Diggin the Yoga Controversy

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Controversy is awesome, it’s actually what makes the world go round. Different opinions, perspectives and beliefs all come together to create diversity. Speaking of which, a hot controversial topic is yoga!  This post is based on an article I read and submitted to Digg, called “5 Most Controversial Topics in Yoga.” Click here to see the link. 

 

http://spoiledyogi.blogspot.ca/2010/07/5-most-controversial-topics-in-yoga.html

 

  There are 5 main points of discussion: 

1. Being a vegetarian

2. Religion

3. Yoga and money

4. Yoga is for girls only (no way!)

5. Yoga at the gym
                 
My own personal opinion, as well as the comments that are at the bottom of the link I posted above, led me to submitting this article to Digg. The purpose of my Digg submission and of my blog post today is to bring these controversial issues out into the open! As a yoga teacher I am constantly looking for ways to reach out to my students and I want to hear what you think. What makes you comfortable? Is chanting AUM too much? How do you feel about yoga at the gym? Guys, what makes a yoga class great for you?

This article captured my attention for two reasons. The first is that it’s hard to find an interesting yoga article which talks about controversial subjects in yoga. Most yoga blogs discuss the benefits of yoga, different poses, life philosophy, stress relief etc… There are many different yoga topics out there that people agree or disagree with but not everyone is talking about these issues. Thus, leading me to my second reason. If you scroll down to the bottom of the article you will see some very strong opinions on these 5 topics.  

Of the 5 points listed above, no. 2 on religion got the most heat. Are you surprised? This also happens to be a topic that I feel strongly about. To be clear, I don’t follow any particular religion. However, I do incorporate philosophical and spiritual themes into my classes as I believe this is what separates yoga from other types of fitness. 

Going back to the beginning, the birth place of yoga is India (B.C.), where Hinduism and Buddhism played a role, at the time. However, we as people have evolved and thus yoga has evolved into a much broader idea. Iyengar (one of the first teachers to bring yoga to the west) states that yoga is the study of all religions. He compares yoga to a science. 

Today, yoga has become this diverse blend of philosophical, spiritual and anatomical wonder with the sole purpose of making people feel good — both physically and mentally. I personally started yoga for the physical benefits and now those are secondary to the mental clarity and new perspectives I’ve gained from yoga philosophy.

        Regardless of your religious rigor, I believe that yoga offers a beautiful blend of well-being — spiritual, philosophical and physical — to create a world of personal harmony.

What are your thoughts on yoga and religion? 

 

“Being spiritual is connecting meaning to the physical – that is all.”

                                         Hatha Yoga Pradipika 

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