Saturday, November 18, 2006

YOGA: Can We Separate the Exercise From the Philosophy?

This excerpt is from Johanna Michaelsen as posted on the Lighthouse Trails blog:

"There is a common misconception in the West that hatha-yoga, one of about ten forms of Yoga that supposedly leads to self-realization, is merely a neutral form of exercise, a soothing and effective alternative for those who abhor jogging and calisthenics ...

"[However], Hatha-yoga is 'one of the six recognized systems of orthodox Hinduism' and is at its roots religious and mystical. It is also one of the most difficult and potentially dangerous [spiritually] forms of Yoga. "The term hatha is derived from the verb hath, which means 'to oppress.'... What the practice of hatha-yoga is designed to do is suppress the flow of psychic energies through these channels ["symbolic, or psychic, passages on either side of the spinal column"], thereby forcing the 'serpent power' or the kundalini force to rise through the central psychic channel in the spine (the sushumna) and up through the chakras, the supposed psychic centers of human personality and power. Westerners mistakenly believe that one can practice hatha-yoga apart from the philosophical and religious beliefs that undergrid it. This is an absolutely false belief. ...

"You cannot separate the exercises from the philosophy. ... 'The movements themselves become a form of meditation.' The continued practice of the exercises will, whether you ... intend it or not, eventually influence you toward an Eastern/mystical perspective. That is what it is meant to do! ... There is, by definition, no such thing as 'neutral' Yoga"

--Johanna Michaelsen, Like Lambs to the Slaughter, pp. 93-95).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, "ha" means sun and "tha" means moon. You end up with sun-moon as the literal translation, but what it "means" is the union of a pair of opposites.

If you were interested in being better-educated about Yoga, you may wish to do research on the yamas and niyamas. You may be quite surprised to see the parallels that are drawn to other religions in the world, including Christianity.

And, rather than dismissing Yoga for a made-up set of evils, you may actually consider that meditation in Yoga is not that much different than prayer. It has been my experience that people who meditate as a part of a wholesome, well-rounded Yoga practice spend more time doing this than many folks engage in prayer.

I would advise that you exercise, as my father said "the brain that God gave you" before regurgitating inaccurate, fact less, and toxic prose.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This appears to be a humanistic emotional response. I am amazed at what I am asked these days to be tolerant of. Suffice to say. If Christ is Creator God then any other way or system, no matter how sincere or well done can not reveal the truth if it denies the author of truth. I say put the works of all religious teachers together and show me their leaders. Only one conquered death and that is the one I will follow. No amount of meditation or chanting or even prayer can raise the dead if the author of life is not behind it. True toxicity is death and anything that is not derived from the author and sustainer of life is toxic.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Johanna Michaelson the one who wrote "The Beautiful side of Evil?"

10:57 PM  

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