Sunday I posted a blog about how I will get in 3 cardio, 1 pilates and 1 yoga session per week. Today I got up and planned to make my first yoga class. I had the bus schedule up and ready to go, but a turn of unplanned events made me miss my ride. Boo, right?
Well, not really. Here's what happened: Since I'm on the up and up about telling the truth to myself and treating me with the respect of keeping the commitments I make to me, I began looking for the next class. Now, I'm not all that familiar with yoga. Sure, I took classes in college, but I didn't know the difference between the types of classes offered. So I'm researching all these different studios and such, trying to find a place I can go before sunset. But I keep running into all these pictures of Hindu deities and language on these websites. Namaste, which means the god in me recognizes the god in you, was the greeting on a few of them. Probing around a little more under the "About" or "History" tabs led me to even more spiritual explanation. Now, most yoga studios don't outright say their poses (sun salutations, etc) are religious in nature. No, many prefer to describe it as an effective way to "unite the body, mind and spirit." Okay, sure. To each their own, right, but what about a girl whose heart belongs to Jesus? Should I take my mat in there and get with the program?
I was already a little skeptical about this seemingly New Age way of training and controlling the soul, spirit and mind. Of course my next area of research was whether yoga could be separated from its religious/spiritual roots. In other words, could there be a such thing as Christian yoga or a form of yoga Christians could practice that did not include the meditation, sun salutations, etc? How about NO.
One dictionary gives this definition of yoga:
a school of Hindu philosophy advocating and prescribing a course of physical and mental disciplines for attaining liberation from the material world and union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.
Or how about the cultural dictionary's definition: In Hinduism, a set of mental and physical exercises aimed at producing spiritual enlightenment.
No wonder Swami Param, of the Classical Yoga Hindu Academy, was so upset. He described the American practice of yoga as sacrilege. "To think of it as mere physical movements is tantamount to describing baptism as just an underwater exercise." Woah.
Further into the article "Is Yoga Debased by Secular Practice?" he posed this question: "Why be covert? Participants should be invited up-front to study Hinduism which is what they're doing when learning hatha yoga."
Newly enlightened, I look back at all the things that went wrong at the last minute that kept me off that bus. I got a brand new rep on the phone who took some extra time getting my info right. I apparently sat on my lotion as a giant gob of it was all over the couch and my pillow. Then, I knocked over a glass of juice on my way out the door. Were all of these just coincidences? Considering I was unknowingly on my way to practice another religion, I really don't think so.
New commitment: find a class that provides similar benefits (strength, flexibility, etc) and doesn't cost me my soul.