That question got answered on Thursday at “Quora,” which apparently is “your best source for knowledge,” except for the fact I’d never heard of it before this post appeared in my daily Google alert:
Like many things, what it’s like depends on who is doing the experiencing. It really depends on whom you ask, as well as when the respondent was last there.
Even in the nineties, there were always complaints about the pool-side social “scene” and clique-y-ness that develops when young travelers spend a few months together, or the brunch time complaints about “the next pose” or the competitive atmosphere and more-yogic-than-thou bullshit that developed in the 2000’s and on up today.
That’s part of the answer from Joseph Goodman. You can check the post out and see if it all aligns with your thought — although whether it aligns may depend on when you go and read it, if you get my point.
I also feel compelled to point you toward this story from the Lafayette Journal & Courier about a subject that hasn’t come up in a while: Christian alternatives to yoga. A few key passages:
After a set of warm-up exercises, the Christian yoga alternative began. They stretched in postures instead of yoga poses. Gone was downward-facing dog and in its stead, women glided gracefully into tent pose. They still focused on breathing, adhering to constant reminders from Douglas to inhale and exhale.
However, the mood was intentionally religious in nature as Douglas read corresponding scriptures while the women lingered in their postures. By the end, as they lay supine in a refuge posture instead of the traditional yoga corpse pose, Douglas’ assistants laid warmed cloths soaked in lavender essential oil over the faces of the women to aid relaxation.
“Stay focused on God and your breath,” Douglas said. “Listen to that still, small voice.”
“Yoga is a mystic and ascetic Hindu discipline for achieving union with supreme spirits through works, meaning salvation through works,” Douglas wrote in an email. “As Christians we cannot receive salvation through works but by accepting Jesus Christ. And yes, some of the postures look the same, (but) the body can only bend in so many ways. PraiseMoves is a redemptive work of the Lord.”
Reece agreed and said yoga shouldn’t be taught in Christian churches. “The Bible calls us to be a peculiar people and we should be that,” he said. “We shouldn’t blend in with the world.”
Although the movement in PraiseMoves resembles yoga, Douglas argues that the philosophies are different.
“I don’t believe that yoga is just an exercise,” she said. “Yoga asks you to find what you need from within and they say that everything you need can be found from within. I’m nothing without God. Everything that I need comes from him.”
The postures have different names such as “The Cross,” “Peter’s Boat,” and “David’s Harp.” Each posture done in PraiseMoves has a scripture associated with it. Practitioners listen to the instructor recite scripture while they execute postures.
Kris Bowers of Romney said she prefers PraiseMoves to the traditional asana practice.
“I like yoga but I didn’t realize what it meant,” she said. “Each pose for yoga is a pose to worship a different god. PraiseMoves changes their moves to worship the one true God.”
I really like that just by changing the names of the poses, everything seems to be alright.
Bringing up PraiseMoves does allow me to broach a subject from our Yatra, an issue about which I think I disagreed with most of my fellow travelers.
There was a fair amount of discussion about just how religious, spiritual or steeped in faith India is — especially in comparison to the U.S. I did not, do not, find that to be true. If you compared a small, Midwestern city to a small, rural town in India, I think you’d find a lot of similarities between the roles of religion and temple/church. The people in that Midwestern town pray to and think about God, I wager, as much as the people in India. Religion is similarly central to both.
My sense — and I suppose I’ve found this within the broader yoga community — is that there is a dismissal of Christianity as truly religious or Christians as being truly religious and full of faith. So even if a person or family goes to church and lives by a set of Christian tenants, it’s all suspect.
I understand why that it is — we see and are familiar with the inconsistencies of Christianity that have made many people question it. If you have questioned and even moved away from Christianity, chances are you see its faults rather than its positives. I suspect if one got as familiar with those Indians in that town, there’d be a lot of inconsistencies and contradictions. Unfortunately, from my experience (and others), the priests in Hindu temples can leave a bad impression, for instance.
But all that is human nature. We’re flawed, fallen or living Maya — take your pick.
I’d just be careful when making broad statements about this facet of U.S. life, especially if you live on the coasts where, perhaps, life isn’t quite as full of faith and it is easy to forget about the flyover states. (Let’s blame Hollywood for our lack of faith, shall we? I also should point out that previous sentence was, in fact, written by someone who loves making broad, sweeping statements about people and things, as regular readers know. I also hate being consistent. [Goggle Oscar Wilde, consistent and dullard to find out why.])
I’ll now admit, for those still reading, all of this was an excuse to highlight this final passage from the Journal & Courier story:
She also teaches Mira!, a Christian alternative to Zumba.
“The Zumba classes I attended were very vulgar,” Douglas said. “There’s a lot of hip-shaking.”
The Mira! classes incorporate dance moves and are set to Christian music that typically has a Latin or rhythmic beat.
“But we just aren’t exaggerating the hip area,” Douglas said.
Yes, there is a Christian alternative to Zumba. That makes my weekend.
Posted by Steve