Atheism and yoga

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Reachable
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Atheism and yoga

Post by Reachable » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:43 pm

I know I'm stepping into one of the most rancorous can of worm realms this forum has had, but this topic need note evoke ill will.

I saw this article today:

http://news.yahoo.com/judge-rule-whethe ... 30132.html

The public school system of Encinitas, California is teaching students yoga as part of its regular curriculum (unusual -- most schools that offer yoga have it extracurricular.) A family in the city is trying to get a judge to rule that it violates the principle of separation of church and state and to order that the classes be stopped.

What I wonder is, where might this family be coming from? Are they fundamentalists of Christianity, Judaism or Islam who don't want their kids exposed to anything related to Eastern religion? Are they atheists? Are they just concerned citizens?

I know there are at least a couple of forum members who are outspoken atheists. Is this sort of thing a cause among atheist activists?

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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by edh » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:47 pm

One school I went to started offering yoga for PE lessons. They already offered dance so it's not a huge jump but it's not a sport so isn't exercise in the traditional sense.
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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by Reachable » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:10 pm

edh wrote:One school I went to started offering yoga for PE lessons. They already offered dance so it's not a huge jump but it's not a sport so isn't exercise in the traditional sense.
You hit on one of the cruxes of the issue. Yoga has traditionally been regarded as a spiritual discipline, and its practitioners were inspired by Hinduism.

There's room for argument as to whether it is a sport. There are formalized motions (as is the case with gymnastics), and there are even competitions. From what I've seen, many yoga teachers regard themselves as something other than fitness instructors, and one can certainly argue that they might be a bit delusional.

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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by dancingsnails » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:26 pm

The Sedlocks who are suing the Encinitas school district are Christians who have some bizarre belief that Yoga meditation will corrupt the kids in the school.
As an atheist I can't imagine any other atheists being bothered by Yoga (as opposed to what's clearly worse - having to pledge to our flag under God).
I'm sure there are some Orthodox Jewish rabbis who would say that Jews practicing yoga violates the prescription against idolatry (Avodah Zarah), but I doubt the school program would have elements that would bother most rabbis, and if it did, they'd just say that the kids shouldn't take that class.

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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by andyb » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:33 pm

As one of the "outspoken Atheists" on this forum, I personally have no problem with "Yoga" as an instrument of relaxation, stretching and fitness, however preaching, chanting and "spiritualism" are totally different matters, thankfully there is a defining line between "Yoga" as most people in the Judeo-Christian western world know it and "Yoga" as a fundamental part of Hinduism.

Hindu Yoga.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga

"Western Yoga" - Hatha Yoga

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatha_yoga

I know people who practice (Hatha) Yoga, and I have heard about this being a part of the school curriculum in some schools in the UK, none of them are about to become a Hindu because this form of Yoga has little or nothing to do with Yoga as part of Hinduism.

I have no problem with children being taught (Hatha) Yoga at school as it has been shown to beneficial to the children's education (relaxation can help anyone). Although if I were concerned I would want to sit in on a random "Yoga class" at school to check that my children aren't being brainwashed, and have the ability to pull them out of that class if I so wished.... But I wouldn't go straight to the newspapers bursting a blood vessel about my children being "converted", because acting like that rarely ends up with the best outcome - reasoned and open-minded debate is always better.

On a personal note, this is something that is far more alarming that is happening to my schools (and probably yours as well) - the dilution of your national identity is far more serious than a Yoga class at school, and very few people have the balls to even discuss such an issue.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/ed ... guage.html


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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by Reachable » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:12 am

andyb wrote: On a personal note, this is something that is far more alarming that is happening to my schools (and probably yours as well) - the dilution of your national identity is far more serious than a Yoga class at school, and very few people have the balls to even discuss such an issue.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/ed ... guage.html

Everywhere, it seems, there is and has always been alarm over immigrants. It's probably not as bad in the U.S., simply because it's such an amalgamation of ethnicities, with no one being the majority. (Although English is the primary spoken language, people of English or British descent comprise only a small percentage of the population at this point.) Lots of people, of course, are upset over Hispanic immigrants who continue to speak Spanish. (Some of these upset people protest at demonstrations with signs that show that they themselves don't know English.)

Anybody over a certain age in the U.S. remembers a band leader named Lawrence Welk, who had a television show. Lawrence Welk was born in a remote part of the Dakotas where everyone was a German immigrant, and he spoke only German until he was 18 when he set out in the big wide world. But it was obvious he thought of himself as an American.

That's how it works here. I can't claim to know how it works elsewhere, but it's hard to imagine that a child educated in public schools, exposed to the prevailing language, exposed to the prevailing culture, isn't going to grow up to identify as a national of the country and to take on most of the characteristics, both good and bad.

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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by Vicotnik » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:58 am

andyb wrote:On a personal note, this is something that is far more alarming that is happening to my schools (and probably yours as well) - the dilution of your national identity is far more serious than a Yoga class at school, and very few people have the balls to even discuss such an issue.
What is the issue? What is national identity anyway?
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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by Lucky Luciano » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:56 am

British national identity is about celts mixing with anglo-saxon migrants, invaded by romans, danes and normans, speaking a language whose words come mostly from Norman French...and complaining about losing your identity. :lol:
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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by HFat » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:08 am

Vicotnik wrote:What is national identity anyway?
A pretext for discrimination and violence.

There are yoga teachers who do not draw a strict line between yoga and religion. But then atheism is compatible with religion. Blah blah. Who cares? Bottom line: yoga is like sharia and whatnot: an ill-defined hot-button issue for reactionaries.

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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by Vicotnik » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:57 am

Also good for the back yoga is. :) I'm not doing yoga exactly, but some of the stretching exercises I use are yoga inspired. Good stuff.
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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by Reachable » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:25 pm

Bottom line to me is that denying these benefits to kids for any reason is just plain mean or awfully ignorant.

And, yes, if you study even hatha yoga you're apt to learn a bit about Hinduism in the process. Good! It's good to learn about world religions. Yes, also, any time you learn about a new belief system it's possible you might fall for it. That danger scares your preacher but it broadens your perspective. And studying about a religion isn't the same as practicing it. Curving your spine like a snake is not practicing Hinduism. Curving your spine like a snake and then lighting some incense and praying to Vishnu I suppose is. Practicing ceremonies is what ignites the raging fires of history. :roll:

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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:22 pm

I brought this up in my yoga class today...and to be honest we are spending too much time on our plans for world domination to get involved with subverting children's minds.
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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by xan_user » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:54 pm

my mother was a public elementary teacher -now retired. about 10 years ago she was told to stop teaching basic yoga poses, even though it had help her class focus like never before.

I believe if yoga had been taught in schools for the last 50 years, far fewer people would have become "business greed" majors and we would have never had the financial meltdown...and we also would have stayed out of a few wars.

on the nationalism front, Einstein said it best;
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.
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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by andyb » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:24 pm

My example of a rapidly changing country due to an open-borders governmental policy for the last 20-years was an example of something that people should be concerned about.... unlike kids being taught Hatha Yoga at school.

One is there to teach kids to relax, stretch etc. The other is to bring so many people in from other countries that entire sections of cities become an extension of the countries that those people emigrated from.

For those that didn't read the linked article, there are large parts of London (amongst other cities) where the quantities of immigrants out-number the English people to such a degree that the areas cannot be described as English, and you certainly don't feel like you are in England, you could be in Somalia, Poland, Pakistan or many other places - Yoga in schools will not make this happen, open borders and a load of bleeding-heart liberal idiot politicians who simply want to win future elections by letting in millions of people who will then vote for them are to blame, whilst at the same time the unemployment rate is high, schools and hospitals cant cope and the country is bankrupt.


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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by Cistron » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:29 pm

andyb wrote: who simply want to win future elections by letting in millions of people who will then vote for them are to blame, whilst at the same time the unemployment rate is high, schools and hospitals cant cope and the country is bankrupt.
How would this work? Without a citizenship you'd be hard-pressed to vote and the financial struggle only unfolded into full misery under the Tories, who made immigration very difficult. Also, don't forget that the UK was a colonial power and its open immigration policy had its roots there.

The ghettos you mentioned are a result of poor integration policy, a widening gap between rich and poor. Only recently was there talk about making English a mandatory criterion to receive job seekers allowance. And besides, I don't see many white British people cleaning the streets or toilets, working in super markets, ... If anything, everybody seems to be heavily profiteering off the immigrants. Or did you want those jobs?

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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by HFat » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:55 am

andyb wrote:an open-borders governmental policy for the last 20-years was an example of something that people should be concerned about
It's an example of a fantasy. People shouldn't be concerned about it but about people confusing fantasy and reality. They are dangerous indeed. Unlike yoga.
andyb wrote:The other is to bring so many people in from other countries that entire sections of cities become an extension of the countries that those people emigrated from.
Cities have always had this. Only now transportation costs have dropped enough that instead of the medieval Italian neighborhood you get neighborhoods populated by ethnically incorrect folks (in your eyes) who come from farther away.
andyb wrote:the country is bankrupt
Yet another fantasy. Decent countries can't be bankrupt anymore unless they've joined the Eurozone.

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Re: Atheism and yoga

Post by andyb » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:03 pm

Please discuss open-border immigration (UK) in a different post.

posting.php?mode=edit&f=18&p=575807


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