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”

Video: La svolta, storie di conversione al Cristianesimo – Tatiana Goritcheva ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Italian

http://italyofmyheart.wordpress.com

ITALY OF MY HEART

La svolta, storie di conversione al Cristianesimo

Tatiana Goritcheva

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”

On Christianity and Yoga from a former adherent of the latter – Dmitry Druzhinin

http://havefaithorthodoxy.wordpress.com

HAVE FAITH – ORTHODOXY

On Christianity and Yoga from a former adherent of the latter

Dmitry Druzhinin

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/115927.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

Walking along the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Kaluga or any other large city will be enough to get added evidence that today yoga is a popular and widespread phenomenon. Yoga advertising posters, if not signboards of yoga centers, will inevitably catch your eye. Or you can get on the internet instead of going outside. For instance, the Yandex Russian top search engine has as many as 850 million search results for the query “yoga” compared to only 474 million results for the query “Orthodoxy” (that is, half as many results).

As we know, the Soviet Union collapsed, and its godless ideology wasn’t replaced with a new one. On the contrary, the state declared that it wouldn’t support any ideology thenceforth. But that’s not how life works. For the absence of ideology is a kind of an ideology in itself and it has contributed to the unprecedented propagation of the ideas that had been banned and oppressed by the atheist state for decades. The Church came out from the underground too. However, the minds and hearts of the overwhelming majority of the former Soviet citizens were captivated by other phenomena and teachings the representatives of which emerged, made themselves known, and immediately began to “preach” on TV, the internet, in the press and other mass media. These were psychics, sorcerers, astrologers, fortune-tellers, adherents of alternative medicine, and, of course, yogis…

What are the similarities between yoga and materialism?

What attracts people to yoga? In my case, it was a thirst for something mysterious, some teaching that would allow me to develop some superpowers, such as telepathy, breath-holding, etc. I discovered yoga as a primary school student back in the early 1980s thanks to my elder cousin. I would sit in the lotus position at the lessons, and the teacher would rebuke me, telling me “to sit like a human”. And my last mentor was a yoga fitness instructor, under whose guidance between 2008 and 2009 I refreshed my skills in the fundamentals of Ashtanga yoga that I had largely forgotten over the years of my office work. And there were a great number of books, groups, seminars, and teachers between these two “mentors”.

When I was in my thirties, I wanted to comprehend the essence of yoga, and I was more interested in meditative practices than in physical exercises (asanas). The fact is that if someone starts yoga and doesn’t quit it, sooner or Continue reading “On Christianity and Yoga from a former adherent of the latter – Dmitry Druzhinin”

On how former Krishnaite Ananda Rupa became Olga again – Peter Davydov spoke with Olga Gagushicheva

http://conversionstoorthodoxy.wordpress.com

CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY

ON HOW FORMER KRISHNAITE ANANDA RUPA

BECAME OLGA AGAIN

Peter Davydov, Olga Gagushicheva

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/116004.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

One day the following notice appeared on the door of the Krishnaite Ananda Rupa’s astrology office: “The office is closed because of my return to Orthodoxy. I sincerely wish you the same. May Christ save you. Olga.” This talk is about how Olga Gagushicheva, who had been baptized yet was absolutely unenlightened, became a Krishna worshipper and practicing astrologer, why she returned to her paternal home and Christ, and what came of it.

* * *

The days are evil (Eph. 5:15), or an unorthodox “Orthodox life”

—Olga, Did you know anything about Christ before completely falling into the grip of astrology and other spiritual delusions?

—When I was one year old, my parents wanted to have me baptized. According to my mother, on the appointed day the weather was sunny and dry, so the family decided to go and gather berries instead of going to church. During that berry-picking hike I fell seriously ill and the illness lasted three years. I learned this from my mother when I was sixteen. I naturally drew a conclusion that I must go and receive Baptism. You see, I was empty-headed. Many of my relatives joined me. And that was the end of my “Christian living”. Though I also got the “knowledge” of the Church and God in the Soviet school. It was a real mishmash. Of course, I was a Komsomol member. We were warned that in no case should we, Komsomol members, attend any church services on Pascha. But we were curious to see what would happen during the church service, all the more so because we were told: “It is not allowed!” So we forced our way through all the police cordons and Komsomol activists who were wearing their bands. On the following day we were summoned to our director of studies who gave us a good dressing-down and promised to expel all of us from school. Of course, he didn’t keep his promise. I don’t remember how my Baptism took place as it was not a result of my conscious decision. I did it “for no particular reason”. Later, when I got married, it was fashionable to marry in Church, so we did it as well… Our wedding ceremony was arranged for us in a village church near the city of Cherepovets which was opened especially for us. And afterwards we baptized our children. That was all. You see, it was our unorthodox “Orthodox life”.

A big thank you to the press

—How did you develop an interest in astrology? How was it manifested? When did it happen?

—During my school years. I think it was 1985 or 1986.

—The time when the “gates to the West” opened wide…

—Or yawned open, to be more precise.

—And when all those individuals appeared on TV.

—Yes! Now general secretaries were replaced with sorcerers, psychics and other “enlightened” individuals who were goggling their eyes and moving their hands on TV. And not only TV. The most popular magazines, such as Continue reading “On how former Krishnaite Ananda Rupa became Olga again – Peter Davydov spoke with Olga Gagushicheva”

Yoga and Orthodox Christianity: Are They Compatible? – Dr. Christine Mangala, India

Yoga and Orthodox Christianity: Are They Compatible?

Dr. Christine Mangala, India

Source:

http://www.ancientfaith.com

ANCIENT FAITH

Dr. Christine Mangala was raised in India and brought up a devout Hindu. Her family was close to one of India’s leading Hindu gurus and teachers. Now an Orthodox Christian writer and teacher, she and Illumined Heart host Kevin Allen speak about whether various aspects of Hindu Yoga are compatible with Christian faith and practice, or whether Yoga should be shunned entirely.

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/illuminedheart/yoga_and_orthodox_christianity_are_they_compatible

The interview video of Dr. Christine Mangala & Kevin Allen

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

 

Mr. Allen: Welcome to The Illumined Heart on Ancient Faith Radio. As many of you know, we have spoken often on this program about the influence of eastern, non-Christian, spiritual ideas, metaphysics, and worldviews on our culture. And this is the spiritual background I came out of, one which continues to be a subject of interest to me, and, I hope, for some of you as well.

Recently, my parish in southern California has begun to see a trickle of enquirers coming from various eastern traditions, especially those of Hinduism. So I hope our conversation today—Yoga and Orthodox Christianity: Are They Compatible?—will bring light to the subject.  In addition to enquirers from eastern spiritual traditions, many Christian believers also practice yoga asanas, physical postures which have become virtually mainstream in North American and European life, and even some forms of Hindu-influenced meditation. So the question of the compatibility of yoga in its various meditative and especially the physical postures forms with Eastern Orthodox Christianity is one that we’ll attempt to address on the program today.

My guest, whom I’m very very enthused to be speaking with, was born a Hindu, a Brahmin, the highest and priestly caste in India. She was brought up on yoga. Her grandfather, in fact, was a personal friend of one of the expounders of modern yoga and Vedanta philosophy, the well-known Swami Sivananda, who is the founder of the Divine Life Society. And Dr. Christine Mangala became a Christian at age 22, and later converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. She received her doctorate in English literature from Cambridge University, and has authored articles on literature and books of fiction, of which she has written several, as well as various spiritual subjects, including yoga and Christianity. She is married to Dr. David Frost, the director of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, England—a fine program, by the way—with whom she has four children, and she attends St. Ephraim’s Russian Orthodox Church in Cambridge, UK, England.

Her excellent article, “Yoga and the Christian Faith,” provided the impetus for this program, and I’m speaking with my guest today by telephone in Cambridge, England. Dr. Christine Mangala, welcome to The Illumined Heart on Ancient Faith Radio. It’s great to have you as my guest.

Dr. Mangala: Thank you very much, Kevin. It’s a great pleasure and privilege to be on this program.

Mr. Allen: Thank you so much. It’s good to have you as my guest. I’m going to enjoy this; I can tell already. Let’s begin with this first question, Christine, if I might. Speaking of yoga, not in its modern and popularized context, but in Continue reading “Yoga and Orthodox Christianity: Are They Compatible? – Dr. Christine Mangala, India”