Monday, July 1, 2013

Yoga is my Practice - not my Religion

Earlier this year my yoga classmates were talking about the California parents who were suing their school district for teaching yoga classes, claiming that yoga is a religion. Today a judge ruled that it is not a religion and can continue. The parents plan to appeal.

I have only been practicing yoga for two and one-half years.   I wish I had started years ago.  I go to classes three, sometimes four, times a week. Never once has there been any reference to any religious aspect. We start class in the lotus position, or as close as most of us old-timers can get to it, and are told to focus our thoughts inward and deepen our breathing.

When I was growing up, this position was called 'Indian-style', but that term is not PC so it is no longer used. I really doubt that American Indians call it 'criss-cross applesauce'. Anyway, my instructor (who is Jewish) says that I should not take for granted the fact that I can get my knees down on the floor. Fortunately, I have great mobility in my hips and knees. Must be from all that gardening.

Yoga has been a great way to develop flexibility and strength.  Sometimes I amaze myself at what I have accomplished in class,  especially considering the spinal surgery and two leg surgeries I have had in the last few years.

Yoga is my practice; there is nothing religious about it.  I am not a religious person and am not going to suddenly start start practicing an Eastern faith as a result of doing downward facing dog.

These parents should be more worried about the physical health of their children and their ability to deal with the stresses of school, rather than whether or not they are being indoctrinated to a religion through breathing techniques.  What a waste of precious taxpayer dollars.

Here is one of my favorite poses:



  1. I am sorry, Denise. I shan't be able to comment. I am too busy scraping my jaw off the floor. Seriously, is that you in the picture? I am amazed. If I tried something like that, I'd have random body parts making loud, painful noises before falling apart with a thud. :)
    And yes, I agree. Yoga is no religion.

  2. That's an interesting pose. Have never tried touching the floor with my head while doing that. Must try it tomorrow morning.

    Do you do Surya Namaskars? I find them very useful for the back, as I spend long hours in front of the computer.

    Yes, Yoga is certainly not a religion. For one, we don't worship any deity in Yoga or Pranayam. It's just a system of healthy living, I guess.

    Enjoyed reading your write-up. Are you attempting the UBC too this month?

  3. People do get the oddest ideas. I learned T'ai Chi when living in NC and people would tear down my teacher's ads and do other nasty things because they didn't think it was Christian. Amazing what is done in the name of religion.

    I too am very impressed, I couldn't do that in a million years.

  4. OK. Not me in the photo, but my teacher keeps telling me to bring my camera. As for sun salutations, I should do them every day, but do do parts of the cycle at least during my practice. I am not participating in the UBC because I thought I would be busy in the garden. HAH. All it does here is rain.

  5. Why do things still flabbergast me? Parents really do have too much time on their hands,don't they?

    Lucy from Lucy's Reality


I love to hear your comments and will try to reply on this blog and visit your blog when available.