Orthodox Thought for the Day


Monday, September 21, 2015

Orthodox Christianity & yoga

Forgive me, please, but I would like to share a bit about my experience and thoughts about yoga.  Doing so may not set well with everyone who reads this blog, but the article links provided are both helpful and clarifying regarding this practice, I think. 

Years ago (in my teens, before yoga as exercise was recognized much in the States) I purchased a book on yoga for exercise.  I studied the various asanas (postures) of hatha yoga and practiced it.  I faithfully watched “Lillias, Yoga & You” on TV (this was in the ‘70’s, believe it or not).  Lillias was beautiful and fit and I wanted to be just like her.  Around that time I had just started reading the Bible and was particularly sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in various areas of my life.

I remembered taking an evening class and, at its conclusion, the teacher directing us to sit in a meditation posture and chant “Om,” over and over.  At that point, I stopped—something within me would not allow me to chant, “Om.”  And not only would I not chant “Om,” I felt an almost palpable unwholesome spirit in the room.  I left the class and did not return.

For a while, I continued using the postures at home (“for exercise only,” I told myself) but one day not so long after, I felt convicted that I should not do the sun salutation which (all of a sudden) struck me more as worship than exercise.  In essence, I stopped practicing yoga.  It’s no longer an option in my mind and I would not encourage others to do so.  Reason?  There’s more to it than just “exercise” even if that’s all you plan to use it for.  It is connected with Hinduism.

Since I gave up the practice, I have strongly felt yoga practice could start out innocently for someone who does not know much about it, but could well end up being a spiritual trap.  I am glad I responded to the gentle promptings within back in the ‘70’s and felt it would be good to share that with you now.  If my being honest based on experience helps at least one person from venturing into or further along with yoga practice, this sharing will be worth it. 

One of the writers in the article links mentions that Pilates is a very good alternative to yoga.  Perhaps one might say, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

God’s peace,
Presbytera Candace

The Church would like people

to replace Yoga with Prayer 


The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church reacted to the UN’s decision to designate June 21 as International Day of Yoga in 2014. The Holy Synod’s statement says that the practice of yoga has “no place in the lives of Christians” since it is a fundamental aspect of Hinduism and as such is not considered a “form of exercise” but of worship!

Though praised for its calming effect and wellness, Christians are urged to seek the same comfort in God – not hindu practises. After all, the postures of yoga were created as adulation to 330 million Hindu gods. The postures are viewed in the Hindu faith as offerings to gods that in Christianity are considered to be idols.

Furthermore, a third of yoga is concerned with emptying the mind – a contradiction to what Christianity teaches. In the Christian faith, there is free choice and transformation through renewal. Furthermore, astral travel that yoga guides people into is a practise that the church continues to frown upon.

“For this reason, yoga is totally incompatible with our Christian Orthodox faith and it has no place in the life of Christians,” the statement said, even though it added that the the Church respects religious freedom.
17 / 06 / 2015

More links (definitely worth reading)

Yoga & other Eastern practices  http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/69124.htm

Hidden Fire:  Orthodox Perspectives on Yoga  http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/80417.htm

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