Ashtanga yoga literally means "eight-limbed yoga," as outlined by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. According to Patanjali, the path of internal purification for revealing the Universal Self consists of the following eight spiritual practices:
Yama [moral codes]
Niyama [self-purification and study]
Pranayama [breath control]
Pratyahara [sense control]
Samadhi [absorption into the Universal] (Scott 14-17)
I define religion as what you practice that deals with your soul/spirit. This would be EXACTLY like someone saying that a Baptist church funding a prayer session is not religious because they didn't have anything religious in the class. Even though prayer has been around a long time before organized religion and is often seen as secular (wishes/karma/blahblahblah), if a Baptist preacher is teaching a prayer session, they are being religous. JUST like a guru teaching Ashtanga yoga is being religious (or spiritual) when they are practicing it.
As for the Jois family not being religious, you guys must not have clicked on any of the biographies listed. All of them are gurus or learned from a guru and the woman teaches in temples and the word spiritual pops up quite a bit. Do you separate the term spiritual from religious? I know you can be spiritual wihtout being religous, but the fact that there are leaders, teahcers, and an outline for their followers to use, means it's a religion whether you want to acknowledge it or not.
the rest of it was blocked from work and I do have some to do, so I'll post the rest later.
Wow-- I'm just stuck on the sentence where the parents against this and the group backing them says that they are for civil liberties and traditional marriage in the same sentence. Oy.
Our public elementary school offers yoga to our kids and each of our school age kids have taken it. No religion in it at all.
Even our Methodist church offers it. It is exercise and poses and breathing-- not worship.
I never said that the Jois family isn't religious or that they don't use Ashtanga Yoga as part of their religious practices. But that doesn't mean that they don't or can't *teach* the yoga poses to children or others without any religious teachings involved. Any of us can cut an apple in half crosswise and show our kids a star. I learned that story in Sunday School; years later, I'm sharing it with my kids without the God part. Just because other people put the God part into the story when they cut an apple doesn't mean that either the story itself or the act of cutting the apple are religious.
Originally Posted by Spacers
Again, you can be religious all you want and still bring non religious teachings to a school. We had quiet moments when I was school too. You could pray. You could just stare at your hands. It was *your* silent time. Doesn't make it religious in nature just because you personally use it that way.
My oldest was in 1st grade at the Lutheran school I teach at and her teacher at the time told her that Yoga was not allowed at our school because it is a different religion. (she is not teaching at the school anymore)
I would not have problems with my kids doing it, I think exposure to it is awesome. But I can see where some parents are coming from. If the Ashtanga center were not involved then I think the school would be in a better position.
But what if (using Lillies baptist church reference) a baptist church was sponsoring a class with all religion stripped away but had a moment of silence during the class? Would you understand why some people would be questioning it?
Originally Posted by Jessica80
If they were sponsoring a class that had no religious connotations on it and they offered a "moment of silence" that was free to do what you want and not have prayer associated with it. I would never question it.
Yoga does have religious connotations though. You can obviously have prayer with religious connotations, but it is often used in a non-religious way. Just like you can have yoga used in a non-religious way but it has religious connotations. So to have a Yoga class sponsored by a spiritual group with the condition that the teachers be trained by a religious/spiritual family is just like having a Prayer class taught by a preacher without actually using the word God. You Can Not Have It Both Ways.
Originally Posted by Jessica80
In Lisa's scenario, it'd be like the kids having to bow their heads during the moment of silence. It's performing an action that the teacher finds to be religious.
Either religion is out or it's in.
But this isn't religion Lillie. It's physical exercise. I"m not trying to have it both ways.
Sorry, Lillie, but you are just wrong. Yoga has no religious connotations unless *you* as the practicer bring them into *your* yoga practice. And the teachers are being trained not by "a religious family" but by experts in this particular style of yoga -- who also happen to practice religion. I think the vast majority of us are able to distinguish between doing one's job of teaching yoga and practicing one's religion which might incorporate yoga, or might not.
This would be like one of my interns refusing to work with me because I'm an atheist; my religion or lack thereof has nothing to do with the analytical work that I'm an expert in and that I'm training them to do. If one of my interns wants to bring a little bit of God into his work, that would be fine, as long as he learns the nuts & bolts of what I'm teaching him first, and doesn't let his religious beliefs get in the way of doing the job.