Oct 5, 2008

Yoga in schools: Hindu pollution in America?

1. Yoga is not Hinduism
A news item has appeared in many newspapers reporting that parents have protested teaching of yoga in a school in New York, saying yoga is a Hindu ritual and so it cannot be allowed in Christian schools.

I do respect the sentiments of the parents. I must do so, and more so after having tried to empathise with Hindus and Christians both in the recent [and sporadically recurring] Hindu-Christian problems in India.

But, pray, yoga has do with Hinduism nearly as much as a light bulb has to do with Christianity or modern numbers with Islam. Yoga originated and grew as a way of healing in India and it was discovered and nurtured by Hindu saints, but it is only a way of healing one's body and soul [and mind, in between the two]. Some rituals of Hindus have praying postures derived from yoga, but I think any religion would welcome postures that give you peace and allow you to concentrate on God.

Believe me, yoga is for cleaning, not for polluting. Not the least, polluting a religion.

2. Yoga is Hinduism, then what?
Suppose you don't buy my argument above. You feel that yoga, having been invented and nurtured by Hindus, is a Hindu way of exercising. You also have witnessed yoga teachers recommending chanting of sounds that clearly are part of Hindu rituals.
Agreed that in many respects yoga is laced with Hinduism and following another religion's rituals is not allowed in Christianism. My only submission here is, why not adopt good things wherever they are available and leave aside whatever is not permitted in one's religion? This way, you do not do anything that is not permitted in your religion and still get the healing benefits of yoga.