Is yoga the most misunderstood practice in the world? Possibly so. The Daily Telegraph today, while commenting on yoga as a way of ‘toning the limbs and soothing the stresses of everyday life’, reports on the Vatican’s view that it is evil. And earlier this month, the same newspaper published an article entitled ‘green’ yoga teachers could kill’ – by putting students in ‘life-threatening’ positions. At best, then, yoga is a sort of keep fit for the burned-out-at-work brigade; at worst, a Satanic ritual. And either way it’s dangerous.
What exactly is it we’re afraid of in this most compassionate practice that brings a shared experience of peace, wisdom and contentment? How can we, from within our fast, mindless, competitive and materialistic worlds belittle ancient wisdoms that aim only to improve the quality of our collective lives?
I’d recommend to anyone who is tempted to follow the poor thinking behind this media coverage to do two things: (1) Read ‘How Yoga Works’ by Gesne Michael Roach and Christie McNally and (2) Roll out your mat and get on with it.
Choose compassion. Because you deserve it.