Author Topic: Yoga and Hinduism  (Read 1314 times)

Offline Jack89 (OP)

Yoga and Hinduism
« on: November 13, 2013, 07:08:10 AM »
I started going to yoga classes about 3 weeks ago, mostly to work on flexibility/mobility, but also hoping that it might help with chronic pain.  I'm going to a studio that teaches Ashtanga yoga because I read that it was a little more dynamic and physical.  

While the classes are pretty good, and the instructors are great, there is a bit of a religious tone about it.  Well, more than a bit.  I'm cool with the relaxation and meditation side of it, but the  invocation chant, as well as their statues of Buddha, Ganesha, and some I'm not sure of, really hint at Hinduism.  Some of them really lay it on thick with the Sanskrit and talk of self-realization and path to enlightenment.

I can see why those parents in Encinitas, CA were a little reluctant to accept it  - http://http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suhag-a-shukla-esq/yoga-in-schools_b_3537029.html

I personally like the classes and don't mind the Hindu cultural stuff, they're not pushy about it, so I'll probably keep going to class.  It's already helping with the pain, or so I imagine.  :)

Anyway, I'd like to hear what you all think of yoga, and it's religious aspects.  Thoughts?

Offline Aupmanyav

Re: Yoga and Hinduism
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2013, 11:13:35 AM »
Sanskrit is the repository of Indian wisdom. I am not surprised that the instructors use Sanskrit verses. That is not necessarily preaching Hinduism. Self-realization and enlightenment too is not religious, it is simply better understanding of the world and people. In India, all actions with invocation of Ganesha, whether it is start of a business day or a journey or eating. In any ritual, he is the first God to be invoked - Vighnaharta, remover of obstacles. Perhaps you can allow them this small liberty, otherwise you may look up for some other yoga school. A chant serves an important purpose of preparing the practioner. I have heard that ashtangayoga is bit tough. Of course, I suppose the instructor is careful about it. Ashtangayoga schools have been there for quite some time, they are commercial and I do not think they indulge in proselytization.

Of course, I would not want yoga teaching to students unless their parents approve of it. The California problem arose because of this.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 11:32:18 AM by Aupmanyav »
"Brahma Satyam Jagan-mithya" (Brahman is the truth, the observed is an illusion)
"Sarve Khalu Idam Brahma" (All this here is Brahman)

Re: Yoga and Hinduism
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2013, 11:17:47 AM »
I have a friend that practices yoga that helps him deal with the pain of leukemia. He's a Christian and even accepts some of the religious parts. Solitary
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

Offline Aupmanyav

Re: Yoga and Hinduism
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2013, 11:28:17 AM »
Duplicate.
"Brahma Satyam Jagan-mithya" (Brahman is the truth, the observed is an illusion)
"Sarve Khalu Idam Brahma" (All this here is Brahman)

Offline Jack89 (OP)

Re: Yoga and Hinduism
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2013, 10:30:06 AM »
Quote from: "Aupmanyav"
Sanskrit is the repository of Indian wisdom. I am not surprised that the instructors use Sanskrit verses. That is not necessarily preaching Hinduism. Self-realization and enlightenment too is not religious, it is simply better understanding of the world and people. In India, all actions with invocation of Ganesha, whether it is start of a business day or a journey or eating. In any ritual, he is the first God to be invoked - Vighnaharta, remover of obstacles. Perhaps you can allow them this small liberty, otherwise you may look up for some other yoga school. A chant serves an important purpose of preparing the practioner. I have heard that ashtangayoga is bit tough. Of course, I suppose the instructor is careful about it. Ashtangayoga schools have been there for quite some time, they are commercial and I do not think they indulge in proselytization.
I don't mind the invocations and religious/cultural atmosphere at the studio, it's actually kind of nice, but it's not something I think I could adopt.  Yesterday I asked one of my yoga instructors about the invocations and the statues of Ganesha and Shiva.  His reply wasn't exactly straightforward, but from what I could gather they're trying to adopt the culture and mythology (his word) in order to gain the wisdom from the teachings of the Vedas.  I also think they get a bit of a thrill from the foreign/exotic atmosphere, which is a pretty good marketing tool if you think about it.  
After talking to him, I can't help thinking that as sincere as some of these American yogis are, it doesn't seem that they could relate to the symbolic meaning as well as someone born and raised in an Indian culture.  After reading just a little about Hinduism, it seems more of an all encompassing culture that includes religion, rather than a religion itself.  So if you're playing around with the spiritual aspect of a culture, without actually knowing the culture, what do you have?  I don't know, probably just thinking about it too much.  

In any event, I think i'll keep going because the asanas, the physical part of it, certainly seems to help.  Cheers.

Offline Aupmanyav

Re: Yoga and Hinduism
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 03:59:53 AM »
Jack, here is the key for Hinduism, my view though. Gods are secondary, the primary thing is 'dharma', duties as a family person, to the society, and to every other thing (including nature) and engaging in actions which do not harm anyone. 'Dharma' is the bed-rock, sects and views do not matter. It is the same in all other Indian religions, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.
"Brahma Satyam Jagan-mithya" (Brahman is the truth, the observed is an illusion)
"Sarve Khalu Idam Brahma" (All this here is Brahman)

Offline Jack89 (OP)

Re: Yoga and Hinduism
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2013, 06:44:56 AM »
Quote from: "Aupmanyav"
Jack, here is the key for Hinduism, my view though. Gods are secondary, the primary thing is 'dharma', duties as a family person, to the society, and to every other thing (including nature) and engaging in actions which do not harm anyone. 'Dharma' is the bed-rock, sects and views do not matter. It is the same in all other Indian religions, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.

Sounds like a good view to me.  Thanks for clearing that up.