American popular culture, true to form, has been able to commercialize and monetize Yoga; disengaging it from its Hindu spiritual roots and transforming it into a leisure past-time and hobby where it is placed on the rack or shelf, and faith is judged by sales per square foot in the commercial temple. But, its not all bad karma. However, the facile notion of attaining spiritual freedom through yoga is hardly linear. Yoga, a word whose root meaning is “yoke” as in yoke of labor is a bit perplexing, particularly in our current epoch of commodification of yogic philosophies and practices which are themselves marketed as a palliative for stress which plays on the individual sense of alienation. Similar to being in a relation but not being able to relate. Whether yoga can free the individual from the yoke of these classical contradictions and not offer merely superficial substitutes remains to be seen, at least in the Western context….
The democratization of Yoga is also giving rise to an equally reactionary view that asserts, under the weight and potential violence- “we can’t necessarily control our followers”- of the ubiquitous fatwa, that Muslims should be prohibited from the practice. At its essence, yoga respects no creed and requires no baggage in terms of a set of beliefs or faith from practitioners. Yet, politicizing yoga and accentuating the “other” appears to be the common currency…
…An influential Malaysian royal has stepped into a controversy involving a religious edict by the country’s top Islamic body banning Muslims from practising yoga, a form of exercise rooted in Hinduism….In remarks come after Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council declared the practice of yoga prohibited, or haram, saying that it could be traced back to Hinduism and could erode the faith of Muslims.” The edict on yoga has angered many Muslims in Malaysia’s plural society who said they have been performing yoga for years without losing their faith….
However, Abdul Shukor Husin, the chairman of the fatwa council, was quoted in a local English daily on Sunday as saying that many Malaysian Muslims failed to understand the ultimate aim of yoga. “It combines physical movements, religious elements, chanting and worshipping for the purpose of achieving inner peace and ultimately to be one with God,” he told reporters when announcing the ruling, the New Straits Times reported. Read More:http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2008/11/200811255355839719.html aaaa
or: …For starters, the very notion of having to de-Hindu yoga to make Christians feel better about it is rooted in the narrow-mindedness and guilt (and stupidity) which are commonly (and needlessly) bundled as part and parcel of Christian doctrine. People like present Pope Benedict XVI have warned that yoga “can degenerate into a cult of the body” whatever the hell that means, and urged people not to confuse the “pleasing sensations” of yoga with “spiritual well-being”, creating the impression that Ratzinger gives himself pleasing sensations in other ways– more spiritual ones of course. Others like Rabi Maharaj, a formerly confused Hindu who is now a freshly confused Christian, go a step further and publicly decry that yoga and meditation are evil and will land you in hell, if not turning you into an anti-Christ first. Read More:http://rahulbrown.wordpress.com/2005/09/01/chistian-yoga/
Rather, the experience of the practice itself creates a knowing that is absent untested belief and faith, while paradoxically also becoming the basis for faith that builds and accelerates the momentum of the practice. …Yet none of these things are the most disturbing aspect of all this. Ranking at the top of distressing elements is how Christian yoga and some quotes from the article, contrary to the spirit of yoga, only serve to divide us. Behind the confusion of what Christians understand to be Christianity and what Hindus understand to be Hinduism, there’s a common yogic experience of Oneness that both religions are built around ….
…The increasing popularity and practice of hatha yoga is one of the most practical tools that helps both Hindus and Christians (and anyone else who gives it a shot) break past the fog of silly religious beliefs and begin to taste the Oneness of humanity wherein we’re all brothers and sisters. No longer must one person hate or condemn another because of variations in traditions and cultures. Creating something like Christian yoga allows Christians to continue to “otherize” Hindus in a way that still leaves the door open for them to hate, condemn, or evangelize Hindus with the belief that they are heathens headed to hell in need of salvation. Read More:http://rahulbrown.wordpress.com/2005/09/01/chistian-yoga/