The Yoga Disease

Preface

It began with this factual article by Dr. Aseem Shukla who exposed the “theft of Yoga” in America. Dr. Shukla details out what we already knew: that Yoga has been appropriated by self-proclaimed “Masters” and “Yogis” and that it is a flourishing, $6-billion enterprise. But Dr. Shukla’s more crucial point is that Yoga has been steadily delinked from Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma from which it originates. And it’s pretty much free for all today, as Dr. Shukla notes that there are “themed (sic) Yogas:”

“Christ is my guru. Yoga is a spiritual discipline much like prayer, meditation and fasting [and] no one religion can claim ownership,” says a vocal proponent of “Christian themed” yoga practices. Some Jews practice Torah yoga, Kabbalah yoga and aleph bet yoga, and even some Muslims are joining the act.

And look who first took exception to Dr. Shukla’s piece: the millionaire “mystic,” and “healer,” Deepak Chopra. Which is logical given that Chopra is one of the early birds to cash in on the yet-unharvested bounty that Yoga offered to the materialistic mind. More on this in a little while.

Dr. Shukla in turn, responded to Chopra’s poorly-written, illogical, and accusatory piece, and calls Chopra’s bluff thus:

Indeed, Chopra is the perfect emissary to fire a salvo against my assertion that delinking Hinduism from its celebrated contributions to contemporary spiritual dialogue…The right messenger because Chopra is a principal purveyor of the very usurpation I sought to expose.

Deepak Chopra and his brand of highwaymen are ultra materialists who did two things phenomenally well: they made a near-perfect diagnosis of the societal ills of the USA and packaged their snakeoil to a similar level of perfection. They worked at the level of individuals. They didn’t say “you know, you and your family is fucked up and I have the cure,” but “you know, this healing/soul-body/consciousness/Yoga thing really works. And this is how it is done. It improves your health, reduces obesity, makes you flexible, puts you in touch with yourself…” In other words, How to win friends and influence people: the Yoga Edition. And Chopra & co were equipped with the right tools: a convent education back in India and stints at prestigious hospitals across the US. The tag of a medical doctor counts for a lot in the US (he’s a doc, he must know what he’s talking about) not to mention this:

IN Los Angeles a radio station plays tapes of the lectures of Deepak Chopra, the world-famous mind/body guru, late into the night. Chopra’s mellifluous, seductive, pukka Anglo-Indian voice wafts across the nocturnal southern Californian airwaves, dipping here into Ayurvedic medicine, there into quantum physics, offering simple connections to the “unfathomable mysteries of karma”, gentle guides to better health and intriguing promises of a body that will never age. A deliciously soothing cure for insomnia.

Read the underlined words again. The mellifluousness and seductiveness is an undeniable crowdpuller. All Google searches revealed one unanimous quality about Chopra: his masterly oratory, a quality common to successful politicians and leaders and among others, self-styled Gurus: remember Osho?

So is Deepak Chopra’s–and similar folks’–empire built only on sheer oratory and fluff? Does he know any Yoga and Hindu philosophy at all? As Dr. Shukla shows, Chopra is aware of these concepts and philosophies but refuses to as much as acknowledge them as rooted in Hinduism. Worse, he seeks to divorce them from Hinduism.

Which brings us to the next question: what exactly do Deepak Chopra & co teach/preach?

The Rape of Yoga

Most self-styled healers, Yoga and spiritual Gurus teach physical exercise not Yoga. In Yogic terminology, they teach asanas or postures and add some doses of Pranayama (breathing techniques/practices) and meditation. But their main ingredient is the generous booster-dose of “consciousness,” “liberation,” “ageless body,” “timeless mind,” “perfection,” “enlightenment,” “deeper aims of Existence,” “creation,” “Karma,” “afterlife,”….. However, they have no idea of the actual meaning of these terms, their origins, context of usage, and the philosophical systems that underlie them. But if they do know it, it’s even worse because they’re then consciously committing fraud.

But here’s the beauty: folks like Deepak Chopra don’t need to know the actual meaning of these terms because the average participant who enrolls in these courses is actually looking for this: a sense of hope and reassurance, and a solution to overcome the emptiness that has come to characterize (mostly) the Western society post the early 20th century. Yogasanas, meditation, and pranayama guarantee a sense of calmness, stability, and inner peace, which can only be experienced and is repeatable. However, this doesn’t mean those are the only benefits it bestows upon the practitioner. But to an empty mind, these positive benefits have an avalanche-like, and in some cases, a life-altering effect. And once people have experienced this, they’re willing to believe any tripe that’s packaged in the garb of Yoga.

The extent to which Yoga has been mangled today, especially in the US is incredible. It’s fashionable among even the lay folks to speak about stuff like the “different systems and schools of Yoga” and other balderdash out of absolute ignorance. The blame for this lies squarely on the doorstep of folks like Deepak Chopra.

At the very basics, we need to clearly distinguish between Yoga as a darshana, a system of philosophy from Yoga as we find in texts like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. This difference is akin to looking at the arati performed in temples and concluding that Santana Dharma is just this. A genuine Yoga teacher/Guru will explain this difference at the outset. Patanjali, the father of Yoga-as-a-system-of-philosophy, in his terse Yoga Sutras, talks about asanas in just two or three places in a total of 196 aphorisms. Even there, he simply says that it is recommended for a Yoga practitioner to sit in an asana that allows the mind to concentrate.

A genuine guru will also tell you about adhikari bheda, something I mentioned in an earlier post, from which I quote:

Adhikari bheda, which simply means that a student should first successfully complete all the previous courses before attempting to sit for an Engineering exam.

This is equally applicable in this case. Yoga is not for everybody: and I’m talking about aspirants who want to reach the final state of Yogic bliss or Samadhi. Asanas, pranayama, meditation, etc are merely aids for attaining Samadhi. According to tradition, only a person who has actually experienced Samadhi is qualified to teach them to others.

But what are the self-proclaimed Yoga Gurus actually teaching? “Healing,” “wellness,” “well-being,” “being attentive,” “mindfulness,” and related nonsense in the name of Yoga. For good reason. The purveyors of such terms are not self-realized souls, I suspect they haven’t ever experienced Samadhi (I challenge them to prove me wrong). They are but mere traders. Their mantras of “healing,” and “wellness” simply means: “I need to keep you coming to my classes, I want you to buy my CDs, DVDs and books.” This also explains the filthy trend of branding/patenting/trademarking–Bikram Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, etc–that has tarnished the original aims and goals of Yoga. Read this vomit-worthy “guideline” of using “Iyengar Yoga brand”:

I.6. Iyengar Yoga Teachers refrain from using the “figure and temple” trademark design registered with the United States Patent and Trade Mark Department in BKS Iyengar’s name. The use of this service mark is reserved for use by non-profit organizations comprised of students and friends of BKS Iyengar who meet the criteria of I.1 and are approved for such usage by the Service Mark Committee (Asteya).

This beautiful instance showcases the Art of Defecating in the Plate that You Eat out of. Asteya (non-covetousness), as one of the Yamas (absentions) of Patanjali Yoga, is twisted to mean “non-covetousness of BKS Iyengar’s brand of Yoga!” While Patanjali laid down this as one of the principles to be strictly adhered to in order to attain Samadhi, the “Iyengar brand” lays it down to prevent the leakage of a single dollar/cent/rupee/paisa from its coffers. And these Gurus lecture millions on righteousness, soul, rebirth, ego, Karma, and peace. The gulf as it’s already clear, lies in precept and practice.

Branding/claims of ownership goes against the very spirit of Yoga and indeed, the entire Indian ethos. Why does a guy who talks about liberation need to enter into multi-million dollar businesses with Richard Branson? Equally, why didn’t Patanjali or any other sage claim ownership on individual asanas and breathing practices?

Yoga is a Disease

A common factor characterizes most of these self-styled soul-savers and agents of liberation: they rarely, if never, enter into public debates. They’re content to ignore genuine criticism directed at them. For instance, read this biting dissection of Chopra’s “expert” views on Genes.

Deepak Chopra really is an embarrassment. I’ve tussled with his weird arguments before, and now he’s flounced onto the Huffington Post with another article (prompted by an article on human genetics in Time, but bearing almost no relationship to it) in which he reveals his profound ignorance of biology, in something titled The Trouble With Genes. Chopra is a doctor, supposedly, but every time I read something by him that touches on biology, he sounds as ignorant as your average creationist. He also writes incredibly poorly, bumbling his way forward with a succession of unlikely and indefensible claims. This latest article is one in which I think he’s trying to criticize the very idea of genes, but it’s more like he’s criticizing his own lack of knowledge. [...] Instead, though, what we get is the maunderings of a third-rate mind with no understanding of even decades-old ideas. Instead of revealing any working knowledge of biological thought, Chopra gives us a list of questions about the gene that he is wondering about, and also claiming that no one else understands, and babbling foolishly. Some of these would be good questions coming from a student who seriously wanted to learn, but coming from an M.D. who routinely pontificates on how your body works, and stated with such a stunning certainty that because he doesn’t know, no one else does either, this is an infuriating list. Can we get Chopra’s license to practice medicine revoked, if he has one?

This criticism needs to be taken really seriously because it is about Deepak Chopra’s primary area of expertise/profession. This criticism exposes his (lack of) credentials in that area. Given his unintelligible pontifications on his current area of “expertise” as a Guru/Healer/Mystic, we have a fairly reasonable conclusion: that Chopra relies more on his oratory and confidence in the power of the igorance of the masses (how many educated, laymen can understand genetics? If Dr.Chopra spins something about connecting it with past lives, it must be true. After all, he’s a doctor). This explains why he doesn’t engage in anything that seriously challenges him. But like most similar Gurus, he lets his loyal band of blind followers speak for him. Once in a while, when questioned, he comes up with acrid and illogical rejoinders.

Secondly, yoga did not originate in Hinduism as Prof. Shukla claims. Perhaps he has a fundamentalist agenda in mind, but he must know very well that the rise of Hinduism as a religion came centuries after the foundation of yoga in consciousness and consciousness alone. Religious rites and the worship of gods has always been seen as being in service to a higher cause, knowing the self.

The preacher of daily inspirations, and the unveiler of Spiritual Laws loses his cool so easily that he is compelled find hidden agendas in peoples’ minds instead of giving a factual rebuttal! And that, when Dr. Shukla hasn’t named anybody. Guilty conscience, doctor? Tch tch tch. Dr. Shukla has already given an effective rebuttal so I won’t touch that portion again. But, Dr.Chopra, the “fundamentalist” term has been hurled at Hindus enough times for us to know that you have a sizeable repertoire of jokes, your anger notwithstanding.

Before you accuse me that I’m singling out Deepak Chopra, let me tell you that I’m using him merely as an example, a celebrity case study if you will, of what I call the Yoga Disease that’s spread across the United States. It has been transformed into a disease because of the vile potion that Deepak Chopra & his ilk have injected into an otherwise noble philosophical system. On the other side, as Dr. Shukla says, Chopra doesn’t have even the basic gratitude to acknowledge the roots of the source of his magnificent empire. Now, some folks say that “Yoga doesn’t need his gratitude.” This is a braindead argument and it simply encourages others like him to steal from, and appropriate native traditions without acknowledgment.

Here’s something to Deepak Chopra who rants incoherently about Yoga being rooted in “consciousness alone.” By this token, Chopra must not sue me if I use one of his patented/trademarked/copyrighted snakeoil techniques and claim that it is rooted in “consciousness alone.” This applies equally to any self-proclaimed Guru trying to hide under a similar umbrella. I do not decry or call for these Gurus to stop teaching whatever techniques they are teaching but for heaven’s sake, give credit where it’s due, don’t misrepresent and most importantly, don’t blabber about things you don’t know. Teach asanas, etc by all means but call it by its name: don’t package it as philosophy or Yoga.

In parting, here’s a very fundamental point even the most informed critics of Deepak Chopra & co miss: a true Yoga Guru will not advertise his/her Gurudom. Think about it.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

122 comments for “The Yoga Disease

  1. November 23, 2010 at 11:11 PM

    Ever since the ancients yogis started the worship in yoga of deities there have been disagreements and contradictions within the system itself. Many want to express more of the feminine– with storytelling, art, and dance; while other wish emphasize meditation, austerities, and food medicine. Small guru and satguru communties have formed around these idealistic differences, and even evolved into other ‘religions’ as Zen. I think because we live in a ‘capitalistic’ era touting holistic health for women and others, we find that yoga adapts to fill the need. As these practitioners grow in the practice, they encounter inner images and other fellows to discover the ancients. I, myself, had a vision of Krishna very powerful, as I started my teaching practice at Harbin Hot Springs in 1979. The practice goes on, and many wonderful teachers, satgurus, and celebrations have occurred over the years. I felt very connection to Bhagavan Das before and while he was living at Harbin. Namaste, Elo Devi

  2. November 23, 2010 at 11:09 PM

    Ever since the ancients started the worship in yoga of deities there has been disagreement and
    contradictions within the system itself. Many want to express more of the feminine, with storytelling,
    art, and dance;while other wish emphasize meditation, austerities, and food medicine. Smalleguru and satguru communties have formed around these differences, and even evolved into other ‘religions’ as Zen. I think because we live in a ‘capitalistic’ era touting holistic health for women and others, we find that yoga adapts to fill the need. As these practitioners grow in the practice, they encounter inner images and other fellows to discover the ancients. I, myself, had a vision of Krishna very powerful, as I started my teaching practice at Harbin Hot Springs in 1979. The practice goes on, and many wonderful teachers, satgurus, and celebrations have occurred over the years. I felt very connection to Bhagavan Das before and while he was living at Harbin. Namaste, Elo Devi

  3. Kannan,Kerala
    June 17, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    Sandeepji,
    All your posts are “angry” posts..I think when you pen your thoughts to the blog,you should only lay cold arguments with passion..but plz do not contaminate it with “anger” and “negativity”.Just a request..coz when reading ur post..I feel lots of hostility.Its OK about politics..but when writing about Hindu philosophy where “nishkama karma” is so important even during war,you are contaminating your karma with anger.Dial it down..

  4. Vikram
    June 11, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Can somebody really patent yoga asans? In order to clear the air and clearly demarcate whether method of performing yoga can be patented, i have found an interesting post titled “Can a method of performing yoga be patented?”. i hope this will provide some clarity with regard to the subject. Link: http://indianipinfo.blogspot.com/2010/06/can-method-of-performing-yoga-be.html

  5. kaangeya
    June 3, 2010 at 8:47 AM

    If Deepak Chopra knew any Hinduism he should know a little Mimamsa too right? If he really did he would know that Mimamsa rejects the idea of consciousness!

  6. surya
    June 2, 2010 at 6:14 AM

    RE: Nick.
    I think ext links must be provided to substantiate any fact cited by an article writer from that source. However, general guidelines to any peer reviwed article writing expects a brief statement from the original source provided must be a part of the body of the article. Just providing a link and not mentioning what the link is provided for is not scientific. Merely confusing. A generic statement- that Dr. A is talking nonsense please see the link provided- is incorrect way to write a scientific paper. The said nonsense must be qualified. If it is true then Nick has a point. If the fact (from the article cited) is mentioned in Sandeeps article Nick,then has no case here.

    Dont stretch too much on Nicks english comment and anger comment. His demand to ‘tell me who is copying from whom (plagiarism)’ is justified.Basrardization comment was a perfect contextual fit in his write up.Cheers. Surya, chicago

  7. Ot
    May 24, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    Offtopic:

    You might want to take this opinion poll and encourage your friends to do so too. :-)

    http://bit.ly/bZQesY

  8. Smith JM
    May 20, 2010 at 8:02 AM

    Excellent article by Prof David Kertzer. It should be an eye opener for all Indians.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/09/opinion/the-modern-use-of-ancient-lies.html?pagewanted=1

    The concluding para is very relevant to Indian faiths.

    Given the historical role of Christianity in promulgating such hatred, it is not unreasonable to hope that church leaders will face their own past with clear eyes. They should be among the first to call attention to these lies, and they should be among the loudest in their condemnation of them.

    Indians should read about the history of what has happened in the past in other countries, esp with the Jews. The same tactics may be operative today in Asia.

  9. S
    May 19, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    “If there’s nothing substantial that distinguishes Christian yoga from the original Hindu Yoga, except the name, then the implications are not good. For it shows that Christians are so insecure that the influence of the good stuff of other faiths on their flock worries them insane. Here in India we celebrate composite culture, you know. We like Muslim food like garlic naan and biryani and we appeciate the Muslim contribution to Hindustani music. But American Christianity seems to be intolerant of composite culture. That bothers me because a lot of Indian churches are hq’d in the West and they get lots of $$ you know. The possibility that the insecurity and bigotry of western churches is imported into India cannot be ruled out. ”

    You mentioned “American Christianity”. Churches in America are of the Protestant variety though Catholicism (the mother cult of christianity) does have bases (churches) here and there. Most of the U.S. South is radical protestant Christian and the terrorists of Nagaland are Baptists. The Presbytarians are active in the state of Mizoram. The Baptists are regarded as radicals even by the Christians themselves and they are the bigger threat (read up about the situation in Manipur, where the Maitei Hindus have been ordered to become christians by May 31 or else face annihilation). In all there are 30,000 different cults of christianity but India faces the biggest threat from Vatican (controller of most mass media including press agencies in India), Baptists, Presbytarians, Methodists, Seventh day Adventists and the Lutherans.

  10. RC
    May 19, 2010 at 1:57 AM

    Here is an interview with a rep from the Hindu American Foundation. They do good work. The girl is a very good spokesperson for the Take Back Yoga campaign. The interview is about 7-10 minutes in. But the show itself doesn’t have much traction.

    http://www.stateofbelief.com/show-archive/234-may-1-2-2010

    May 1-2, 2010

    This weekend on State of Belief, how do people of faith feel about immigration? A leading pollster and a representative from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops discuss the religious case for a humane approach to this controversial issue. Plus, the Hindu American Foundation weighs in on what they’ve called the theft of yoga and we’ve got a look at some of the week’s top religion stories with ReligionDispatches’ Peter Laarman.
    Don’t miss Welton’s own thoughts on religious freedom and the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

    This week’s guests:

    Peter Laarman is Executive Director of Progressive Christians Uniting, a network of activist individuals and congregations.

    Sheetal Shah is the Director of Development and Outreach for the Hindu American Foundation.

    Robert P. Jones is CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization in Washington, DC. His group recently released a study called Religion, Values and Immigration Reform.

    Kevin Appleby is Director of the Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    Religion and Radio done differently – this weekend on State of Belief.

  11. OverTheHill
    May 16, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    @OT 7:55
    Probably left in the nick of time, so to speak.
    Mr. If-you-dont-agree-with-me-you-are-angry Nick, who was repeatedly threatening that his next post was going to be the last one, kept coming back, a glutton for punishment.
    But who knows, he might return (and not return, like Macarthur).

  12. Brendan
    May 16, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    Hi Sandeep

    I really appreciate this blog post about the Yoga Disease…it is the exact subject I was hoping I would find when I discovered your blog….check out these other blog posts below about Deepak Chopra, the origins of yoga etc… I think you will be interested in the comments where several comments attempt to defend Chopra and also de-link yoga from Hinduism

    http://www.yogadork.com/2010/04/26/yoga-beef-deepak-chopra-vs-aseem-shukla-on-yoga-hinduism-and-western-egos/

    http://www.yogadork.com/2010/04/29/yoga-and-hinduism-deepak-chopra-vs-aseem-shukla-beef-continues-with-fervor-religious-and-non/

    http://www.yogadork.com/2010/04/29/yoga-and-hinduism-deepak-chopra-vs-aseem-shukla-beef-continues-with-fervor-religious-and-non/

  13. Ot
    May 16, 2010 at 7:55 AM

    I have asked passionate Nick to put his anger management tips aside and focus on Christian Yoga instead, and guess what, my suggestion made him so angry he vamoosed. Can at least a Jack or Blake or Chiramel step forward to take the conversation forward?

  14. May 13, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    Hindus have no one to blame but themselves. THIS IS CULTURE WAR PEOPLE! FIGHT IT!

  15. Gyan
    May 11, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    @SimthJ
    I went through the links. They are eye opening.
    @Sandeep
    There is a need to create a kind of Internet Watchdog, which will keep track of anything that tries to misappropriate the Hindu heritage. It will catch the misinformation at its inception and give a suitable rebuttal through blog comments, articles, etc. A few people, who can afford, give their time and energies.
    Wrong information has to be fought with Correct Information.
    You cannot stop them, but you can check them.

  16. Smith JM
    May 11, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    “The path to God lies through me.” Exactly well said. Just because the Jews did not accept the Son of God concept , the act of Pilate , the Roman Emperor was transferred to punish the Jews. This continued till 1945. Just count in the number of years for this grand act.

    Can you imagine a greater misappropriation than this?

    There is an excellent web site of Prof David Kertzer from Brown University. Just go thru this and you will know this stupendous act of misappropriation. Here is his web site and some of his books also.

    This is a true story. Got thru this.
    http://www.davidkertzer.com/books/kidnapping_of_edgardo_mortara.html
    See his web site and go on clicking on the books.
    http://www.davidkertzer.com/

    I visit Ramana Ashram , whenever I get time. I like his philosophy of conquering the “I” I was travelling in a bus to Madras ( Chennai) with a group if Indian , pilgrims. Somewhere discussing an article the internet Hindus ( Indians). I kept smiling at them and said hello. I joined in the conversation and told them that if it was not for the internet , your passive resistance for correcting misappropriation , would not have succeeded. The internet is a great boon to Indian faith.

    Whenever I do my simple yogic exercises, I always pay my respects to Patanjali. Let anybody say anything about the credits for Yoga , I will do my Namaste to Sage Patanjali.

  17. Gyan
    May 11, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    @Ot

    Your point is relevant. Western cultures have huge problem in giving credit to where it is due. This attribute makes them plainly dishonest in their interactions with the people and cultures of other countries.

    I remember the days when I was doing my Post Graduation in Science. At the time some eminent Indian scientists, who had left USA for good after working there for long periods, were making the rounds of all major Indian Universities, trying to educate students about their experiences in the USA. They told the following-

    1. Most of the time Indian scientists do not get credit for their work.
    2. Their papers are not published in established scientific journals unless it was co-authored by some white scientist. Sometimes they had to just give the name of an American scientist even if he was not at all associated with the research.
    3. That white scientist’s name should be the first name in the paper, even if the original research is done by an Indian.
    4. That way all the research done by Indian scientists ended up being attributed to some White Man.
    5. No awards were given to Indians unless they were jointly shared by a White scientist.

    ..and so on. They were advising the students to abstain from going to USA and find opportunities here.
    Still our best minds went there. I am now out of touch with them, so do not know what happened to them!

    Regarding Christian Yoga, I came across the following site- http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/altsite/index.htm

    There are various contributors. Some have given a little credit to Hinduism, some have tried to reconcile the Yoga philosophy with Christian philosophy, while some have plainly rejected the Hindu legacy.

    Their main problem lies in the fact that Jesus said – “The path to God lies through me.” That is their biggest problem. They have to go by The Book.

    While Hinduism strives to make you capable of witnessing the God, and you are given the tools and you may witness the God for yourself with your own efforts, do not take me on my words – that was the approach of our sages. In Abrahamic faiths that is not so. You have to take the word of the Book. Take it or leave it!

    We are open to reconciliation. They are not. That is a philosophical dilemma.

    I think Nick can help us here – the reason/logic being his biggest weapon.

  18. Ot
    May 11, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    Hello Nick,

    How do you do. I was eagerly waiting for yoga-related arguments from you; sans too much passion of course. Surely, Sandeep is not the only person around here who knows something about the subject. Surely, others are knowledgeable too, and surely, they aren’t shooting their imbecile mouths off without having a clue what they are talking about.

    For instance, I am intrigued about this thing called “Christian Yoga”. From the name, I infer that it is positioned as an alternative to Yoga, which is known to be Hindu in origin, for if it weren’t, the competitor might as well be called “American Yoga”, “Bay Area Yoga”, “Beltway Yoga” or “My Pastor Invented This Yoga”.. So we have this Christian Yoga. What exactly is it, then? Is it aimed, for example, at training Catholic priests to keep their minds off little boys? Does the seershaasana of Christian yoga also require reading from the bible aloud while in that position? Is the savaasaana mandated to be performed lying down inside a coffin, lid closed? I really want to know what the key differentiators of Christian yoga are.

    If there’s nothing substantial that distinguishes Christian yoga from the original Hindu Yoga, except the name, then the implications are not good. For it shows that Christians are so insecure that the influence of the good stuff of other faiths on their flock worries them insane. Here in India we celebrate composite culture, you know. We like Muslim food like garlic naan and biryani and we appeciate the Muslim contribution to Hindustani music. But American Christianity seems to be intolerant of composite culture. That bothers me because a lot of Indian churches are hq’d in the West and they get lots of $$ you know. The possibility that the insecurity and bigotry of western churches is imported into India cannot be ruled out.

    So it is imperative that we Indians comprehend in detail what this Chrtistian Yoga is all about. Perhaps you can make a valuable contribution there, without too much passion of course.

    Warm regards.

  19. Ot
    May 10, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    Hola Nick,

    I am glad you admit that you are consumed by a burning passion when you are writing such large amounts of stuff on this blog. Now, I don’t think passion by itself is any problem, just as any emotion by itself isn’t, but dumping so much non-content, without focusing on the matter at hand, may suggest the possibility that you are not in control of your passion. Now, _that_ is a problem: allowing your passion to get the better of you. Have you heard of the term “dispassionate analysis”? Why is a dispassionate analysis supposed to be a good thing? Because too much passion clouds judgement. It is not without reason that dispassionate analyses are often brief, factual and focused on substance. I am not saying that passion and anger are necessarily enemies of reason and logic; but I have seen too many passionate people ramble on and blabber away. I met a dude on a different blog a few months ago. The chap was publishing voluminous essays on liberal conservatism. Very passionate about the subject. I suggested to him to focus on facts. He took some time to do it, but once he did, began to make sense. Yes, dealing in facts actually takes a lot more time, research and energy than producing a 1000-word essay on anger management. But facts are always the best strategy when making a point. (Maybe they are a bad strategy when one has no point to make, ha ha ha! I guess it’s some well-known Yank who said: “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit”!!)

    Anyways, to reiterate, I admire passion in people. But I like a good argument better. I’ll keep coming here to appreciate yours but looks like it’s gonna take some time before you make one because currently your passion is centered on anger management tutorials.

    Warm regards.

Leave a Comment