Nothing Really Scary about Yoga

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

By | 2016-12-28T21:21:58+00:00 June 27th, 2013|awareness, yoga, yoga and religion|8 Comments

About the Author:

Shakta is an AMS certified Montessori teacher, and the author of five well-known Yoga books, CDs and DVDs. Her latest book, The Yoga Way to Radiance: How to Follow Your Inner Guidance and Nurture Children to do the Same, is scheduled for release in summer of 2016, (Llewellyn Worldwide)   Visit Shakta's Writing and Poetry Site


  1. Paula June 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    I recently published a story on yoga for children in The Washington Times Communities. A commenter left a disturbing message at the end of the story, which speaks to the ignorance that surrounds yoga…STILL!


    • radiantchildyoga June 27, 2013 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      Hi Paula, I read the comment and find that these things abound on the internet. It is a question of whether you want to allow the free range of opinion on your blog comments, or you want to monitor them. I prefer the second because energetically the negativity that some people bring to the mix is not helpful for connection to the inner spirit. I trust that most people are going to come to yoga with an open mind that is ready to move into happier, healthier places, which is what we do in Radiant Child Yoga and Kundalini yoga.

      • Paula June 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm - Reply

        I don’t have control over the comments posted to my Washington Times Communities column, unfortunately. Here on WordPress, I just delete the negative. Thank you! 🙂

  2. Beverly J. Harvey June 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    I’m so glad you posted this. I’m am continually amazed at the ignorance in the world. I thought yoga had gone mainstream, but evidently, not.

  3. Jennifer June 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    My son has been doing meditation as part of his therapy to control anxiety issues. I told his pediatrician that he had been doing meditation and she warned that we were getting into “the dark side.” What could be bad about an anxious ten year old learning to sit quietly??? And, btw, the mediation has actually worked better than any drug.

  4. yisforyoga June 28, 2013 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on y is for yoga..

  5. Cheryl Crawford June 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Thank you for writing this. Let’s continue to nourish the goodness of yoga for children. May the nectar of truth and harmony release the poison of fear and ignorance.

  6. Teacup July 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Positivity!!! Your right about the light we have to focus on this issue. For me the opportunity to spread yoga through our ailing educational system is more sacred than any religious belief I may have. With that said, I feel deeply about treading on the sensitivities of the fearful, I don’t use any chanting or Sanskrit beyond the word yoga when I teach in school venues.
    When I was just out of the coma/hospital/wheelchair my friend brought me to morning Sadhana regularly, where I first heard the old Irish song ‘long time sunshine’. Due to the loss of much of my trachea I don’t chant or sing (can’t carry the sound of Om anymore) when I sang long time sunshine for my children today it brought tears to my eyes! This is a song I will teach in school!!!
    Thanks for reminding me!!!!!

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