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Re: internationalyogafederation Is yoga a religion? Evangelical Christians in California tried to ban yoga in schools. So where is the line between the body and the soul?

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  • RAMACHANDRAN KOMBIYIL
    thanks FOR promote YOGA. Ramachandran,,thrissur,INDIA
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 20, 2013
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      thanks FOR promote YOGA.
      Ramachandran,,thrissur,INDIA

      On 6/18/13, Diana Hooi <tigerwoman19662003@...> wrote:
      > Hello everyone,
      >
      > Yoga is a science of development of counsiousness in relation to material
      > life...
      > Everything created in this world is an expression of the individual
      > counsiousness of mankind, either the supreme consiousness as we call it the
      > divine...science might call it the unified field, quantum field..etc...
      > The body is made out of cells, cells out of molecules, atoms etc en can be
      > defined to more suttle levels of matter or energy layers, this is already
      > regocnized as in our day to day science. The new biology is regocnizing now
      > that our counsiousness has influence on our DNA...
      > Einstein say matter is energy en visa versa....
      > Yes yoga is an science, being awareof that what is the true core of
      > creation...as we grow in our counsiousness we become more and more aware of
      > our hugh possibilities and inner full fillment.
      > As we explore our counsiousness we become aware that our total fullfillment
      > , can be found within our selfs, as we are a part of that unified field/
      > divine core, which is self fullfilling, this is our big yoga quest, what
      > will give more peace among mankind.
      > Now these days al lot of extra information is revealed about the original
      > christianty and our big master Jezus, he was also a big explorer of the
      > counsiousness and became the trancedent divine master. But he had on the
      > last moment on the cross also a little human doubt and asked him self if the
      > divine god had left him, after again he regained his divine faith... He had
      > a hugh asignment to fullfill for mankind.
      >
      >
      > Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPad
      >
      > With kindly regards
      > Diana Hooi
      > Karuna International Educationcentre for Integral Yoga the Netherlands
      > Honorary secretary for the International Yoga Federation Holland
      > Member of the Eurpean union of Yoga Association
      >
      > Op 21 mei 2013 om 19:40 heeft "Escola Sat Nam Yoga & Yoga Om Life"
      > <geral@...> het volgende geschreven:
      >
      >> Is yoga a religion? Evangelical Christians in California tried to ban yoga
      >> in schools. So where is the line between the body and the soul? started
      >> practising yoga 12 years ago at a newly opened studio in San Francisco
      >> called the Yoga Tree. One day, I was coming out of a back bend —
      >> ustrasana, or camel pose, to be exact — when my bodymind abruptly and
      >> briefly fluttered into a tingling otherworld of uncanny and dizzying
      >> bliss. After the class, I asked the teacher about the experience, curious
      >> about how he’d parse my trippy little altered state. ‘Probably low blood
      >> pressure,’ he said. ‘Coming out of backbends can restrict your blood flow.
      >> You might want to watch that.’ I paused. ‘This wasn’t just a head rush. It
      >> was like, uh … have you ever had a big balloon of nitrous oxide?’ ‘Ah,’ he
      >> said, and launched into telling me about the nadis. ‘These are channels in
      >> the body that carry prana,’ he explained, referring to Hinduism’s version
      >> of élan vital. ‘They are the cause of a lot of openings.’ At the time I
      >> was struck by the fluid ease with which my teacher switched from Western
      >> physiology to Eastern esotericism. It spoke to how we postmoderns have
      >> grown comfortable shifting between different, even contradictory world
      >> views. But it also said something about the contemporary world of postural
      >> yoga, and how it has come to bridge (and occasionally tunnel between) the
      >> sacred and the secular. Sometimes yoga practitioners set these two frames
      >> of reference alongside one another, as my teacher did; other times they
      >> superimpose them onto various squirrely frameworks of ‘spiritual science’.
      >> For some, asana is unquestionably prayer; for others, it just beats the
      >> gym. Yoga’s special trick is to elude these apparent contradictions by
      >> inviting folks to shut up, get on the mat, and follow the flow. ‘Yoga is
      >> 99 per cent practice, and one per cent theory,’ proclaimed the late Indian
      >> yoga master Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois, who founded the vigorous style of
      >> yoga known as Ashtanga, in Mysore, in 1948.‘Practise, and all is coming.’
      >> One thing that Jois probably did not see coming, however, was the
      >> conscription of yoga into America’s culture wars. As I write, a public
      >> school district in California is being sued by Christian parents and a
      >> conservative legal watchdog group for teaching yoga to children aged six
      >> to 11 as part of their physical education programme in elementary school.
      >> The suit argues that the programme is ‘inherently and pervasively
      >> religious’ and, as such, that it violates the state’s religious freedom
      >> clauses. The mediating ambiguity of yoga’s ‘sacred science’ is being
      >> forced through the binary, yes-or-no code of a legal system charged with
      >> safeguarding the US’s constitutional separation between church and state.
      >> They complained about the ostracism of children who opted out of the
      >> programme — a situation one fool compared to Nazi Germany Jois would have
      >> been particularly struck by the location of the battle. Encinitas, a small
      >> beach community north of San Diego, was the inaugural American home of
      >> Ashtanga in the mid-1970s. Developed from the teachings of Tirumalai
      >> Krishnamacharya, the fountainhead of modern Hatha yoga, Jois’s rigorous
      >> Ashtanga school invites practitioners to submit to an unwavering sequence
      >> of gnarly poses and taxing transition moves. Though there is little overt
      >> discussion of Hindu philosophy in typical Ashtanga studios, the form
      >> itself engenders and radiates an unmistakable quality of spiritual
      >> discipline and meditative focus. Ashtangis practise most mornings in
      >> nearly silent rooms, progressing through the sequence of asanas at an
      >> individual pace, while often developing a quality of sober devotion that,
      >> while not always easy to distinguish from Type-A obsession, attests to the
      >> psychological as well as physically transformative effects of the regimen.
      >> One person whose life and body were transformed by Ashtanga is the
      >> Australian model Sonia Jones, wife of the American multi-billionaire
      >> hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones II. Following the death of Jois, Sonia
      >> — to the grumbling of some long-term practitioners — entered into a
      >> partnership with Jois’s heir-apparent, his grandson Sharath. What emerged
      >> is ‘Jois Yoga’, a codification of the Ashtanga brand, accompanied by a new
      >> line of yoga wear. Jones and the Jois family have also established a
      >> handful of slick Jois Yoga shalas, or studios, around the US — including a
      >> new location in Encinitas that some old hands see as a slap in the face to
      >> the old-school Ashtanga studio that had been in town since the 1970s. The
      >> Joneses meanwhile established the non-profit K P Jois Foundation, which
      >> has already provided millions to set up the Contemplative Sciences Center
      >> at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The foundation also
      >> funnelled $533,000 into setting up twice-weekly, 30-minute yoga programmes
      >> for elementary schools in the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD). But
      >> the programme stuck in the craw of some parents and in October a small
      >> number of them — evangelical Christians, backed by the conservative
      >> National Center for Law and Policy (NCLP) — came before the school board.
      >> They complained about the use of the Buddhist mandala symbol in art class,
      >> the introduction of physical poses ‘imparted by Hindu deities’, and the
      >> ostracism of children who opted out of the programme — a situation one
      >> fool compared to Nazi Germany. The school board, puzzled by this religious
      >> interpretation of stretching exercises, and no doubt enjoying the bounty
      >> of external funding, refused to cave in. So in February, the NCLP filed a
      >> suit against the district on behalf of one pair of parents, Stephen and
      >> Jennifer Sedlock. That’s not how these court battles usually go — even in
      >> California, whose New Age-friendly coast is pocketed with mega-churches
      >> and fiercely conservative communities, especially in the interior of the
      >> state. When the issue of religion and public schools comes up, it’s
      >> generally because evangelical activists are trying to slip religious
      >> messages into public school, with atheists and freethinking parents
      >> invoking the First Amendment. In Encinitas, the tables are turned: now the
      >> Biblical conservatives are thumping on the very same secular cornerstone
      >> they are more usually trying to slip around. As the journalist Katherine
      >> Stewart pointed out in a sharp post on Religion Dispatches, the head
      >> attorney at NCLP acting for the Sedlocks — Dean Broyles — is affiliated
      >> with a powerful right-wing legal organisation called the Alliance
      >> Defending Freedom. The ADF litigates on behalf of evangelical activity in
      >> public schools, which includes abstinence programs, ‘character education’
      >> curricula, and after-school bible study groups for elementary pupils,
      >> called Good News Clubs. Stewart, who has written a book about the use of
      >> public schools to advance a fundamentalist Christian agenda, noted that
      >> all of the schools in the Encinitas district already host Good News Clubs,
      >> which gives you a taste of how much religion — Christian religion that is,
      >> or at least Christian moralising — already exists in or around public
      >> schooling. The Encinitas case is a different kettle of loaves and fishes.
      >> Rather than combating secularism, activist Christians are now indirectly
      >> taking on another religion, a religion that, they argue, is disguised as
      >> secular physical culture, and is, in their terms at least, false. This
      >> battle is not just taking place in the courtroom: it is a war of the
      >> religious imagination. In January, National Public Radio covered the
      >> controversy. Its report featured Mary Eady, an Encinitas parent, convinced
      >> that Hindu religious goals were being inculcated alongside the stretching
      >> moves. Eady complained that immediately before performing the sun salutes
      >> that so often open yoga routines, pupils were told 'to thank the sun for
      >> their lives and the warmth that it brought’. Most parents (and readers)
      >> would barely register this innocuous story-book sentiment. But Eady,
      >> deploying the sort of paranoid hermeneutics that fire evangelical worries
      >> against product labels or ‘backwards-masked’ messages in rock music,
      >> believes that children were being told to worship the sun. Moreover, Eady
      >> suggested that behind the program lurked a shadowy, hedge-fund-backed
      >> foundation whose founders believe in the spiritual benefits of Ashtanga
      >> yoga. But let us reverse the mirror, and ask what sort of religion lurks
      >> behind Eady’s complaints, and what shadowy religious organisations might
      >> stand behind her concerns that children are being lured into sun worship?
      >> As the yoga writer Carol Horton noted in a blog from February, Eady
      >> happens to be a project manager at truthXchange, an evangelical
      >> organisation whose raison d’etre is to halt the spread of ‘global
      >> paganism’. The organisation’s worldview, to judge from their website, is
      >> blunt and Manichaean: the choice we face is between the idolatrous worship
      >> of the universe itself (‘One-ism’) or the proper worship of the creator
      >> outside the universe (‘Two-ism’). One important corollary to this formula
      >> is that both the ‘pagan’ (and presumably ‘Hindu’) worship of natural
      >> forces and science’s insistence on a purely material cosmos are two sides
      >> of the same hell-bent coin. As such, yoga’s already precarious mediation
      >> between sacred and secular, body and mind, simply makes the practice even
      >> more suspicious. Even goals such as ‘wellbeing’ and ‘stress management’
      >> can become red flags. ‘It's stated in the curriculum that [yoga is] meant
      >> to shape the way that they view the world,’ Eady told NPR. ‘It's meant to
      >> shape the way that they regulate their emotions and the way that they view
      >> themselves.’ In the face of such overripe suspicions, the school board,
      >> along with representatives from the K P Jois Foundation, have insisted
      >> that the yoga program is a purely athletic regimen shorn of religious
      >> elements. The majority of press reactions and op-eds adopt a similar line,
      >> scoffing at evangelical worries about touching your toes. In a
      >> superficially secular society like the US, officially beholden to science,
      >> these reactions make sense. Most casual yoga practitioners would be taken
      >> aback by the accusation that participation in mindful stretching routines
      >> makes them acolytes of an exotic faith. Ironically, the judge in the case
      >> turned out to be one such practitioner. Surprising the courtroom by
      >> announcing last month that he had recently begun practising Bikram
      >> (‘sweaty’) yoga, Judge John Meyer noted that: ‘If you think there’s
      >> something spiritual about what I do, that’s news to me.’ American asana
      >> practice has been oscillating between the ashram and the gym, sometimes
      >> clothed in exotic veils and other times in low-cut spandex Many yogis
      >> would understand the judge’s puzzlement, since Bikram yoga, with its
      >> mirror-lined studios and trademarked sequence, is often cast as the
      >> epitome of profane and commercialised yoga. For countless practitioners,
      >> modern yoga is purely this-worldly, at most lending a holistic sheen to
      >> the consumer quest for a better butt. But yoga can be, and quite often is,
      >> something more. Many teachers — far too many, I feel — lace their chat
      >> with New Age nostrums, and the décor in lots of studios suggests a vaguely
      >> exotic, mystic ambience. But yoga’s spiritual juice does not ultimately
      >> lie in coffee-table books explaining Hindu philosophy, or the statues of
      >> the great Lord Ganesha by the door. As Horton and other yoga bloggers who
      >> are wrestling with this case have come to admit — and in contrast to the
      >> EUSD’s argument that the children are just stretching — deep experience of
      >> the discipline does tend to transcend physical culture, though often in
      >> ways that are difficult to articulate. On this point, the conservatives
      >> running the NCLP might be ready to agree. The specific legal question,
      >> however, is whether the Jois curriculum’s particular mix was ‘religious’.
      >> To bolster their case, the NCLP recruited the Harvard-educated academic
      >> Candy Gunther Brown, an associate professor of religion at the University
      >> of Indiana. Though Brown herself studies evangelicals and healing prayer,
      >> her 37-page brief for the NCLP rightly recognises that today’s postural
      >> yoga evolved out of a complex mixture of medieval Hatha yoga, modern Hindu
      >> revival movements, British physical culture, and Western metaphysical
      >> traditions — the same hydra-headed current of occult lore, Theosophy, and
      >> self-help philosophies that birthed the ‘New Age’. Brown’s error lies in
      >> unreflexively labelling this decidedly modern mélange ‘religion’ — a Latin
      >> Christian term inextricably linked to Christianity’s self-image as the
      >> dominant global system of creed, sacrament, and congregation. It is not
      >> clear how adequately the term ‘religion’ covers the classic Hindu world,
      >> let alone the mutant modern offspring of one limb of that dizzying
      >> tradition. What if modern postural yoga is neither religious nor secular,
      >> but something in between, or something beyond, something whose evident
      >> appeal partly lies in that very liminality? As Stefanie Syman shows in The
      >> Subtle Body (2010), her history of yoga in the US, American asana practice
      >> has been oscillating for more than a century between ashram and gym,
      >> sometimes clothed in exotic veils and other times in low-cut spandex. It
      >> is this very oscillation — a flux incarnated for many practitioners every
      >> time they hit the mat — that ‘is’ yoga. Oscillations are tough to read:
      >> now you see it, now you don’t. For her part, Professor Brown indulges in
      >> plenty of feverish literalism, describing the sun salute as ‘consistent
      >> with religious worship’, and characterising the integration of breath into
      >> physical movement as a kind of gateway drug that ‘prepares one to unite
      >> with the Universal in Samadhi’. (If only it were so easy!) Other arguments
      >> that initially look like Christian conspiracy theory, however, carry more
      >> than a few grains of truth. Brown notes that, in much apparently
      >> ‘secularised’ yoga, novices first enjoy the physical benefits of the
      >> workouts and then begin to receive ‘spiritual nuggets’ from teachers,
      >> nuggets that lead deeper into the Hindu worldview. Setting aside the
      >> nefarious implications Brown intends, some version of this process occurs
      >> all the time. Most yoga teachers are quite comfortable presenting the
      >> practice in layers of increasing esoterica. Eventually, at least in my
      >> experience, the physical bandhas (contractions) flower into imaginal
      >> chakras — and head-rushes get reframed as nadi shudders. But what’s
      >> interesting about Brown’s argument — in a sense the key to the Christian
      >> evangelists’ fear of yoga — goes beyond religious discourse entirely.
      >> Brown claims that the Encinitas yoga curriculum advances Hindu and
      >> American metaphysical religion ‘whether or not these practices are taught
      >> using religious or Hindu language’. In other words, the spiritual power —
      >> and threat — does not lie within the discourse packaging the moves, but in
      >> the moves themselves. Though I suspect it’s wrong, I love this idea. I
      >> love it because it inspires the fantasy that somewhere, somehow, some
      >> stressed-out car dealer or soccer mom is going to take a yoga class at a
      >> gym (maybe because the instructor is cute) and then, halfway through
      >> practice — maybe while stretching in pigeon pose, or teetering on elbows
      >> in crow — the serpent kundalini unwinds her tail, and a fountain of pranic
      >> bliss shoots up his or her spine and blooms into a third-eye-opening
      >> shudder of wind-chimes and astral rose petals. Brown means something a
      >> little more down to earth, of course. She claims that, in contrast to
      >> Protestant concerns with the word, Eastern religions express devotion
      >> directly through practices that fuse body and mind. The physical practices
      >> drawn from those traditions can never be stripped of religion, because the
      >> religion — others would say ‘spirituality’ — already lies in the
      >> embodiment. This is a deeply conservative view of religious meaning, with
      >> little appreciation for how modern practitioners change these embodied
      >> meanings, to say nothing of the interventions of MRI scanning and other
      >> tools quantifying the psycho-physiological effects of yoga and meditation.
      >> But Brown’s view does paradoxically, and ironically, accord with leading
      >> fantasies that Western seekers hold about their yoga practice, which
      >> romantically contend that today’s postural sequences stretch back
      >> continuously through time immemorial, carrying the transmission of the
      >> ancient sages. Fortunately, the spiritual efficacy of yoga goes beyond the
      >> purview of the courts, whether or not that power is interpreted as summum
      >> bonum or a demonic lure. But as far as Brown’s critique of the Encinitas
      >> curriculum itself goes, I have to say that, as a devotee of the First
      >> Amendment, I share some of her concerns. The devil is in the detail, and
      >> if Brown’s description is accurate, then the K P Jois Foundation and its
      >> school district partners could have done a better job of stripping
      >> spiritual language and religious glyphs — Chinese t’ai chi, the yin/yang
      >> symbol, or a chart of Patanjali’s Eight-Fold Path — from their materials.
      >> That said, I don’t believe the foundation was trying to smuggle ‘Hindu
      >> philosophy’ through the back door, let alone the sun god Surya. They
      >> didn’t think their materials would piss people off, because holistic
      >> language and ‘Eastern’ imagery has become the norm as people embrace a
      >> wide range of healing modalities, and more and more of us identify as
      >> ‘spiritual but not religious’. The real issue is that modern yoga and
      >> meditation do create real psychobiological changes, and that those changes
      >> are coming to be seen as no longer intrinsically religious or spiritual.
      >> As the religious historian Catherine Albanese, argues, one way that the
      >> American metaphysical tradition succeeded was by simply dissolving into
      >> the culture at large. The mind-over-matter religion of Christian Science,
      >> for example, flows directly into corporate self-help seminars. Even the
      >> plaintiff in the EUSD case, Jennifer Sedlock, is tainted by this stuff: a
      >> Christian motivational speaker, she is also a ‘qualified Myers-Briggs
      >> consultant’ — a psychological typology system directly based on the ideas
      >> of the deeply esoteric (and rather anti-Christian) Carl Jung. Pop
      >> metaphysics has become the air we breathe, whether or not we try to synch
      >> it up with downward dog. Published on 3 May 2013
      >>
      >>
      >
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