Saturday, December 7, 2013
Fr. Kneemiller on Catholics and New Age (II): A new twist on yoga
A prime example of “New Age” inroads is the phenomenal growth of the practice of yoga in our culture. Yoga’s claims for relaxation and health benefits appeal to the estimated 15 million to 20 million U.S. citizens taking instructions at more than 20,000 locations. A Catholic priest recently told me that the exercise part is not so bad, it’s the “ooga-booga” that goes with it. I understand his comment to mean foreign terms and ideas which we may not truly understand, but go along with.
The word yoga in Sanskrit means union and implies a religious yearning for union with a higher being. But, can simple exercises of yoga be separated from its philosophy? The American Heritage dictionary’s primary definition for yoga is: “A Hindu discipline aimed at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility.” Only secondarily does it mention a system of exercises.
Yoga is more than mere body exercise, it’s Hindu prayer using body postures, the following picture is from a Hindu site, where you can also read what prayers these postures are standing for, just click HERE