiritual worldview. The physical exercises are merely initial steps to prepare oneself to become more attuned to a higher reality.

Perhaps the question for many Christians would be: Is it possible to separate the physical exercise from the spiritual aspect?


Asanas Yoga
There are apparently two ways of performing this type of yoga:
1. India - Very hard. Years of practice required.
2. Australia - Very Easy. No practice required.


1 comment:

Joleen said...

lol. so hard hahaha