Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Repeat after me: yoga is not a religion

Most weeks before we begin our choir practice, our musical director invites me to run through a few yoga moves to get us warmed up physically before he takes us through our scales and so forth. This is simply five minutes of fun, accompanied by a chorus of huffing and puffing (mostly in jest!), but it fits the bill. We do some gentle stretches that open the ribcage and the spine to free up the lungs and the diaphragm. Good breathing is an essential part of yoga and singing, so it seems appropriate that I should do this.

A few weeks ago, one of our number brought a friend along to see if he would like to join us. He happened to be there on one of the weeks when I was putting the choir through their yogic paces. He hasn't been back. I have since learnt that one of the reasons is that as an Evangelical Christian he found the incorporation of yoga unacceptable.

That seems a shame. Stifling the urge to use the words 'blinkered' and 'ill-informed bigot', I tried to explain to the person who had originally brought this stranger into our midst that yoga isn't a religion - and even it it were, all we do is a bit of stretching. I don't ask them to chant to Shiva! What kind of a faith is it that breeds such intolerance in one of its followers that it causes him to pass up the chance to sing?


  1. Sounds like a right tree-hugger. You're better off without durr-brains like that.

  2. I'm not sure what it is... I stayed away from yoga & meditation for years for a similar reason, until my evangelical Christian counselor told me I HAD to start incorporating those things to manage my anxiety and depression issues. Now that I'm on the 'other side', I see how silly it is. Lots of legalism and fear, I think. Less a God thing, more a religion thing.
    Julie @ Julie 2 Jules

  3. I can't say I'm surprised by this, Julia, although it's sad to hear. Many years ago, I went to yoga in my village and when my then pastor found out, we had a very interesting discussion/argument! The exercises sound perfect for a warm up to singing.

  4. Thanks for commenting, Tim, Julie and Rosemary. I just wish folk would get their facts right before they start spouting off.

  5. That does seem a shame, Julia. It would never occur to me that yoga was some kind of religion.
    By the way - congratulations on your limerick in FMN this month!

    1. Thank you, Sally. I haven't seen this month's FMN yet.