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

http://faithbookorthodoxy.wordpress.com

FAITHBOOK – ORTHODOXY

What about Yoga & Orthodoxy?

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/80417.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

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]

 

* * *

Notes:

[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.

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

http://orthodoxyislove.wordpress.com

ORTHODOXY IS LOVE

How is Υoga connected with Hinduism?

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/80417.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

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”

The Uncreated Map: Christ as the Light of Yoga – Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, Alaska, USA

https://alaskaofmyheart.wordpress.com

ALASKA OF MY HEART

The Uncreated Map: Christ as the Light of Yoga

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani,

Alaska, USA

Source:

https://deathtotheworld.com

The Uncreated Map: Christ as the Light of Yoga

DEATH TO THE WORLD

I’m reminded of pilgrims at the Himalayan foothills seeking passage around the icy mouth of the Ganges River. Among these hikers were two very different men, one an intelligent geologist and the other a simple backpacker.

The geologist put every trust in his mind.

As he told others, “I know all there is about the composition of mountains and valleys. I know how they’re formed and why they’re here. Look, I understand everything and really don’t need backcountry camping lessons, nor do I have time to get in shape for this journey.”

So, he left unprepared, but very confident for the hard journey ahead.

Meanwhile, the simple backpacker didn’t count on his intelligence alone. Rather, he worked out every day, getting his body into good health, also while getting to know the locals who passed through these mountains. He learned where to find shelter, what places and people to avoid, and knew precisely where he was going. He was very humble about this undertaking.

At the first snowstorm the first man panicked. He forgot all about geology and his journey grew difficult and painful. The simpler man, however, brought to mind what he learned from those before him, drawing on ancient wisdom and, remembering his maps, actually wound around these mountains with much effort but safely.

One man arrived from his journey to new land.

The proud man was never found.

The secret closet, man’s heart, is the starting place where we embark on this journey. It is concealed by many thorns and bushes, within the folds of our passions, thoughts and ego. Our life, then, may seem a Russian nesting doll. When Christ comes like a gardener, we may not recognize Him. Sometimes it is only when we don’t experience Him, though, that like the Prodigal Son we remember His bread and turn to face Him, which is what repentance is all about.

When we taste life apart from Him, which is not truly life but pigs and husks, we experience a foretaste of hell. This often has profound effects upon a Continue reading “The Uncreated Map: Christ as the Light of Yoga – Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, Alaska, USA”

The Impossibility of Aloneness: When Christ Found Me in the Himalayas – Joseph Magnus Frangipani, Alaska, USA

http://conversionstoorthodoxy.wordpress.com

CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY

The Impossibility of Aloneness: When Christ Found Me in the Himalayas

By Joseph Magnus Frangipani, Alaska, USA

Printed in Issue 24 – Death to the World

Source:

http://deathtotheworld.com

http://deathtotheworld.comthe-impossibility-of-aloneness-when-christ-found-me-in-the-himalayas/

DEATH TO THE WORLD

I’m an Orthodox Christian living in Homer, Alaska and experienced Jesus Christ in the Himalayas, in India.

I listen to the heartbeat of rain outside…

Cold, Alaskan fog blowing in off the bay, emerald hills now that autumn is here and summer chased away into the mountains. But a milky white fog spreads over the bay like a silken ghost. I used to visit Trappist monasteries, back when I was Catholic, at the beginning of high school, and searching for a relationship of love. I read plenty of philosophy then to know that knowing isn’t enough, that having a realization in the mind is entirely different from experiencing a revelation of the heart.

I spent two birthdays in the Himalayas…

Traveling along gravel roads that drop deep into icy gulches where the Ganges river rages below not yet packed with the filth and mud and newspapers of villages, not yet carrying remainders of Indians in her current, I found Christ found me. It’s a difficult and strangely compelling atmosphere to confront oneself, – – India, – – sandwiched with black corpses, white snow, pagan fires and virulent animals.

I took a bus north from Delhi. It was crowded, tight and cramped, flies buzzed between my face and the windows smeared with brown slime. It’s so Continue reading “The Impossibility of Aloneness: When Christ Found Me in the Himalayas – Joseph Magnus Frangipani, Alaska, USA”

Should Christians practice Yoga? – Jeremy Butler

http://heartquestionsandanswers.wordpress.com

HEART QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Should Christians practice Yoga?

by Jeremy Butler

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a practice that has become very popular in the United States. According to a 2008 study, there are 15.8 million Americans who practice Yoga. Before we can answer whether Christian’s should practice yoga or not, we need to define what Yoga is.

Yoga is a practice found in all sects of Hinduism. There are different types of yoga, but all are touted as a means to achieve unity with the divine and thus to earn salvation. There are several practices within Yoga. These include, but are not limited to meditation, repetition of sacred sounds or syllables (typically “Ohm”), breathing techniques, acrobatic exercises, and positioning one’s body in difficult postures.

Meditation is central to all forms of Yoga. Meditation helps its practitioners to be able to find release from the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. “Yoga is a method of spiritual training whose purpose is to integrate or unite the self. A physical exercise, its goal is nonphysical-uniting with God. Yoga teaches that people should attempt to yoke the individual spirit to God, to Continue reading “Should Christians practice Yoga? – Jeremy Butler”

On Spiritual Deception – Fr. Dcn. Charles Joiner, South Carolina, USA

http://orthodox-heart-sites.blogspot.com

ORTHODOX HEART SITES

On Spiritual Deception

by Fr. Dcn. Charles Joiner

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

Deacon at Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral,

Greenville, South Carolina Area, USA

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/10/on-spiritual-deception/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

The author of the Orthodox Way of Life blog, Fr. Dcn. Charles tells it like it is.

Having recently discovered that throughout much of my Christian life I was involved with “spiritual deception,” I find it necessary now to seek ways to fully understand and totally reject this error.

My deception began with a well meaning pastor at the United Methodist Church where I grew up. I asked him,

“Why are there so many different religions? How can we say that the Christian way the the best way?”

His answer was,

“There are many paths to God. Ours is the most direct and easiest path.”

He did not know how to answer this question from a true Christian perspective and advise me of the struggle that I would necessarily face. I now know that what he taught me was a serious deception. It is very clear now that the other paths will not lead to a God-oriented spiritual life and union with God. They only lead one to a life of self-satisfaction and greater pride.

Jesus Christ came after these early attempts to reach God which were inadequate and showed all mankind how to gain union with God. He showed us the need for extreme humility in our relationship with God. He showed us a path that involves purifying ourselves and continually struggling against many things, yet relying on God’s will. I discovered that the path He opened for us is not an easy path.

It is a difficult one along which we are easily deceived by seeking pleasures though various forms of meditation, yoga and others activities, taught by well meaning teachers from other eastern religions who have not discovered for themselves the way of Jesus Christ.

I now know this from experience, having experimented with Vedanta, a Hindu religion, Buddhism, and Eastern forms of meditation. Regrettably, I even led an effort to find the Continue reading “On Spiritual Deception – Fr. Dcn. Charles Joiner, South Carolina, USA”

About Yoga – Journey to Orthodoxy

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http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/?s=yoga

About Yoga

Journey to Orthodoxy