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Author Topic: Orthodoxy and Yoga  (Read 5741 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: September 11, 2007, 11:31:42 PM »

I saw a flier at school advertising free yoga lessons for the students. I took yoga a long time back and really enjoyed it. I was able to get fairly limber and my posture improved as well as a general feeling of all around wellness. Well, today I saw a clip on CNN about how Christians are to avoid yoga (actually one pastor was vehemently against it while another was open but cautious). I also remembered reading in an Orthodox parish magazine some time back about how that particular priest was really against it. I think he quoted Jesus saying, 'A good tree puts forth good fruit while a bad tree..." OK, so you've probably guessed where this is headed. I plan on asking my priest's permission and whatever he says goes, but, what are y'alls thoughts? Anybody here practice yoga? I wouldn't think it's a problem as long as the teacher isn't advocating Hindu spirituality or meditation...

 I apologize if this has been discussed already. Just let me know and I'll read the previous posts.
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2007, 11:41:53 PM »

I vaguely remember seeing a discussion of this topic on OC.net a few months ago.  With our search function working only when it wants to, we might be able to find that thread if you add yoga to this thread's tags.
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2007, 12:25:28 AM »

Darn!  This is the only thread with the yoga tag. Embarrassed
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2007, 12:26:54 AM »

Ultimately, the physical practice of yoga can be separated from its spiritual dimensions, and when such is done, the practice simply becomes a physical exercise or stretching. When this is the case, I can't really see what the problem is? Ultimately, as scripture says to the pure all things are pure. If you can reap benefit from such a practice then why not pursue it. The meanings, interpretations and intentions we infuse our actions with are really what make them acceptable or not. Therefore, for one individual the practice may be deemed appropriate but for another it may be unacceptable or even blasphemous.
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2007, 01:05:02 AM »

Ultimately, the physical practice of yoga can be separated from its spiritual dimensions, and when such is done, the practice simply becomes a physical exercise or stretching. When this is the case, I can't really see what the problem is?

I agree here...but one should still be careful to not let it be an obsession.  So, if someone stands with their legs in a wide stance (say 4+ feet) and bends to the side, when does the point start where it is Triangle pose (yoga) and just a stretch?  I remember hearing someone (a fellow Orthodox) say, "I don't practice yoga but do yoga poses."
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2007, 01:09:20 AM »

I agree here...but one should still be careful to not let it be an obsession.  So, if someone stands with their legs in a wide stance (say 4+ feet) and bends to the side, when does the point start where it is Triangle pose (yoga) and just a stretch?  I remember hearing someone (a fellow Orthodox) say, "I don't practice yoga but do yoga poses."

When it becomes an act of spiritual veneration or adoration to an unknown or foreign deity, spiritual entity, or any other object. Hence, as mentioned previously to the pure all things are pure and it is the heart which defiles a man and not some simple physical pose or stretch.
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2007, 02:05:30 AM »

I vaguely remember seeing a discussion of this topic on OC.net a few months ago.  With our search function working only when it wants to, we might be able to find that thread if you add yoga to this thread's tags.

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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2007, 08:41:44 AM »

Back when I could still bend at the waist, I used to do yoga now and then.  I just did the Denise Austen videos at home, which were geared more toward exercise than to the spiritual aspects of yoga.  I don't see anything wrong with it as long as whatever meditation you do is focused on the Trinity; in fact, it's a good opportunity to employ the Jesus prayer.  It's a good idea to check with Fr. Andrew for his take on it since I'm no authority on the subject by any means.  There are some yoga classes through St. John's Fitness Center and they tend to be conservative on such things since it's a Catholic hospital. 
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2007, 11:20:42 PM »

Back when I could still bend at the waist, I used to do yoga now and then.  I just did the Denise Austen videos at home, which were geared more toward exercise than to the spiritual aspects of yoga.  I don't see anything wrong with it as long as whatever meditation you do is focused on the Trinity; in fact, it's a good opportunity to employ the Jesus prayer. 
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2007, 11:34:03 PM »

Is this it?
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Da, multsmesc.  Wink Very informative and helpful links!!
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2007, 11:56:45 PM »

Is this it?
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Yup.
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2007, 01:10:59 AM »

Jibrail,

I have never tried yoga (too new-agie for me). But swimming laps, weight training, walking and pilates have all provided me with ways of reducing stress and having a great sense of well-being. I just started pilates and I find it extremely relaxing with the slow, dance-like movements. It reminds me of the discipline of ballet because I must focus my attention on each muscle group. For me, that type of training is meditative. Swimming laps is similar...once I am in the flow of it my mind completely unwinds. 
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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2007, 03:21:27 AM »

Jibrail,

I have never tried yoga (too new-agie for me). But swimming laps, weight training, walking and pilates have all provided me with ways of reducing stress and having a great sense of well-being. I just started pilates and I find it extremely relaxing with the slow, dance-like movements. It reminds me of the discipline of ballet because I must focus my attention on each muscle group. For me, that type of training is meditative. Swimming laps is similar...once I am in the flow of it my mind completely unwinds. 

I've taken both Pilates and Yoga classes.  There are actually a lot of similar if not identical poses in common.  Some forms of yoga are really not that different.
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2007, 08:10:20 AM »

Ms. Smarty Britches.  Tongue  Cheesy

It's contagious... caught it from Mr. Y.
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2007, 01:23:07 AM »

Here is an excerpt from a scholarly work on Yoga that explores similarities between pranayama (yogic breathing technique) with Hesychasm:
Quote
   An interesting problem is raised by Hesychasm.  Some of the ascetic preliminaries and methods of prayer employed by Hesychastic monks offer points of resemblance with yogic techniques, especially with pranayama.  Father Irenee Hausherr thus summarizes the essentials of Hesychastic prayer: "It comprises a twofold exercise, omphaloskepsis and indefinite repitition of the Prayer of Jesus: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me!'  By sitting in darkness, bowing the head, fixing the eyes on the center of the abdomen (in other words, the navel), trying to discover the place of the heart, by repeating this exercise indefatigably and always accompanying it with the same invocation, in harmony with the rhythm of respiration, which is retarded as much as possible, one will, if one preseveres day and night in this mental prayer, end by finding what one sought, the place of the heart, and, with it and in it, all kinds of wonders and knowledge."
   Here is a short passage, recently translated by Jean Gouillard, from Nicephorous the Solitary (second half of the thirteenth century): "As for you, as I have instructed you, sit down, compose your mind, introduce it-your mind, I say-into your nostrils; this is the road that the breath takes to reach the heart.  Push it, force it to descend into your heart at the same time as the inhaled air.  When it is there, you will see what joy will follow; you will have nothing to regret.  As the man who returns home after an absence cannot contain his joy at again being with his wife and chidren, so the mind, when it is united with the soul, overflows with joy and ineffable delights.  Therefore, my brother, accustom your mind not to hasten to depart from thence.  At first, it has no zeal-that is the least that can be said-for this enclosure and confinement within.  But once it has contracted the habit, it will find no more pleasure in wanderings without.  For 'the kingdom of God is within us,' and to him who turns his gaze upon it and pursues it with pure prayer, all the outer world becomes vile and contemptible."
   In the eighteenth century the doctrines and techniques of Hesychasm were still familiar to the monks of Athos.  The following extracts are from the Encheiridion of Nicodemus the Hagiorite.  "Beginners must accustom themselves to performing this return of the mind as the divine Fasting Fathers have taught, bowing the head and pressing the beard against the upper part of the chest."  "Why the breath must be held during prayer.  Since your mind or the act of your mind is from childhood accustomed to disperse and scatter itself among the sensible things of the outer world, therefore, when you say this prayer, breathe not constantly, after the habit of nature, but hold your breath a little until the inner word has once spoken the prayer, then breathe, as the divine Fathers have taught.  Because through this momentary holding of breath the hard and tough heart becomes thin, and the humidity of the heart, being properly compressed and warmed, becomes tender, sensitive, humble, and more disposed to compunction and to shedding tears freely...Because during this short holding of the breath the heart feels uneasiness and pain, and through this uneasiness and this pain, it vomits the poisoned hook of pleasure and sin that it had swallowed."
   Finally, we must cite the fundamental treatise, the Method of Holy Prayer and Attention, long attributed to Simeon the new Theologian..."Then seat yourself in a quiet cell, apart in a corner, and apply yourself to doing as I shall say: close the door, raise your mind above any vain or transitory object.  Then, pressing your beard against your chest, direct the eye of the body and with it all your mind upon the center of your belly-that is, upon your navel-compress the inspiration of air passing through the nose that you do not breath easily, and mentally examine the interior of your entrails in search of the place of the heart, where all the powers of the soul delight to linger.  In the beginning, you will find darkness and stubborn opacity, but if you persevere, if you practice this exercise day and night, you will find-O wonder!-a boundless felicity."  Finally, other Hesychastic texts could be cited-for example, Gregory of Sinai(1255-1346), some important passages from whose writings are given in Gouillard's 'Petite Philocalie'.  The apology for Hesychasm by Gregory Palamas (c. 1255-1346),  "the last great name in Byzantine theology," can be consulted with interest.
  But we must not be deceived by these external analogies with pranayama.  Among the Hesychasts respiratory discipline and bodily posture are used to prepare mental prayer; in the Yoga-sutras these exercises pursue unification of consciousness and preparation for meditation, and the role of God (Isvara) is comparatively small.  But it is none the less true that the two techniques are phenomenologically similar enough to raise the question of a possible influence of Indian mystical physiology on Hesychasm.  We shall not enter upon this comparative study here.
From "Yoga: Immortality and Freedom" by Mircea Eliade, pp.63-65.

While some of the techniques in Yoga have similarity with Hesychast techniques, especially when a person is in the preparatory stage of either tradition, they radically depart when a person moves beyond these introductory stages.  In Yoga, the purpose of mental and bodily exercises are to free the mind from its attachments to worldly forms, which are themselves an illusion created by us because of a false ego.  In earlest known Yoga philosophy, there is a concept of one God (Isvara), however there is not a distinction between Isvara and our being in essence.  The difference between Isvara and humans is our state, in that Isvara was never enslaved by illusion and therefore is not subject to pain like we are.  Yet we or God are neither creator or created, just derivation of a primordial unity.  Out of sympathy, Isvara will help a Yoga practitioner who has set upon the Yoga path to freedom from illusion, but this is something that happens automatically because a person is able to break free of illusion, and therefore becomes recognizable as a free spirit by Isvara (and in theory returns to Isvara accordingly as the only distinction from Isvara is illusionary).  Of course, this teaching is largely ignored in most modern Yoga studios, which simply focus on the basic initial asana(posture)/pranayama(breathing/attentino) techniques, which is only a part of the whole Yoga methodology and philosophy.

In comparison, these ideas are far from the Orthodox understanding that there is no similarity between us, or any creation, and God in Essence.  God is the Father and Creator, we are His creation.  Techniques in the path of Orthodox christian prayer are not geared towards breaking an illusionary world, but rather breaking our wrong orientation and psychic attachments to a very real world that has been subjected to our sinfulness.  In every case, we call upon God for aid in recognition that even though we must make effort, which involves our will, we cannot break free of our worldly attachments without grace or help from God.  Hence orthodox spiritual practice has a subject: our Lord and God Isa the Christ.

I have some speculations about our Orthodox spiritual practice.  I personally see hesychasm is a practice that is rooted in the earliest stages of mankind's self-conscious existence on this planet and was born at a time when people still had experiential memory of communion with God (which I can't describe because that time is long gone).  It does not surprise me that in the current form, it comes from the same region of the world that the earliest 'civilization' comes from - Kemet and other regions historically associated with Kemet through the greater mediterranean region, asia/india and east Africa.  In light of that, what we call Hesychasm is simply the organic, traditional practice of calling on the name of the Lord, in each point of time expressed in recognition of the progressive revelation of God through His creation.  Our history, tradition reflects this continuity from our earliest scriptures. 

Similarity in Hesychast and Yogic techniques, techniques that were passed down through generations, may suggest a common root rather than an influence of Yoga on Hesychasm.  Where the Yoga tradition represents a natural philosophy apart from the corrective energy of revelation, Hesychasm is the product of natural, historical human self-knowledge under the influence of divine revelation.  Our orthodox Liturgical counterpart, also under the influence of divine revelation in the context of organic human transmission, include postures that have meaning and purifying effect combined with praise and supplication.  This is a methodology that simultaneously includes all aspects of our nature - physical, mental, emotional - and goes hand-in-hand with "hesychast" spiritual practice and is related to it.

Again, the strong, essential role of Grace, of the energies of God, always present in Tradition since Cain and Abel, could explain why the techniques of our christian practice have not been overemphasized and subsequently developed to the degree Yoga has.  Seeing that there is an underlying belief that freedom from "fallen state" rests entirely on the Yogin, there is no boundary between the source of life and illusionary life such as the boundary of Creator and creation.  So if God is not creator, and no different than us (just not in our painful illusionary state), overcoming pain becomes the measure of spiritual progress, motivating the Yogic tradition to be as advanced as it is from a natural point of view.  In the Christian tradition, we certainly treat wounds and heal pain, but this is not the ultimate end of what we are doing here.  Our enemy is death, and it is very real.  For me, Yoga is very useful in dealing with physical pain and anxiety, and I have found that my experience practicing the techniques of asana and pranayama have even helped me to understand a small amount of what Ive received from our orthodox fathers (purely from the point of view of calming the mind in preparation of attending prayer).  But these things are not really spiritual per se, they are at best pre-spiritual.  Nevertheless, its always nice to not be overwhelmed by stress, weighed down by "the world".  However, there are points of departure in Yoga that I recognize and see no use in putting any of my energy into mainly because they are unprofitable imaginings as far as Im concerned.  Christ says "my yoke is easy, my burden is light" which I believe describes  an asceticism that can only result from grace.  in this biblical case "yoke" is thought to be derived from the same sanskrit word: yoga.

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« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2007, 01:16:15 PM »

Aren't Hesychast practices very yogic in physical practice (sitting prayer and breathing practice etc)?
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« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2007, 02:08:54 PM »

Back when I could still bend at the waist,

You mean the built in arm rest?  You're gonna miss that pregnant tummy I promise. 
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« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2007, 07:46:20 PM »

You mean the built in arm rest?  You're gonna miss that pregnant tummy I promise. 

LOL!  True.  It has its conveniences but I kind of miss being able to move properly.  The baby is sitting on my sciatic nerve, so I've had to shuffle-drag my leg for about a month now!  Having two working legs will be reeeeeally nice.
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« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2007, 10:31:04 PM »

LOL!  True.  It has its conveniences but I kind of miss being able to move properly.  The baby is sitting on my sciatic nerve, so I've had to shuffle-drag my leg for about a month now!  Having two working legs will be reeeeeally nice.

Ouch that's painful and you really need to be careful not to fall when you've got back problems like that.  Take care and the end is in sight (even if you can't see your toes).
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« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2007, 09:07:13 AM »

Yeah, not so pleasant but only three more days of it left!  (My due date is Thursday and if I haven't delivered by then my doctor will induce me on Friday.)  I do try to stand up and kind of reset my body before I try walking so I've managed to avoid falls so far.  It's a little harder at the 3 am bathroom run when I'm already groggy and disoriented, but so far so good!  Thanks and be praying for us around Friday!
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« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2007, 05:11:19 PM »

Father Saraphim Rose mentioned Yoga in his book "Orthodoxy and the religion of the Future". He said that Yoga makes one unable to distinguish between good spirits and bad spirits that disguise themselves as good spirits (aka demons)
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« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2007, 07:05:25 PM »

Father Saraphim Rose mentioned Yoga in his book "Orthodoxy and the religion of the Future". He said that Yoga makes one unable to distinguish between good spirits and bad spirits that disguise themselves as good spirits (aka demons)
We know what Fr. Seraphim Rose has to say about this, but what do you have to say about Fr. Seraphim Rose?
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« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2007, 12:33:32 PM »

We know what Fr. Seraphim Rose has to say about this, but what do you have to say about Fr. Seraphim Rose?

I say he was a very smart guy who knew what he was talking about.
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« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2011, 12:29:19 PM »


So, via Facebook, I found out today that a good Orthodox friend of mine is starting Yoga.  All the comments that followed from her friends were supportive, right down to the comment "ohhhmmmmmm.... oohhhhmmmmmm...".

As a friend (more than just Facebook friend), do I comment to her on this....and the possible dangers associated with "practicing" Yoga...and the ohhhmmmms; or do I just leave it, because I'm afraid I'll be called Pharisaical, etc.

I'm already ridiculed quite a bit, so, do I just shut up or tempt further ridicule?  What is our "duty" as Orthodox Christians?  Do we intervene?  Where' the limit?  Whom do we advise, and whom do we ignore?

I'm having one of those mornings....I sit in a cube formation with 3 other people...and the discussion this morning ended up on cremation and tossing one's ashes in the mountains, or just setting them on the fireplace mantel.  Well, it was all I could do to not say anything....because I know I would have been ridiculed here, as well.  One is a RC, one Lutheran, one Baptist and me.  None of them thought there was anything wrong with cremation and completely skipping funeral services all together.  It saves money.  I just plugged in my earplugs, and turned back to my PC, so I couldn't hear the conversation...because it was all I could not to give my 2 cents worth...which I try not to do at work.

So, what to do with the Orthodox friend and her yoga?


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« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2011, 04:16:25 PM »

I heard that Yoga directly translates into "The Yoking of the Spirit". 

Not 100% sure but I remember that from someplace ;o)
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« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2011, 04:42:02 PM »

Most yoga you are going to encounter in the West is just people who take stretching way too seriously.

Sub bows and prostrations for your Sun Salutations.

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« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2011, 04:45:55 PM »


So, via Facebook, I found out today that a good Orthodox friend of mine is starting Yoga.  All the comments that followed from her friends were supportive, right down to the comment "ohhhmmmmmm.... oohhhhmmmmmm...".

As a friend (more than just Facebook friend), do I comment to her on this....and the possible dangers associated with "practicing" Yoga...and the ohhhmmmms; or do I just leave it, because I'm afraid I'll be called Pharisaical, etc.

I'm already ridiculed quite a bit, so, do I just shut up or tempt further ridicule?  What is our "duty" as Orthodox Christians?  Do we intervene?  Where' the limit?  Whom do we advise, and whom do we ignore?

I'm having one of those mornings....I sit in a cube formation with 3 other people...and the discussion this morning ended up on cremation and tossing one's ashes in the mountains, or just setting them on the fireplace mantel.  Well, it was all I could do to not say anything....because I know I would have been ridiculed here, as well.  One is a RC, one Lutheran, one Baptist and me.  None of them thought there was anything wrong with cremation and completely skipping funeral services all together.  It saves money.  I just plugged in my earplugs, and turned back to my PC, so I couldn't hear the conversation...because it was all I could not to give my 2 cents worth...which I try not to do at work.

So, what to do with the Orthodox friend and her yoga?




you could just send her a private message.  not every interaction on facebook has to be via public comments Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2011, 04:51:27 PM »

I don't think there is anything inherently anti-Christian in yoga. Provided she is not being asked to pray to idols or anything like that, I would leave it be. Some will say that, without the religious content, it's not really yoga. But I think the varied expressions of yoga according to the myriad philosophical schools in India shows that there is no inherent, insparable religious basis to yoga.
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« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2011, 05:10:41 PM »

I'm already ridiculed quite a bit, so, do I just shut up or tempt further ridicule?

"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

  What is our "duty" as Orthodox Christians?  Do we intervene?  Where' the limit?  Whom do we advise, and whom do we ignore?

 This person is your friend and an Orthodox Christian?  I think you are obligated to say something to her, but as Schultz indicated, you might "speak" to her via PM.  After all, we want to encourage rather than embarrass.  Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2011, 05:57:18 PM »


Most definitely I would not post on her Facebook. 

Yes, she is an Orthodox Christian.  I see her most Saturdays when she brings her kids to school, and on Sundays.

I just wanted your input to see if I was way "off base" with my concerns. 

I truly appreciate everyone's answers!   Thanks so much!
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« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2012, 09:54:58 PM »

"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."


Perhaps. But should we actively start looking for trouble or things to solve?

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« Reply #31 on: December 06, 2013, 06:01:20 PM »

According to Olga Kazak, the Russians have had a long relationship with yoga:

Quote
Interestingly, the Bhagavad Gita first appeared in Russia under the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584). The book was sent to the tsar as a gift from one of the Great Moghuls. Its first translation into Russian (from English and Sanskrit) was published in 1788 by Imperial decree of Catherine the Great and with the endorsement of the Holy Synod (“this book is good for the soul”), with typography by Nikolai Novikov.
....
Information about yoga during the dark, harsh, Stalinist times is hard to come by. But yoga was still very much in existence, practiced by a tough core of brave people. These dedicated yogis and yoginis mainly practiced in camps, and yoga was undoubtedly a factor in helping them to survive the inhumane conditions.
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« Reply #32 on: December 06, 2013, 06:03:21 PM »

According to Olga Kazak, the Russians have had a long relationship with yoga:

Quote
Interestingly, the Bhagavad Gita first appeared in Russia under the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584). The book was sent to the tsar as a gift from one of the Great Moghuls. Its first translation into Russian (from English and Sanskrit) was published in 1788 by Imperial decree of Catherine the Great and with the endorsement of the Holy Synod (“this book is good for the soul”), with typography by Nikolai Novikov.
....
Information about yoga during the dark, harsh, Stalinist times is hard to come by. But yoga was still very much in existence, practiced by a tough core of brave people. These dedicated yogis and yoginis mainly practiced in camps, and yoga was undoubtedly a factor in helping them to survive the inhumane conditions.

I've seen Russians who claim they exported nearly every physical discipline we associate with the East, including taking stretching too seriously.
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« Reply #33 on: December 06, 2013, 06:13:54 PM »

Don't be unequally yoked, Gabriel...
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« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2013, 08:32:13 PM »

According to Olga Kazak, the Russians have had a long relationship with yoga:

Quote
Interestingly, the Bhagavad Gita first appeared in Russia under the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584). The book was sent to the tsar as a gift from one of the Great Moghuls. Its first translation into Russian (from English and Sanskrit) was published in 1788 by Imperial decree of Catherine the Great and with the endorsement of the Holy Synod (“this book is good for the soul”), with typography by Nikolai Novikov.

This is what happens when the "official" Church gets involved with the WCC and communes with those who adopted the Pope's calendar: synodal endorsement of Hinduism. 
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« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2013, 09:46:36 PM »

Don't be unequally yoked, Gabriel...

 Snap!  You got me, brah.
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« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2013, 09:54:20 PM »

According to Olga Kazak, the Russians have had a long relationship with yoga:

Quote
Interestingly, the Bhagavad Gita first appeared in Russia under the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584). The book was sent to the tsar as a gift from one of the Great Moghuls. Its first translation into Russian (from English and Sanskrit) was published in 1788 by Imperial decree of Catherine the Great and with the endorsement of the Holy Synod (“this book is good for the soul”), with typography by Nikolai Novikov.

This is what happens when the "official" Church gets involved with the WCC and communes with those who adopted the Pope's calendar: synodal endorsement of Hinduism. 

ROTFL
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« Reply #37 on: December 06, 2013, 10:43:10 PM »

According to Olga Kazak, the Russians have had a long relationship with yoga:

Quote
Interestingly, the Bhagavad Gita first appeared in Russia under the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584). The book was sent to the tsar as a gift from one of the Great Moghuls. Its first translation into Russian (from English and Sanskrit) was published in 1788 by Imperial decree of Catherine the Great and with the endorsement of the Holy Synod (“this book is good for the soul”), with typography by Nikolai Novikov.

This is what happens when the "official" Church gets involved with the WCC and communes with those who adopted the Pope's calendar: synodal endorsement of Hinduism.  
The 1780s were the 1960s of the 18th century.
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« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2013, 03:07:16 AM »

According to Olga Kazak, the Russians have had a long relationship with yoga:

Quote
Interestingly, the Bhagavad Gita first appeared in Russia under the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584). The book was sent to the tsar as a gift from one of the Great Moghuls. Its first translation into Russian (from English and Sanskrit) was published in 1788 by Imperial decree of Catherine the Great and with the endorsement of the Holy Synod (“this book is good for the soul”), with typography by Nikolai Novikov.

This is what happens when the "official" Church gets involved with the WCC and communes with those who adopted the Pope's calendar: synodal endorsement of Hinduism. 

No this is what happens for the "official" Church under the heel of Tsar, who happens to be Lutheran Germanic Convert CATHERINE the (NOT) Great!

besides a supposed fetish to retake constantinople of hers...
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« Reply #39 on: December 07, 2013, 10:30:46 AM »

If the Church Fathers recommend reading Homer and Plato, I don't see why reading the Bhagavad Gita would be so problematic.
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« Reply #40 on: December 07, 2013, 01:55:55 PM »

it's one thing to read it (to find out what other religions believe or as part of academic studies), it's another to practice it...

bowing to other gods (central to yoga) is forbidden in any form of Christianity.
the fact that some churches conveniently ignore this fact in order to get more money from hiring out the hall for yoga does not change this fact.

my hindu friends are upset that mainstream yoga is only partly proper worship, partly just exercise. if you really don't think that yoga is a form of worshiping the hindu deities, just discuss it with any active hindu (not the leather shoe wearing kind).
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« Reply #41 on: December 07, 2013, 02:08:26 PM »

I've seen Russians who claim they exported nearly every physical discipline we associate with the East, including taking stretching too seriously.
Greeks do the same thing. See the recent explosion of "Pankration" schools, teaching the ancient art of wrestling invented by the Greeks and brought to Asia by Alexander the Great.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #42 on: December 07, 2013, 02:18:02 PM »

if you really don't think that yoga is a form of worshiping the hindu deities, just discuss it with any active hindu (not the leather shoe wearing kind).
Buddhists and Jains have been practicing yoga without worshipping Hindu deities for millennia. In fact, some argue that it was the Jains (or some similar Shramana group) that created what we now know as yoga, and that the Hindus coopted yoga at a later date.
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« Reply #43 on: December 07, 2013, 02:30:01 PM »

the asceticism of the buddists and jains i have met has a lot to do with getting closer to the divine, as they see it/him/her, and so is worship in the broader sense of the word (aligning yourself with god / God).
it is true that much yoga is hijacked for pantheism these days, but aligning ourselves with the 'divine' as defined by other religions is not what we should do as Christians. we are not pantheists.
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« Reply #44 on: December 08, 2013, 03:08:51 PM »

You might also want to see this more recent thread: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,54584.msg1016562.html#msg1016562

I was presenting a view of a Romanian elder there. However, the discussion can get complex.
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