Monday, October 17, 2005

my body's a temple...oof

In New Yoga Classes, Poses and Prayer - New York Times

i blogged about this before: christians practicing yoga. now that i've been taking yoga at work for the past few weeks i don't see what the big deal is.

for the critics of people of faith doing yoga i have to ask: have you tried it? have you tried to do a sun salutation when you can't touch the floor, inhale deeply and put your right knee on the mat behind you while lifting your hands above your head at the same time?

because if you haven't, let me tell you something - it's effing hard.

people worried about the 'sinfulness' of yoga (because of some weird ideas about meditation) need to know that yoga is effing HARD. you're too busy trying to hold the pose, control your breathing, wondering why the backs of your knees are sweating and trying not to vomit to worry about letting satan in.

frankly, if anyone (christian or not) can scrape up a little time to concentrate on hinduistic thought or a jesus meditation in the middle of your cobra pose, good on ya.

you're clearly more flexible than i am.


LutheranChik said...

I think there's just a lot of xenophobia in some Christian circles: "If we didn't invent it, it must be bad."

ding said...

exactly. and if we relaxed just a teeny bit we'd be less ... weird. i mean, not that it's bad to be weird, but do we have to be weird about everything?

(being 'called out of the world and all that...)

Nicole said...

I actually took an entire course on examining eastern ideas, philosophies, meditation, from a pscyhological and Christian context.

I have to say, that after my class, I am actually more conservative than I was going in. (And I'm not typically conservative) Mainly because the practitioners and teachers of Yoga I interviewed were looking to "convert" so to speak, one even said, "plant a seed" to yogic ways of thinking.

Some forms of yoga are more benign than others. For example, kundalini yoga, it's poses, and the practice alone have had some pretty harrowing effects on individuals.

But, say, the yoga class offered at my Christian college at the workout facility, not likely to be a problem, in my opinion.

Yoga is based on aligning your energy chakras, you chi, and all this other stuff, which I think is a lot of hooha. I don't tend to participate in things I think are hooha. And I can do a lot of the physical things of yoga, but not in a yogic context, and get the same benefits. I'm more likely to do that.

To summarize, I would/would not take a 'yoga' class based on who's teaching it and their philosophies knowing what I know from my studies.

ding said...

absolutely right - i'm not advocating doing something just because. generally, most of us think of yoga as a fitness practice and i don't think there's anything wrong with thinking of it as such. and i think that most of us are smart enough to separate the hoohah from the rest.

for instance: i love shiatsu massages. ooh, they are so good. traditional shiatsu is also based on the ideas of chi or chakras; the practitioner uses their knowledge of chi to unblock parts, hoohah hoohah. do i believe in chakras/chi? not really. all i know is that a tiny japanese woman can move me around like a sack of rice and make my bad knees better and improve the circulation in my legs.

do i go into the room, undress, listen to the tinkling water and close my eyes and rest, as she instructs me? yes. it's relaxing and i'm one stressed out ding. do i think of it as meditation? not really.

but i'm interested in knowing those practices in yoga that are damaging. i'm curious.