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Church Yoga

Add yoga postures to keep congregants engaged, fit
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(+6, -1)
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When I am in my normal, waking, walking state you could not get me to hold still for two minutes to listen to someone talk about the "inner light of my being" and so forth. But in a yoga class, when I am all relaxed, alert, and feeling good (not to mention twisted into a pretzel), it suddenly sounds quite reasonable.

So why don't traditional churches/synagogues/etc. add stretching poses into their services? The free fitness component would attract a younger crowd, and they would be more receptive to the religious message because of that temporary feeling of oneness with the universe. Not to mention the amusement value of seeing so many straight-laced types in their Sunday best trying to balance on one foot, breathe through one nostril, etc.

The Christian tradition has some elements in common with the yogic tradition, for example fasting, silence, meditation, and doing exercises (such as labyrinth-walking) to calm the mind. Surely this would not be such a stretch...

magrak, May 10 2002

I quite like this thought! http://www.coventga..._pauls_animals.html
she says going off at a bit of a tangent - nothing new there [po, May 10 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

... and then there is always this one.. http://www.clowns-i...o.uk/Our.Church.htm
wake you up quite probably... [po, May 10 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Mephista http://www.coolfren...cs.com/mephista.htm
My source for the "female embodiment of evil" bit. Not bad lookin', though. [waugsqueke, May 10 2002]

Yoga vs Christianity http://www.rapidnet...Psychology/yoga.htm
[Helium, May 11 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       Last 50 times I went to church, I fell asleep - why bother, huh
thumbwax, May 10 2002

       And Mephista, the female embodiment of evil, leaps like a tiger at the slightest opportunity to claw Christianity to shreds...
waugsqueke, May 10 2002

       Problems arise when you start trying to incorporate concepts from other religions into Christianity. You might as well ask Christians to get their excercise by bowing to a golden cow. Yoga was born of another religion (see link). And the meditation involved is on a spiritual level.   

       That is the reason why I boldly fishboned where no man has fishboned before.
Helium, May 11 2002

       //so that the soul could be freed//   

       You are still entering into spiritual realms. You become what you feed your mind, body, and soul.   

       From my experience, taking care of animals does not involve meditation and emptying of the mind to create a window for other forces to enter, no conflict there.   

       Meditate: to reflect deeply on spiritual matters, especially as a religious act.   

       If you do a search you will see there is already much debate about this subject. In these parts, I have yet to see a church that allows yoga classes under it's roof.
Helium, May 11 2002

       Every culture has its own form of religion. For instance, The first woman is associated with a snake. Worshipped and revered because he once destroyed the earth in a great flood is someone by the name of Olokun - the woman's name is Abuk. Who? Bet some folks thought it was only referencing the names of God or Eve.

What I'm speaking of is African Traditional Religion which missionaries sought to destroy. Many years later - in 1967, Pope Paul VI issued a papal encyclical, Africae Terrarum. In a previously unprecendented show of pluralism, he contended:

Many customs and rites, once considered to be strange are seen today, in the light of ethnological science, as integral parts of various social systems, worthy of study and commanding respect. In this regard, we think it profitable to dwell on some general ideas which typify ancient African religious cultures because we think their moral and religious values deserving of attentive consideration.

He did so because though Africans also worshipped minor gods (beneath Olokun, and much like Zeus in Greek Mythology), and retain a polytheistic tradition that, in some ways, is directly opposed to Christianity - they share many traits with other cultures religions, including the aforementioned Christianity, obviously Catholicism and Judaism.

Religion, or lack of participation in it is an individual choice - even in the smallest of towns there may be 5 churches preaching different ways to go to heaven or hell. Even within one's own congregation or synagogue, let alone family - one will have an ever-so-slightly different view.

Each individual, additionally, holds his or her own sense of chi, or destiny. One who put himself in peril of the eyes of his followers and detractors was Pope Pius XII - In his Summi Pontifacatus, he put forth a then-radical piece of doctrine:

The Church from the beginning down to our time has always followed this wise practice: let not the Gospel, in being introduced into any new land, destroy or extinguish whatever its people posses that is naturally good, just or beautiful.

Some might say Liberal pontiffs such as Pius XII and Paul VI were, by no means, completely enlightened. Their writings reflect a distinctly absolute, Christian morality. Just as the liberal popes of the reformation advanced Catholicism into a marginally progressive entity, these popes advanced the churches stance from the cultural imperialism of the early 20th century to the celebration of diversity characterizing the early 21st century.

My Fiancee is Buddhist - My best friends? One is Catholic, One is an Atheist, one is Molokan - I suppose the best way to describe Molokans is Russian Mennonites or Quakers - they certainly have the best weddings - I've been to 4 Molokan weddings, incidentally, the three best friends and I grew up in a very small town of 1,500 lost and found souls. The Atheists wife spent her formative years in a very, very Communist household - she practices yoga thrice weekly and is all the better for it.

I am not Catholic, nor am I of African descent - nor do I practice African or any other religion, should one choose to categorize. I was raised first a Presbyterian, then a Baptist, now I am a practicing Guitarist - it's as close to God as I've ever been.
thumbwax, May 11 2002

       Problems arise when some think it's Cleaveland.
thumbwax, May 11 2002

       Hey Helium, lighten up! "Problems arise when you start trying to incorporate concepts from other religions into Christianity". I think just the opposite. Christians have been doing this forever, that's why there are hundreds of Christian sects, and that's OK. Don't be afraid.   

       You say "I have yet to see a church that allows yoga classes under it's roof." Ooops! Wrong again! My church has a Hatha Yoga class and many others. Do a search: Susan Bordenkircher teaches Christian yoga in Alabama, Dayna Gelinas' teaches Christian yoga in Georgia. Many others.
musicator, Mar 19 2004

       Well lets face it..... incorporating bits of other religions into Christianity is not a new thing. Christmas tree's came from a pagan tradition of taking the good spirit of the forest into your house over christmas. Harvest festivals come from traditional pagan practices. But the reason for so many sects of Christianity is primarily due to political, selfish and theological reasons and only secondary to the incorporation of cultural elements. The Church of England was formed because Henry VIII (thats Henry the 8th the english monarch not the eighth part of a saga of films called Henry - just for the americans - ONLY JOKING PLEASE DONT FLAME ME) wanted a divorce. The Eastern Orthodox church came into being, to a large extent, from the split in the Roman Empire. The protestant churches were because of the theological views of guys like Martin Luther (nope not the black civil rights campaigner (although he is an important guy and probably shouldn't be insulted in this way) - the other one), John Calvin and Wesley (the bloke who founded the methodist movement). And anyway the church I go to (very traditional anglo-catholic cathedral church) puts on guided meditation sessions run my budhists so this isn't new, original or even contraversial. Anyway I will stop now, I can't even remember what the original subject was or the point I was trying to make was, so I will get back to work.
The(n)iceman, Mar 24 2004

       DOH - I typed "run my budhists" and it should have been "run BY budhists" - so not only do I waffle on a lot about nothing in particular I can't type either.
The(n)iceman, Mar 24 2004


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