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What is the Malankara Indian Orthodox view on Yoga?

Positive / Approving
2 (28.6%)
Negative / Critical
1 (14.3%)
There is no view in the Malankara church on yoga
1 (14.3%)
Other
3 (42.9%)

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Offline mcarmichael

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Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
« Reply #90 on: October 12, 2016, 12:55:44 AM »
What is Yoga, really? What isn't Yoga?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 12:56:24 AM by mcarmichael »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
« Reply #91 on: October 12, 2016, 01:40:58 AM »
What is Yoga, really?

One view:
  • Yoga  is  a  powerful  science  for  inner-transformation, scientifically designed, practiced and propagated by great people like Sage Patanjali in ancient book, namely  Yoga-Suhtra.  ... It  is  the common wealth of our culture. ... The  Church  understands Yoga  as  a  spiritual exercise to instill in its practitioners awareness, tolerance, empathy, compassion and most importantly the inter-connectedness of God's creation. ... Yoga is a reputed scientific method for the wellbeing of  humanity....
~His Grace, Dr. Geevarghese Yulios, Metropolitan, Diocese of Ahmedabad

I suppose we now need to turn to Sage Patanjali's work, Yoga-Sutra, for a more detailed answer.

Quote
What isn't Yoga?
  • It  is  neither  owned  by  nor  stamped  to  any  particular  religion  at  all.  [It]...has  nothing  to  do  with  religious  fundamentalism. ~ His Grace, Dr. Geevarghese Yulios

Greek Orthodox views on this topic I would probably have to put in another forum section.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 01:47:57 AM by rakovsky »
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Offline mcarmichael

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Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
« Reply #92 on: October 12, 2016, 01:44:34 AM »
What isn't Yoga?
  • It  is  neither  owned  by  nor  stamped  to  any  particular  religion  at  all.  [It]...has  nothing  to  do  with  religious  fundamentalism. ~ His Grace, Dr. Geevarghese Yulios

Greek Orthodox views on this topic I would probably have to put in another forum section.

That isn't very specific, to be fair to Greek Orthodox.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
« Reply #93 on: October 12, 2016, 01:50:11 AM »
Yoga  is  a  powerful  science  for  inner-transformation, scientifically designed, practiced and propagated by great people like Sage Patanjali in ancient book, namely  Yoga-Suhtra.
 ~His Grace, Dr. Geevarghese Yulios, Metropolitan, Diocese of Ahmedabad

I suppose we now need to turn to Sage Patanjali's work, Yoga-Sutra, for a more detailed answer as to what he designed.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 01:59:06 AM by rakovsky »
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Offline mcarmichael

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Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
« Reply #94 on: October 12, 2016, 01:58:14 AM »
    That isn't very specific, to be fair to Greek Orthodox.

    Yoga  is  a  powerful  science  for  inner-transformation, scientifically designed, practiced and propagated by great people like Sage Patanjali in ancient book, namely  Yoga-Suhtra.
     ~His Grace, Dr. Geevarghese Yulios, Metropolitan, Diocese of Ahmedabad

    I suppose we now need to turn to Sage Patanjali's work, Yoga-Sutra, for a more detailed answer.[/list]

    Isn't there already a name for Yogi's, though? It's fine if you reckon it somewhat similar to being considered a boxer, but boxing is only a little bit different.
    « Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 02:00:34 AM by mcarmichael »
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    Offline rakovsky

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    Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
    « Reply #95 on: October 12, 2016, 02:02:27 AM »
      That isn't very specific, to be fair to Greek Orthodox.

      Yoga  is  a  powerful  science  for  inner-transformation, scientifically designed, practiced and propagated by great people like Sage Patanjali in ancient book, namely  Yoga-Suhtra.
       ~His Grace, Dr. Geevarghese Yulios, Metropolitan, Diocese of Ahmedabad

      I suppose we now need to turn to Sage Patanjali's work, Yoga-Sutra, for a more detailed answer.[/list]

      Isn't there already a name for Yogi's, though? It's fine if you reckon it somewhat similar to being considered a boxer, but boxing is only a different discipline. In fact it's superior.
      What I think the Malankaran Metropolitan Yulios is pointing to as Sage Patanjali's Yoga Sutra as one of the main authorities on explaining the meaning of Yoga. Physical stretching yoga poses that Americans usually practice in the gym is one possible part of the broader category of yoga. Sage Patanjali wrote centuries ago and so he is a foundational writer on this, according to the Metropolitan.

      The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

      Offline mcarmichael

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      Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
      « Reply #96 on: October 12, 2016, 02:05:23 AM »
        That isn't very specific, to be fair to Greek Orthodox.

        Yoga  is  a  powerful  science  for  inner-transformation, scientifically designed, practiced and propagated by great people like Sage Patanjali in ancient book, namely  Yoga-Suhtra.
         ~His Grace, Dr. Geevarghese Yulios, Metropolitan, Diocese of Ahmedabad

        I suppose we now need to turn to Sage Patanjali's work, Yoga-Sutra, for a more detailed answer.[/list]

        Isn't there already a name for Yogi's, though? It's fine if you reckon it somewhat similar to being considered a boxer, but boxing is only a different discipline. In fact it's superior.
        What I think the Malankaran Metropolitan Yulios is pointing to as Sage Patanjali's Yoga Sutra as one of the main authorities on explaining the meaning of Yoga. Physical stretching yoga poses that Americans usually practice in the gym is one possible part of the broader category of yoga. Sage Patanjali wrote centuries ago and so he is a foundational writer on this, according to the Metropolitan.
        So do yoga. It's a non-issue to me, and I hope to keep it that way.
        « Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 02:07:07 AM by mcarmichael »
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        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #97 on: October 14, 2016, 07:11:59 PM »
        What I think the Malankaran Metropolitan Yulios is pointing to as Sage Patanjali's Yoga Sutra as one of the main authorities on explaining the meaning of Yoga. Physical stretching yoga poses that Americans usually practice in the gym is one possible part of the broader category of yoga. Sage Patanjali wrote centuries ago and so he is a foundational writer on this, according to the Metropolitan.
        So do yoga. It's a non-issue to me, and I hope to keep it that way.
        Dear Mcarmichael,
        Well, I am trying to figure out if it is spiritually and/or physically beneficial or harmful to see how much I want to engage in it.

        I really want a better grasp on how Malankaran Orthodox Christians understand it. Just knowing that it's a common practice or that a given parish produces a tract does not give me a deep understanding about that, as Mor has pointed out in this thread.

        I think I really need to look at how Malankaran saints or metropolitans have thought about it, or find a lot more information in Malayalam. The Metropolitan Yulios points to the Yuga Sutras. Here is what Wikipedia says:
        Quote
        The Yoga Sutras were compiled around 400 CE by Sage Patanjali, taking materials about yoga from older traditions. .... Before the 20th century, history indicates the Indian yoga scene was dominated by the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Vasistha, texts attributed to Yajnavalkya and Hiranyagarbha, as well as literature on hatha yoga, tantric yoga and pashupata yoga rather than the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_Sutras_of_Patanjali
        So maybe the Yoga sutras are not really the historic main basis for yoga after all, and they are really just getting the main emphasis in modern times? That is, maybe the Metropolitan's idea of yoga is based on the sutras, but historic yoga is based more on the other texts?

        Anyway, here is what it says about the contents of the Sutras, which are divided into 4 books as follows:
        Quote
            Samadhi Pada. Samadhi refers to a blissful state where the yogi is absorbed into the One. Samadhi is the main technique the yogin learns by which to dive into the depths of the mind to achieve Kaivalya. ... This chapter contains the ... verse "Yoga is the restraint of mental modifications".
            Sadhana Pada. Sadhana is the Sanskrit word for "practice" or "discipline".
                Kriya Yoga is closely related to Karma Yoga, where Arjuna is encouraged by Krishna to act without attachment to the results or fruit of action and activity. It is the yoga of selfless action and service.
                Ashtanga Yoga describes the eight limbs that together constitute Rāja Yoga.
            Vibhuti Pada. Vibhuti is ... "power" or "manifestation". 'Supra-normal powers' (siddhi) are acquired by the practice of yoga. Combined simultaneous practice of Dhāraṇā, Dhyana and Samādhi is referred to as Samyama, and is considered a tool of achieving various perfections, or Siddhis. ... The purpose of using samadhi is not to gain siddhis but to achieve Kaivalya. Siddhis are but distractions from Kaivalaya and are to be discouraged. Siddhis are but maya, or illusion.
            Kaivalya Pada. Kaivalya literally means "isolation", but as used in the Sutras stands for emancipation or liberation and is used interchangeably with moksha (liberation), which is the goal of yoga. The Kaivalya Pada describes the process of liberation and the reality of the transcendental ego.
        So it seems like the Yoga Sutras are laying out a certain philosophy, whereby the user applies Samadhi, concentration, to unite with or be absorbed by "the One", have selfless devotion, and get "liberation". I think these ideas of being absorbed by the One and what you are getting liberated from are important to flesh out and analyze in light of Orthodoxy. The article also mentions that The Lord/Ishvara is an important aspect of the Yoga Sutras, and in this it differs from other Samkhya writings, which ignore God.

        Dr. Mangala says on Ancient Faith Radio as to the question of the Yoga Sutras about Samidha:
        Quote
        Dr. Mangala: Some would say it is absorption into a kind of impersonal Brahman—that’s where the individual becomes identical with the universal; and some would say it’s absorption into a trans-personal, a godhead

        K. Allen: samadhi is often described in terms of saccidananda, pure consciousness, bliss, and so on.

        Dr. Mangala: saccidananda, which is sort of truth, knowledge, bliss—it’s a tripartite description of this ultimate experience—to my mind it sounds wonderful but it’s a static concept, and it’s also an abstract concept... [In Christianity, the Kingdom of God is] even greater because it doesn’t end; it’s not a goal that you score and that there is an end to it, but it continues. It’s a continuing transformation from glory to glory as St. Paul talks about. ... Samadhi, inevitably, becomes self-centered. Even if people talk about community work and so on, ultimately it does leave the world behind, it leaves the other people behind, and it leaves the Creation behind.
        http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/illuminedheart/yoga_and_orthodox_christianity_are_they_compatible

        Next, K. Allen the AFR interviewer said something that surprised me (in bold), and the answer to his question seems to be what I underlined:
        Quote
        Mr. Allen: Do you think that—I’ve always been confused about this idea of samadhi, especially within the context of Bhakti Yoga which I practice, which, as you pointed out earlier, is devotion to a personal deity ...  Is samadhi always, Christine, a losing of self? Of course, in Christianity, our personhood in the image of God is key. Is it always a losing of self...?

        Dr. Mangala: {in Christianity]  if human beings are made in the image of God, they also have these personal qualities, if you like. And that is incredibly important, and when you talk about the kingdom of God or theosis and other notions that come with it, because human beings are intrinsically valuable, because they’re made in the image of God. Now, I don’t have anywhere in the Hindu thinking a parallel notion. And so samadhi, naturally, it’s confusing, because there are different ways of defining the human being, but mostly you will find they have a Gnostic undercurrent: the soul becomes important, but the body does not.
        http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/illuminedheart/yoga_and_orthodox_christianity_are_they_compatible

        In another essay, Dr. Mangala explained about the question "Absorption into what?", and said that the original concepts still occasional show up in yoga today:
        Quote
        If you are a Hindu who worships God as a deity, a theist who cultivates a personal relationship of love with his or her god or goddess, and seeks liberation by the deity’s grace, “absorption” means a drowning of self in the Godhead.

        Though the ambitious spiritual program of Patanjali’s Yoga morphed into keep-fit routines in Western Yoga classes and manuals, one still meets some mutation or other of the complex, inter-dependent psycho-spiritual concepts from the original author. Underlying them all is the view derived from a system of philosophy known as samkhya. According to samkhya, our ordinary psychosomatic self is a byproduct of biophysical processes and that by the disciplines of yoga, one peels oneself like an onion to reach the core where one finds “pure consciousness.” As one yoga teacher explains: ‘once the individual grasps that he is essentially pure consciousness different from and separate from psychophysical processes, he is disunited from his false notions. At the same time the individual is also united in his thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions to his real self.’
        http://www.pravmir.com/yoga-and-the-christian-faith/

        The idea of "drowning oneself" spiritually, albeit into the godhead, does not sound very positive.

        In his next paragraph, Dr. Mangala emphasized that even though Christian monks withdraw from the world, there is still a Christian concept of changing the world into God's kingdom, which arrives - not just leaving the world as an illusion left in its unpleasantness.
        The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #98 on: October 14, 2016, 09:46:20 PM »
        Then I think you should go and do your homework on this before asking about these very specific instances of how these terms are applied in an Indian Orthodox context.
        Dear Iconodule,

        I know what you mean, it's just that I prefer learning about these concepts most from people whose opinions I trust most for spirituality, like in this case the Indian Orthodox.

        The Oriental Mar Thoma Church website seems to see Yoga as a form of prayer:

        Quote
        There are different kinds of prayer. Mental prayer, which is the encounter of the heart with God and the dwelling of the soul with him. It is from the deep heart that we communicate with God. We just share all our feelings, thoughts, short comings, dreams and aspirations. Meditation is another form of prayer. Devotion (from Latin word ‘devoveo’) may mean ‘to be attached to’, ‘to be addicted to’, ‘to be very fond of’ or ‘to be faithful to’. We meditate upon the word of God and goodness that we enjoy through our religious experience. Mediation and contemplation is very common in Indian Spirituality. Yoga is one of the major ways of prayer and meditation in Indian Spirituality.
        http://marthoma.in/prayer-the-great-liberator/

        Its Mumbai Diocese recommends it as a part of health:
        Quote
        Healthy Ageing
        Take good care of your health. Get your checkups done on time. Have your medications, if any without a miss. Eat healthy and nutritious food. Keep regular food timings. Exercise – join a yoga class or just take a walk. Be positive. This is a stage to enjoy your time growing closer to God.
        http://mumbaidiocese.marthoma.in/uploads/1/2/6/3/12633840/suvartha_pathrika-final.pdf

        Fr. Giryus mentioned one book:
        A Christian Outlook on Yoga by Abraham Oommen (treatise by a Malankara {Syriac Indian} Priest, which I think is one of the most helpful of all the books or articles I have read)...the priest argues that Yoga can be effectively divorced from Hinduism and applied strictly as a science of the body, which in turn can be used by Christians in the same way that we use medicine and other technological advances created by pagans.
        ...
        nowhere in any of these books are the asanas physical exercises condemned or seen as dangerous.  Rather, they are preparations.  I've heard the analogy that asanas are to yoga what bread is to the Eucharist: you need bread to have the Eucharist, but not all bread is Eucharistic. 
        This goes along with the argument that yoga is not necessarily religious.

        A book review says:
        Quote
        Abraham Oommen (Indian Society of Promoting Christian Knowledge) points out that one of the main objections to the practice of yoga by Christians is the argument that yoga is an integral part of Hinduism. He points out the incorrectness of this argument, because there is much historical evidence that yoga practiced in India as early as the pre-Aryan era, that is, before the rise of Hinduism. According to Oommen, yoga itself is not a religion, nor part of any religion, it is a psychosomatic technique that Hindus use as a practical tool. Oommen believes that many of the ideas on which yoga is based are similar to Christian doctrine, but therefore Christians can practice their own yoga that fits their worldview.

        (Abraham Oommen. A Christian Outlook on Yoga. — New Delhi: Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2008. — xiii + 84 p.)
        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%99%D0%BE%D0%B3%D0%B0#cite_ref-81

        According to the famous Indian saint Met. Paulo Mar Gregorios:
        Quote
        “The main tenet of the Orthodox faith is the belief that salvation is by being united with Christ who is Isvara incarnate. By being united with Him, we are to grow into God's image by becoming more and more god-like in character, in love, in goodness and in wisdom. This process of transformation is called theosis or divinisation. This is very close to certain schools of Hindu thinking about salvation by yoga or union with Brahama.”
        This on the other hand does sound religious and brings to mind what I've read about the Yoga Sutras and Samadhi.

        The saint Paulos Mar Gregorios also formulated his approach to other religions in terms of Dharma and Yoga:
        Quote


        If the word religion is used, the listener or reader will understand it as a useless appendix of human life rather than as the head of human life. Therefore, Mar Gregorios prefers the Sanskrit word Dharma, which retains the original meaning of religion. Dharma involves four aspects: understanding, self-discipline, worship, and compassionate service.
        ...
        Mar Gregorios proposes three ways of interreligious dialog to match with the three ways of dealing with reality: Practical handling of reality, verbal conceptualization and communication, and various ritual expressions of meaning though dance, music, gestures, and liturgical actions. These three ways may be summarized using the Sanskrit words that denote the three ways of yoga: karma, jnaana, and Bhakti. In the words of Mar Gregorios, they are practical level, theoretical level, and symbolic and ritual level.9 He further elaborates these levels as follows:

            Dialog on common social or economic problems and about common projects and practical collaboration
            Dialog on the theoretical or theological aspects of religion
            Dialog in which a and b are transcended into the realm of entering into each other’s spiritual experience and group worship.
        http://johnkunnathu.blogspot.com/2010/11/paulos-mar-gregorios-as-pioneer-in.html

        I see how "understanding, self-discipline, worship, and compassionate service" are important components of a good religious practice like he mentioned. The saint also wrote in his autobiography about oneness with God, although it sounds like here he is adopting the Advaitist view:
        Quote
        I need to learn from all, and have indeed learned from many. My major liberation in life has been from thinking that the Western way of thinking, with its specific categories and modalities, is the only way to think and to know. ... From my own Indian tradition I have learned the principle of Ekam advitiyam or One without a Second; I know now that all diversity and difference ultimately find their unity in the One without a Second; that One is more ultimate than the many. My own Eastern Orthodox tradition has confirmed that there is no creation other than God or outside God, because the Infinite Ultimate has neither outside nor other.
        http://johnkunnathu.blogspot.com/2010/11/paulos-mar-gregorios-as-pioneer-in.html
        These underlined parts are confusing for me though, because in this case I have familiarized myself with basics of Advaita, as you recommended doing with these new concepts.

        Advaita proposes that God is not separate from His Creation, or as one leading teacher of Advaita put it, God is both the Creator and the Creation, the Potter and the clay, whereas in the Dvaita school, God is only the Creator and the potter. As I understand Orthodox Christian tradition, Creation is in fact another entity than God. Please correct me if I am wrong Iconodule, as that is how I understand Orthodoxy.
        « Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 09:50:08 PM by rakovsky »
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        Offline Mor Ephrem

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #99 on: October 14, 2016, 10:20:17 PM »
        HG Paulos Mar Gregorios is not a canonised saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church, the "Marthoma Church" is not Orthodox/orthodox, "Holy Transfiguration" in Wisconsin is a vagante parish, the Nasrani.net website is run by Catholics, AFR and Pravmir are not Oriental Orthodox, and on and on we go...

        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #100 on: October 14, 2016, 11:35:56 PM »
        Thanks for clearing this up, Mor:
        HG Paulos Mar Gregorios is not a canonised saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church
        Sorry Mor, I was confused because of titles he was given, like Mar Gregorios, Star of the East, Gregory of India, One of Our Church Fathers:
        http://paulosmargregorios.in/?page_id=1980
        http://paulosmargregorios.in/profile.html
        https://www.scribd.com/document/35298478/Paulos-Mar-Gregorios

        Thanks for clearing my confusion up about this too:
        Quote
        the "Marthoma Church" is not Orthodox/orthodox,

        Quote
        The Mar Thoma Church is an autonomous Oriental church with Syriac High Church traditions and eclectic characteristics from the era of the Reformation. The church defines itself as "Apostolic in origin, Universal in nature, Biblical in faith, Evangelical in principle, Ecumenical in outlook, Oriental in worship, Democratic in function, and Episcopal in character".
        ...
        Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church and Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church have the same malankara antiquity and heritage.These churches are often referred as "Swadeshi Churches". However, there is no communion relationship between both the churches.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar_Thoma_Syrian_Church

        Quote
        "Holy Transfiguration" in Wisconsin is a vagante parish, the Nasrani.net website is run by Catholics

        The Nasrani website claims:
        Quote
        In general, this is a pro- oriental forum with participation and contribution on varies topics from members of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Saint Thomas Christian Churches and outside.

        Read more: http://www.nasrani.net/about-nsc/#ixzz4N7X125cQ
        But anyway, it's not an authoritative source.

        That's curious about Holy Transfiguration, which claims to be part of a "mission society" of the mainstream Malankaran Church:
        http://www.angelfire.com/ms3/mission/contacts.html
        But I trust what you are saying.

        St Gregorios Orthodox Church in Oak Park, IL published a similar work by the same author.

        I would be grateful if you come across anything in Malayalam by Malankaran Orthodox writers on the topic.
        « Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 11:50:51 PM by rakovsky »
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        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #101 on: October 15, 2016, 09:41:39 PM »
        I think that without knowing Malayalam, it's harder to find in-depth discussions on the topic by Malankaran Orthodox. Take for example the Mar Ivanios College website. It mentions about ARCHBISHOP BENEDICT MAR GREGORIOS' impressive work and activities:
        Quote
        ARCHBISHOP BENEDICT MAR GREGORIOS

        With his charisma and dynamism he involved himself in almost all the developmental activities of the State. He gave a new dimension to spirituality by recognizing the role of action in human life.
        ...
        He was the president of Kerala Bishop\\\'s Conference and the Catholic Bishop Conference of India. He travelled extensively across the world. Besides the Education and Agriculture, he showed a keen interest in Labour, Industry, Housing, Social Services, Religious Harmony, Ecumenism, Environment Problem and Media. ...

        Under the ten-point \\\"Health for a Million Programme\\\" activities were organized under the following heads.
        Education for Health and Development
        Nutrition Programme
        Special Care for Children
        Juvenile Guidance
        Maternity care
        Family Planning Through Responsible Parent hood
        Socio-Economic Development
        Environmental Sanitation
        Disease Control, Healing the Sick, Rehabilitation of the Disabled
        Nature Cure and Yoga Treatment
        http://www.marivanioscollege.com/?page=content&&id=2

        It would be interesting and helpful to hear more what kinds of programs he set up for Nature Cure and Yoga Treatment. I think that Nature Cures offer some hope in areas where western medicine right now does not have a great answer, like treating many viruses. Wouldn't there be more in Malayalam in this field?

        I did find a brief description of the book by the Indian Syriac writer Fr. Giryius recommended:
        Quote


        This books deals with the background philosophy - Sankhya which is essential for a comprehensive knowledge of the system of Yoga. Sankhya is an atheistic philosophy. Yoga was not a part of any religious system to begin with. Later many religions adopted it. The author tries to dispel many of the misconceptions about Yoga and shows how the Indian Christians can be benefited from it. The book can be viewed as a Christian commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. It also tries to establish how the Greek Orthodox Christian spiritual movement called Hesychasm is similar to Yoga in many respects.
        ...
        CHAPTER 4
        A Christian Critique of Yoga

        CHAPTER 5
        Yoga and Christian Mysticism

        CHAPTER 6
        Towards a Christian Yoga
        http://www.indiaclub.com/A-Christian-Outlook-on-Yoga_p_380355.html

        « Last Edit: October 15, 2016, 09:42:14 PM by rakovsky »
        The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

        Offline Mor Ephrem

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #102 on: October 15, 2016, 09:56:49 PM »
        I think that without knowing Malayalam, it's harder to find in-depth discussions on the topic by Malankaran Orthodox. Take for example the Mar Ivanios College website. It mentions about ARCHBISHOP BENEDICT MAR GREGORIOS' impressive work and activities:

        Eastern Catholic, not Orthodox.

        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #103 on: October 15, 2016, 10:51:20 PM »
        I know, me too. Yoga goes back at least to the Indus civilization, one of the first major ones on earth, which lasted up to 1500 BC, which is the era of Moses ( somewhere in 1500-1300 BC). We have found tablets from the Indus civilization showing a figure in the lotus position of Yoga. ...

        ... Om etymologically seems to mean agreement or permission, related to the Dravidian (probably pre-Aryan) Aum, meaning Yes. It is considered a divine sound and Asko Parpola likens it to "Amen" in Christianity.

        I can't speak to the rest of your post, but the bits like above are a mess, it seems to me. For one thing, your understanding of what yoga really means in India and Hinduism seems extremely small.

        American yoga has only a fleeting connection with Hinduism. It can be an important part of American New Age religion, tho.

        Evangelical alarmists tend to wrap a kernel of truth in plenty of their own error and sensationalism. I would think if you're surrounded by grounded folks who exercise with yoga, your experience is at least as reliable as some anti-New Age preacher who says yoga infects and maddens its users ...
        Dear Porter,
        I am impressed with information you provided, when you have chosen to. You are right that American yoga, with its intense emphasis on poses and physical exercise, has just a fleeting connection with Hinduism. Yes, that's a small part of Yoga's philosophy.

        I also sympathize with what you said about how Evangelicals have a kernel of truth wrapped in sensationalism, and the importance of experience with grounded folks. The Indian Orthodox book A Christian Outlook on Yoga also discusses how there are Christian criticisms of Yoga.

        The idea that Yoga's philosophy  goes far behind poses reminds me of what Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios wrote in A Perception on myself: Ten streams of social awareness which has shaped me as a person:
        Quote
        I find that I share in the Vedic consciousness- in my own feeble and imperfect way. I find the heart of the Vedic Consciousness in the concept of Yajna or Yoga, which to me is true Yoga, The concept of sacrifice is not to be moralistically or ritualistically misrepresented, though it has deep moral implications, and Yajna without ritual is to me inconceivable. The cosmic egg, the brahmanda needs to be held together, by Yajna or by a deep moving social rite of abandoning self - abandoning it by offering it to the source of all, to all humanity, and to all that exists. I find this Vedic rite consciousness central to my own Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition.
        http://www.malankaraorthodoxtv.in/Books/pmg_samvadhikkunnu.pdf
        This obviously does not have that much to do with poses (asans), but rather is focused on layers of consciousness.

        It's interesting for me how he considers his next layer of consciousness to be perhaps pre-Aryan, which reminds me of the great, mysterious Harappan civilization that is commonly considered to be pre-Vedic:
        Quote
        At a third level...  I find in myself a layer that responds to cosmic Sakti. I have no objection if you want to relate it to the so called pre Aryan or Dravidian religion. Or you can associate it with Saivism. What matters for me is my own perception of myself as an energy configuration system, dependent upon and drawing from the whole complex of energy systems in the cosmos - the energy of sun and moon, of galaxies and planetary systems, of ocean tides and gravitational fields, of electromagnetic and other yet unidentified force fields. I do not claim that this layer is unrelated to the first and second layers [“the primal Vision” of Indian tribes and the Vedic consciousness]. But Sakti is not a matter of the intellect. It is a question of being in tune - to be charged constantly from the enormously complex force-field that our universe is. And if I try conceptualise the universe merely as a mechanical system which is the object of my knowledge, I am bound to go wrong in my philosophical reasoning.
        This idea of "being in tune" with the cosmic force-field brings to mind an interpretation of the chant of Om where a practitioner is in harmony with Om's tune.

        The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #104 on: October 15, 2016, 11:04:06 PM »
        ARCHBISHOP BENEDICT MAR GREGORIOS' impressive work and activities:[/u]

        Eastern Catholic, not Orthodox.
        Dear Mor,
        Thank you for very much pointing my mistake out. I wish you would delete the mention of Abp. Benedict, along with the ones from Mar Thoma Church a few messages ago, since they aren't Orthodox.

        "A Christian Outlook on Yoga" is dedicated to Fr. Jacob Kurian of the Orthodox Seminary of Kottayam (http://www.ots.edu.in/), so at least that author must be Orthodox.

        Peace.
        « Last Edit: October 15, 2016, 11:18:42 PM by rakovsky »
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        Offline jobin219

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #105 on: October 15, 2016, 11:18:29 PM »
        HG Paulos Mar Gregorios is not a canonised saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church, the "Marthoma Church" is not Orthodox/orthodox, "Holy Transfiguration" in Wisconsin is a vagante parish, the Nasrani.net website is run by Catholics, AFR and Pravmir are not Oriental Orthodox, and on and on we go...

        Mor, is Holy Transfiguration church not part of MOSC? I remember Fr. John Brian celebrating Holy Qurbono once in our hometown when I was younger.
        "As far as possible never do evil to anyone: or it will ruin you, your children and your house. Hold on steadfastly to prayer, fasting and works of charity. Do them with faith and devotion ".
        -Saint Gregorios Geevarghese Chathuruthil (Parumala Thirumeni)

        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #106 on: October 16, 2016, 01:03:39 AM »

        Mor, is Holy Transfiguration church not part of MOSC? I remember Fr. John Brian celebrating Holy Qurbono once in our hometown when I was younger.

        It looks like he is sometimes celebrating at EO churches now:
        Quote
        The homiletic sermon was given by. Rev. Fr. John-Brian Paprock on June 26, 2015 at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission liturgy held at St. Ignatius Antiochian Church in Madison (Fitchburg) Wisconsin
        http://frjohbrian.blogspot.com/

        St. Ignatius
        ADDRESS: 2124 Shafer Drive, Fitchburg, WI,
        A CHURCH OF THE SELF-RULED ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN ARCHDIOCESE OF NORTH AMERICA
        Quote
        The topic of starting a second Orthodox church in Madison arose in 1995 in conversations with the V. Rev. Fr. Peter Gillquist, head of the Department of Missions and Evangelism of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
        https://saintignatiuschurch.org/about-2/location/
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        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #107 on: October 16, 2016, 01:22:48 AM »
        Dear Jobin,

        Welcome to the thread! It is a pleasure to have you here. Can you read Malayalam, and if so, may I respectfully ask if you come across any materials on yoga in it?
        The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #108 on: October 16, 2016, 02:16:23 PM »
        I found excerpts from the Malankaran Orthodox writer's book A Christian Outlook on Yoga here:
        https://books.google.com/books?id=RAkC5g4XWvcC&pg=PP3&lpg=PP3&dq=A+Christian+Outlook+on+Yoga+by+Abraham+Oommen&source=bl&ots=xfJT0hjeT7&sig=36Nm1y0ffh_aOZnjRsxmBpPQOJQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwih0tTVzdvPAhUBST4KHVxBAvUQ6AEIJDAB#v=onepage&q=A%20Christian%20Outlook%20on%20Yoga%20by%20Abraham%20Oommen&f=false

        My main goal is to see what would be the Christian, especially Malankaran Orthodox, view of it. Oomen writes in his Preface that Yoga's:
        Quote
        goal is Samadhi or contemplation: the blissful union with the Ultimate. This was the aim of prayer, meditation and the whole way of Christian life. ... In order to appreciate yoga, one has to delve into the Samkhya-Yoga philosophy, the cradle in which yoga was born.... I decided to prepare a manual of yoga for Christians in light of the Samkhya system. ... It was a wonderful discovery for me to find that the Orthodox tradition of hesychasm is similar to yoga in many respects. An amalgamation of the Greek Orthodox and Indian myusticisms will be a joyful experience for the Indian Christians.
        It's true that if one equates "The Ultimate" with God, then as he says, union with the Ultimate is the aim of Christian life. And it's also true that Yoga aims at uniting the practitioner with what it considers "The Ultimate".

        Oomen defines Yoga by pointing to Yoga Sutra I:2: "Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (chitta) from taking various forms" (vrittis). Talking about Vritti, he explains that they are Modifications of Mind, saying:
        Quote
        Vritti means the waves in chitta, caused by subjective and objective realities.... in the process of cognition, the mind takes the shape of external objects. St. Augustine has said 'Think about earth, and you become earthly; think about sense, and you become sensual; about sex and you become sexual; about God, and you become godly, divine.
        What St. Augustine says makes sense: If one thinks about a certain topic for a long time, it can start to take hold. Going to Church often and praying often creates a pattern that one's future practice can flow into.

        OOmen also talks about reachieving a lost state of excellence by meditation.
        Quote
        It is the 'aham' or the egoism that really pulls man down from the state of excellence. In order to achieve a state of excellence man cannot but overcome 'ahamkara'. THis transformation is done through meditation in yoga.
        He then compares this to St. Paul's ideas, and also explains what he considers to be Christian mysticism: "The motivating factor of Christian mysticism as we see in the New Testament is 'Love' (Jn.3:16, 15:1-17, ijn.4:7 ff). Christ-centered mysticism is also observed in the letters written by St. Paul's [as with] the often repeated phrase, 'in Christ'". He also finds such mysticism in "the teaching of Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God is within you" and of St Paul, "your body is the temple of the living God." [Page 54] I agree that these Christian teachings seem mystical. And being Truths, I can see how analogous ideas could be picked up by yogic philosophers.

        OOmen also compares hesychasm to Yoga, noting that the "'Jesus Prayer', widely used in hesychast circles, is a technique or spiritual discipline similar to yoga. Meyendorff says, 'A prayer of the Divine Name linked with respiration was so widespread in Islamic circles, that no one can deny'" similarity. He also discusses "claims of hesychasm like the entrance of the mind through the nostrils while breathing, the vision of Jesus Christ in the navel" (page 64).
        As to this vision of Jesus being in the navel, I suppose it may just be some saints' visions, not a general Orthodox idea.
        « Last Edit: October 16, 2016, 02:45:39 PM by rakovsky »
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        Offline Mor Ephrem

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #109 on: October 17, 2016, 10:55:49 AM »
        HG Paulos Mar Gregorios is not a canonised saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church, the "Marthoma Church" is not Orthodox/orthodox, "Holy Transfiguration" in Wisconsin is a vagante parish, the Nasrani.net website is run by Catholics, AFR and Pravmir are not Oriental Orthodox, and on and on we go...

        Mor, is Holy Transfiguration church not part of MOSC? I remember Fr. John Brian celebrating Holy Qurbono once in our hometown when I was younger.

        AFAIK, neither he nor the parish is part of the MOSC.   

        Offline mike

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #110 on: October 17, 2016, 10:59:34 AM »
        and Pravmir are not Oriental Orthodox, and on and on we go...

        It's still seems the fact English PravMir republishes materials from other pages and does not write anything on it's own (or hardly anything) to complex for you to comprehend.
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        Offline Mor Ephrem

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #111 on: October 17, 2016, 11:25:56 AM »
        and Pravmir are not Oriental Orthodox, and on and on we go...

        It's still seems the fact English PravMir republishes materials from other pages and does not write anything on it's own (or hardly anything) to complex for you to comprehend.

        My comment was directed toward rakovsky's continual citing of non-Orthodox and non-OO sources in his search for "what Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga", and had nothing to do with Pravmir's publishing policies.  Perhaps your anti-Russian bias interferes with your ability to read English?  I know it can't be any personal antagonism on your part.   :angel:     

        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #112 on: October 19, 2016, 03:57:16 AM »
        May I please ask what do you think about Ayurveda? I think some of the herbs could be very healthy and treat viruses and illnesses where western medicine can be weak, as you alluded earlier, Mor.

        Here is the talk on the announcement of the inauguration of the Ayurvedic camp, beginning with hymns:
        Quote
        http://orthodoxchurch.tv/2015/10/29/ayurveda-medical-camp-inauguration/

        Ayurveda Medical Camp Inaugurated by H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrisostomos on 29th October 2015 @ Parumala Seminary
        May I please respectfully ask if you could give us a sense of some of the lectures in the video?
        I got some Triphala today at an Ayurvedic store, so it's something I am interested in for myself. I would like to find out how much of the practice is worthwhile.

        St. Gregorios Mission Hospitol says that Ayurveda is "The science of life, heals diseases, prevents diseases and also promotes perfect health, which is promoted by our ancient rishis for the welfare of mankind." It adds in the section of the hospital's ayurveda that "All classical treatment procedures which has been written by our great Acharyas are performed classically". It often involves pouring oils on to the body, which sounds soothing. It says that
        Quote
        "The medicine changes according to the dosha condition."



        (http://www.sghospital.org/departments/ayurveda)

        Jetavan explained a bit earlier what the Doshas are:
        Ayurvedic medicine is not directly connected to Hindu spirituality. That is, it is *related* to Hindu spirituality in *some* fashion ("vedic" in Ayurvedic is from the name of the primal Hindu Scriptures, the Vedas; and your Ayurvedic physician may in fact be a practicing Hindu, e.g.), but invoking of deities is not a part of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is, in part, centered on the idea and practice of balancing one's doshas, or elemental qualities (earthy-watery, called "kapha", fiery, called "pitta", or airy, called "vata"). I'm predominantly vata, myself.

        The Malankaran Syriac Orthodox FAQ says:
        Quote
        Can a Christian use Medicines for healing?

        "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good." (Gen. 1: 31). All the various medicines have been made from the herbs or other materials God has created for the good of man. Any ayurvedic eye doctor would say that when Jesus 'spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay' {Jn. 9: 6), he was using medicine for healing of the eyes.
        http://www.malankara.com/faithfaq.html#t2n312

        This is interesting. I did not explicitly think of Jesus' spitting on the ground and rubbing in the eyes as "medicine", which I think of as natural herbs and chemicals, but rather a miracle that used his divine power. Perhaps Ayurveda looks at and defines "medicine" in a different way, giving it much different connotations.

        Malankaran Orthodox TV ran this announcement about one of its priests using ayurveda:
        Quote
        Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius Metropolitan visits Nagaland Chief Minister T. R. Zeliang

        H.G. Dr.Joseph Mar Dionysius Metropolitan visited Nagaland Chief Minister Shri.T.R.Zeliang who is undergoing Ayurvedic treatment at Chegannur along with Fr.P.S.Varghese, Principal M.G.M.Hr.Sec.School, Dimapur.
        http://malankaraorthodox.tv/?p=41595

        A class on Ayurveda was part of the festivities for St. Thomas Day:
        Quote
        Niranam Church Feast
        Niranam St.Mary’s Orthodox Valiyapally is celebrating St.Thomas Feast commemorating the martyrdom of St.Thomas from December 14th to 21st. ... On 17th, a class on ‘Life style diseases in ayurvedic perspective’ will be led by Dr.Robin K.Thomson. On 18th, after the Holy Qurbana, Rev.Fr.Mathew Idayanal will lead a prayer meet, retreat and intercessory prayer.
        http://orthodoxchurch.tv/2013/12/12/niranam-church-feast/

        Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim, a Metropolitan of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, gave an interview where he proposed setting up Ashrams for yoga and ayurveda in parallel with the Ethiopian Church's practices.
        Quote
        Q: You have called to emulate the practice of Ethiopian Orthodox church style of shunning cities and moving to ashrams for a life of prayer, meditation.

        A: Rev Fr Jossy Jacob of Malankara Orthodox Church showed me pictures of different types of Ethiopia’s neglected island monasteries and how it is being practised... Pray and meditation is performed amidst wild animals which roam about freely. The skeletons of some of the saints are hung over huge trees or installed there. Our own St Gregorios of Pampady was a popular bishop whose love for birds is well known and liked to feed them. I am telling this we can also recreate the same in our Indian context with some modifications to include yoga, ayurvedic sessions and others.

        http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:KywXEBAlYNgJ:www.orthodoxherald.com/2011/05/02/decentralisation-of-ministry-is-my-main-focus-dr-mar-seraphim/&num=1&hl=en&gl=us&strip=1&vwsrc=0

        St. Gregorios Church in Ontario mentioned how its pastor was undergoing Ayurdveda for health reasons:
        Quote
        Vicar V. Rev. Rambachen went to Kerala, for his annual Ayurveda treatment and recuperation, during the last week of May and will be returned during the first week of August 2014.
        www.stgoc.org/Display.asp?f=2

        There is however a story of St. Ramban Geevarghese (Parumala Thirumeni) when he decided not to take medical treatment, including ayurveda:
        Quote
        Even when afflicted with illness, he was not very enthusiastic about taking medical treatment, because he firmly believed that nothing happens without the knowl­edge of God. Once there was a painful abscess on his back. Ayurvedic doctors were of the view that it will aggravate. His disciples were much worried. But Rambachans faith was undaunted and he was unmoved by his illness. He said Is there anything that God does not know; the illness which appeared on its own will disappear on its own”. His father who came to know of the illness procured some ayurvedic medicines and sent them to Rambachan, who accepted it, but never made use of it!
        www.thesaintofparumala.com/history.html
        « Last Edit: October 19, 2016, 04:01:25 AM by rakovsky »
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        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #113 on: October 19, 2016, 02:12:07 PM »


        As I understand it, in practice Ayurveda is basically a combination of:
        yoga,
        detoxifying herb powder like triphala,
        other herbs that include those in curries and masala chais,
        a concept of attaining equilibrium of the theorized "doshas" Jetavan mentioned,
        fasting to encourage the detoxification
        heavy oil massages like in the photo from the mission hospital in the last post
        The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #114 on: October 22, 2016, 09:28:05 PM »
        St. Gregorios Mission Hospitol says thatt
        Quote
        "The medicine changes according to the dosha condition."


        (http://www.sghospital.org/departments/ayurveda)
        An ayurvedic doctor told me today that I am "Pitta", that he can tell from looking at me and from taking my pulse.

        I found an article talking about what kind of people "Pitta"s are and what foods they should eat:
        http://www.chopra.com/article/understanding-pitta-how-feed-your-inner-fire
        Quote
        Qualities of Pitta:

            Hot
            Light
            Intense
            Penetrating
            Pungent
            Sharp
            Acidic

        ...
        Pitta types should use seasonings that are soothing and cooling. These include coriander, cilantro, cardamom, saffron, and fennel.
        Actually, my pulse is a little slower than average and I was pretty sleepy today. I am not sure how one can tell that I am "Pitta", but Indian clergy who are OO and EO have told me I would need to go to India if I sought "real" Ayurvedic treatment.
        « Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 09:28:43 PM by rakovsky »
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        Offline rakovsky

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #115 on: October 24, 2016, 12:59:37 PM »

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JFq_7E6haA
        Fr. Jacob has a video above where he explains and performs healing treatments. It's in English, although at 7:20 he goes into Malayalam performing a group meditation workshop.



        Quote
        Fr Jacob, an Orthodox priest with the St Mary’s Church, Edamon, near Punalur, has been teaching various martial arts - Karate, Kungfu and Kick Boxing - at many centres in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. ... He had also conducted a month-long yoga camp for the public in Punalur during the month of Karkidakom. The revered season is suitable for treatment and physical maintenance, he says. Apart from that, all official functions of his academy begin by lighting the lamp, which is a thoroughly Indian tradition. Fr Jacob is adept in blending the local culture with his Christian beliefs in the same manner he incorporated Kalaripayattu to his syllabus.
        http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/thiruvananthapuram/2011/aug/27/master-in-service-of-god-284970.html

        « Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 01:12:06 PM by rakovsky »
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        Offline Jetavan

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #116 on: December 03, 2016, 10:15:08 AM »
        Om Shalom.



        In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
        सर्वभूतहित


        सर्वभूतहित = sarvabhootahit?
        ...which means "for the well-being of all creatures".
        If you will, you can become all flame.
        Extra caritatem nulla salus.
        In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
        सर्वभूतहित
        Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
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        Y dduw bo'r diolch.

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        Re: What do Malankara Indian Orthodox teach about Yoga?
        « Reply #117 on: June 13, 2018, 03:27:00 PM »
        A Christian perspective on Ayurveda:
        Quote
        Featured on today's show is Christian Ayurveda expert, John Immel.
        ....
        John studied under Dr. Vasant Lad and is specialized in the advanced treatment of digestive tract pathology. He holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University. He first discovered Ayurveda while working on a public health project in Bangladesh. John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel
        If you will, you can become all flame.
        Extra caritatem nulla salus.
        In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
        सर्वभूतहित
        Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
        "Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
        Y dduw bo'r diolch.