ginger yogaA few years ago, I was a guest on Hannity and Colmes Radio Show representing yoga for children in a “debate” with an author-lecturer who declared that “yoga was from the devil”.  It went well, with Alan Colmes taking the assertive lead and me holding steady to the integrity of yoga.

In that same vein, here is a reprinted article by Roger Carling Kelly, a natural health practitioner who has practiced yoga for more than 30 years.

People used to think that the world was flat, that herbs were the work of the devil. People used to think, and still do that this global warming is all nonsense, and that Yoga is a religious cult that will corrupt and poison the minds of individuals.

Someone interviewed on the CBC a little while ago stated that there is God and the devil and that the devil comes in many disguises, and that once you open the door to him you’re in real trouble – referring to Yoga being offered in the school system.

I agree that the devil is here, but not in the form of Yoga – rather in the form of ignorance and fear. Education and knowledge are so important because ignorance is so destructive and harmful. Most of this thinking goes along the lines of Yoga equals eastern religion equals evil.

People still holding these beliefs need to know that the world is not flat; that global warming is a reality and that Yoga is not a religious cult that they must fear or feel threatened by.

It has nothing to do with religion at all. It has no fixed dogma, limited belief system, or creed that one must adhere to. A person can belong to any religion, and many do, and yet still practice Yoga.

Just as an athlete can practice certain aspects of Yoga while continuing the sport of their choice, so a Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist or Sikh can practice Yoga and become a better Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist or Sikh.

This is because Yoga is a universal practice that nourishes all that is good in a person by promoting inner harmony and peace of body, mind and spirit.  It is based on the principles of truth, love, right conduct, peace and nonviolence – all universal qualities.  Yoga is a universal system of self-development that physically brings flexibility, strength and good health.

It teaches the techniques that lead to relaxation and inner peace so needed in this stressful world of today. The breathing exercises help to harmonize, balance, and strengthen both the immune and nervous systems, leading to a healthy mind in a healthy body.

Yoga is used as a supplementary therapy in many health concerns such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, headaches and many others.

Insurance companies pay for people to take Yoga because it has cut down considerably on medical costs.

It is a major component of the well-known Dean Ornish program of diet and exercise that has greatly contributed to the reversal of heart disease.

Meditation is something fairly new to the Christian experience but it is deeply rooted in the Christian tradition.  Many Christians have lost touch with this ancient tradition of entering the silence.

“Be still and know that I am God,” say the scriptures.

In prayer we speak to God. In meditation we enter the silence to hear his voice in the recesses of the heart.

In Joshua 1:8, God commands his people to meditate on his word every day and night to instill obedience. The Bible mentions meditate or meditation at least 20 times.

Yoga does not tell you what to think, say, or believe. It has been the inspiration of all religions, including Christianity. Yet it is not in itself a religion. Many devout Christians practice Yoga regularly with no contradiction to their faith and beliefs.

At no time does anyone have to change their religious beliefs or faith when they practice Yoga.

Yoga does not contradict any religion but simply helps to instill a deeper and broader love for God, for one’s fellow man, for all beings and creatures, while attaining good physical and mental health.

In this day and age, children need this more than ever. There is no need for such fear and ignorance as shown by certain Christian groups.

As the light of knowledge and wisdom dispels the darkness of ignorance, so shall the truth set us free.

© Copyright 2007 Terrace Standard