Re: Yoga

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Posted by Dawud ( on September 28, 2003 at 18:46:45:

In Reply to: Yoga posted by Jonah on September 28, 2003 at 15:31:21:

First of all, "yoga" can mean many, many different things. Classically, the term is used in Hinduism and Buddhism, and probably (too lazy to check) Jainism as well.

Generally the meaning is something like "spiritual practice." This can include actual work (karmayoga), meditation (jyanayoga), and/or devotion to a deity (bhaktiyoga). I believe that some form of all three is not only permitted, but REQUIRED in the Baha'i faith.

(The integration of these three spheres, by the way, is the major theme of the Bhagavadgita, which Baha'is have an unofficial fondness for as the major source of teachings relating to Lord Krishna.)

The popular meaning of yoga as a set of spiritual postures (asanas), is something of a departure from traditional emphases. Certainly when divorced from its spiritual context--especially the lineage of guru-disciple, guru-disciple--and transformed into a health fad, it can hardly be considered the same kind of activity. That said, I don't see why Baha'is would object to yoga purely as a form of exercise.

When done as a form of spiritual worship, I suppose it would fall into the same category as participation in the rituals of other religions--you're allowed to visit and support, but not to adhere or be a member.

Now what if you want to incorporate certain physical postures from other religions, into your prayer life? (Examples: Islamic salat, cross-legged meditation, putting your foot behind your head.) As far as I know that's allowed, as long as you're not leading others to do it in a group setting. I was just looking at some UHJ ruling related to this (not on yoga per se)...

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