What about Yoga & Orthodoxy? – Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA



What about Yoga & Orthodoxy?

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA





Yoga is a psychosomatic practice, an interaction between mind, body, and spirit(s). We must remember the word ‘yoga’ means ‘yoke,’ like the wooden crosspiece fastened over the necks of animals attached to the plow. St. Paul warns us, Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?[18]

Yoga isn’t Scriptural nor is it otherwise part of our Church’s Holy Tradition. Everything we’re looking for, everything, can be found in and through the Orthodox Church. So what would we want from yoga?

It is important to know that in yoga, as well as many mystical schools, strange lights may accompany practitioners but these are often from demons or created lights of the mind, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.[19] Many have and are following the ‘spiritual fireworks’ of the so-called ‘new’ age. Of course, this is not the Uncreated Light experienced by Moses and the disciples on Mount Tabor. It is not the Divine Light St. Gregory Palamas defended in the 14th century against western scholasticism. Direct knowledge of God is possible, and direct experience, but knowledge and experience of evil is also certainly available. We have freewill to choose whom and what we seek. This, of course, requires discernment and testing, where accountability before an experienced priest or elder is absolutely necessary. Indispensable, too, is heartfelt participation in the Mysteries of the Church. We do better looking into the mysteries of our hearts than entertaining these imaginations of the head.

Furthermore, something should be said in relation to the claim that ‘pop’ forms of gym yoga carry no danger or threat to a practitioner. Someone who holds such an opinion is either ignorant of, or chooses to ignore, the many warnings that appear in the eastern yoga manuals concerning the Hatha yoga that is practiced in such classes. Is the instructor aware of these warnings and able to guarantee that no harm will come to the student?

In his book Seven Schools of Yoga, Ernest Wood begins his description of Hatha yoga by stating, “I must not refer to any of these Hatha Yoga practices without sounding a severe warning. Many people have brought upon themselves incurable illness and even madness by practicing them without providing the proper conditions of body and mind. The yoga books are full of such warnings…. For example, the Gheranda Samhita announces that if one begins the practices in hot, cold or rainy weather, diseases will be contracted, and also if there is not moderation in diet, for only one half the stomach must ever be filled with solid food…. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika states that control of breath must be brought about very gradually, ‘as lions, elephants and tigers are tamed,’ or ‘the experimenter will be killed,’ and by any mistake there arises cough, asthma, head, eye and ear pains, and many other diseases.” Wood concludes his warning about posture and breathing yoga by saying, “I should like to make it clear that I am not recommending these practices, as I hold that all Hatha Yogas are extremely dangerous”.[20]

If an Orthodox Christian wants to exercise, he or she may swim, jog, hike, walk, and do stretching exercises, aerobics, or Pilates.[21] These are safe alternatives to yoga. We can also offer prostrations before God. The Church doesn’t want any of us to be unhealthy or unhappy. We should trust the prescriptions of our Mother the Church and follow them as best as our ability, and the grace of God, allows. No one should try to extend the life of the body at the expense of the soul.

Above all, we mustn’t trust our own judgment. We must be accountable to someone.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.[22]

As Orthodox Christians, we know that the actions of our bodies, such as bows, prostrations, and making the sign of the Cross have a relationship to the state of our soul before the True God. Why would we ever chance copying bodily actions that for centuries have been directly related to the worship of demons? Such actions could have serious consequences for both our soul and body which belong to Christ.

May we be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.[23]


* * *


[18] 2 Corinthians 6:14.

[19] 2 Corinthians 11:14.

[20] The Sandilya Upanishad gives similar warnings. See Seven Schools of Yoga, by Ernest Wood, pgs. 78-79.

[21] Pilates is a perfectly safe and appropriate alternative to yoga. A mental fitness system aiding flexibility, strength and focus, Pilates is a conditioning routine emphasizing coordination, balance and breathing. Studies have also shown that stretching exercises are an effective alternative to yoga in treating lower back pain.

[22] Proverbs 3:5.

[23] Matthew 10:16.


Η μεταστροφή ενός Αμερικανού από τον από τον Βουδισμό στην Ορθοδοξία – Από τα Βουδιστικά μοναστήρια του Θιβέτ, Μοναχός στα Ορθόδοξα Μοναστήρια της Αμερικής



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Η μεταστροφή ενός Αμερικανού

από τον από τον Βουδισμό στην Ορθοδοξία


Από τα Βουδιστικά μοναστήρια του Θιβέτ,

Μοναχός στα Ορθόδοξα Μοναστήρια

της Αμερικής



«Βρέθηκα περιστοιχισμένος ἀπ’ τίς πέντε ψηλότερες κορυφές τῶν Ἱμαλαΐων, στά 14.000 πόδια ὑψόμετρο. Χάζευα τήν ὀροσειρά Annapurna καθώς ἀνέτειλε πάνω της ὁ ἥλιος. Τό ταξίδι μου στό Nepal εἶχε ἀρχίσει πρίν λίγες ἑβδομάδες καί τό ἀποκορύφωμά του ἦταν αὐτό. Στεκόμουν ἔκθαμβος ἑνώπιον τῆς ἀδιάφθορης ὁμορφιᾶς πού ἁπλωνόταν πάνω ἀπό μένα, ὅταν μιά σκέψι τρύπωσε στό νοῦ καί δέν ἔλεγε νά φύγη: “Αἴ καί, λοιπόν, ποιός ὁ σκοπός;”. Ὁ ἐγωϊσμός μου ἀμέσως ἀνταπάντησε στό τυχαῖο αὐτό σχόλιο: “Ποιός ὁ σκοπός; Τί ἐννοεῖς, ποιός ὁ σκοπός; Ὁ σκοπός εἶναι πώς ἔκανες τόση πεζοπορία γιά νά δῆς αὐτά τά βουνά. Λοιπόν, ἀπόλαυσέ τα τώρα!”. Καί, ὅμως, ἡ σκέψι ἐκείνη ταλάνιζε τό νοῦ μου. Ναί, ἦταν ὄντως ἀπ’ τά ὡραιότερα θεάματα τά ὁποῖα εἶχα δεῖ ποτέ καί χαιρόμουν τή στιγμή αὐτή, ἀλλά, ποῦ θά βρίσκωνται τά συναισθήματα αὐτά αὔριο, πού δέν θά εἶμαι πιά τόσο πολύ ἐμπνευσμένος; Ἡ χαρά τοῦ κόσμου αὐτοῦ ποτέ δέν μπόρεσε νά μοῦ δώση ἱκανοποίησι. Θά ἔπρεπε νά τό εἶχα ἀντιληφθῆ κατά τή διάρκεια τῆς ζωῆς μου, ἀλλά Continue reading “Η μεταστροφή ενός Αμερικανού από τον από τον Βουδισμό στην Ορθοδοξία – Από τα Βουδιστικά μοναστήρια του Θιβέτ, Μοναχός στα Ορθόδοξα Μοναστήρια της Αμερικής”

How is Υoga connected with Hinduism? – Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA



How is Υoga connected with Hinduism?

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA





To be clear, Hinduism does not refer to a specific religion. It is a term the British gave to the various cults, philosophies and shamanistic religions of India. If you ask one Hindu if he believes in God, he may tell you that you are God. But ask another, and he will point to a rock, or statue, or a flame of fire. This is Hindu polarity: either you are God, or everything else is a god.

Yoga is beneath this umbrella of Hinduism, and in many ways is the pole of the umbrella. It acts as a missionary arm for Hinduism and the New Age outside of India.[9] Hinduism is like an extraordinary Russian nesting doll: you open one philosophy and within it are ten thousand more.

And the unopened ones are risks. You may swim easily and carelessly in waters you do not know. But unaware of the tides and nuances of the area, you may be in danger. You may be swept away by the undertow. You may cut yourself against unseen rocks and contract imperceptible infection and poison.

This happens in the spiritual life.

When we dive in the ocean, we may be attracted to the brightest, most colorful and intriguing fish but the most colorful and exotic are often the most poisonous and deadly.

The first time I visited India, I took off my shoes and socks and walked through the water, coconuts, discarded candy and shimmering fire of Kalkaji Temple. It Continue reading “How is Υoga connected with Hinduism? – Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA”

Orthodox Heart Sites

Orthodox Heart Sites

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY – MULTILINGUAL ORTHODOXY – EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH – ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΙΑ – ​SIMBAHANG ORTODOKSO NG SILANGAN – 东正教在中国 – ORTODOXIA – 日本正教会 – ORTODOSSIA – อีสเทิร์นออร์ทอดอกซ์ – ORTHODOXIE – 동방 정교회 – PRAWOSŁAWIE – ORTHODOXE KERK -​​ නැගෙනහිර ඕර්තඩොක්ස් සභාව​ – ​СРЦЕ ПРАВОСЛАВНО – BISERICA ORTODOXĂ –​ ​GEREJA ORTODOKS – ORTODOKSI – ПРАВОСЛАВИЕ – ORTODOKSE KIRKE – CHÍNH THỐNG GIÁO ĐÔNG PHƯƠNG​ – ​EAGLAIS CHEARTCHREIDMHEACH​ – ​ ՈՒՂՂԱՓԱՌ ԵԿԵՂԵՑԻՆ​​ – Abel-Tasos Gkiouzelis – http://gkiouzelis.wordpress.comhttp://gkiouzelis.blogspot.com – Email: gkiouz.abel@gmail.com – Feel free to Continue reading “Orthodox Heart Sites”

Are you Christian? Forget about doing Yoga! – The Church would like people to replace Yoga with Prayer



Are you Christian? Forget about doing Yoga!

The Church would like people to replace Yoga with Prayer

The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church reacted to the UN’s decision to designate June 21 as International Day of Yoga in 2014. The Holy Synod’s statement says that the practice of yoga has “no place in the lives of Christians” since it is a fundamental aspect of Hinduism and as such is not considered a “form of exercise” but of worship!

Though praised for its calming effect and wellness, Christians are urged to seek the same comfort in God – not hindu practises. After all, the postures of yoga were created as adulation to 330 million Hindu gods. The postures are viewed in the Hindu faith as offerings to gods that in Christianity are considered to be idols.

Furthermore, a third of yoga is concerned with emptying the mind – a contradiction to what Christianity teaches. In the Christian faith, there is free choice and transformation through renewal. Furthermore, astral travel that yoga guides people into is a practise that the church continues to frown upon.

“For this reason, yoga is totally incompatible with our Christian Orthodox faith and it has no place in the life of Christians,” the statement said, even though it added that the the Church respects religious freedom.