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Yoga and Faith: Six Spiritualists Discuss A Heated Topic

Is yoga a religion? This question has sparked controversy for decades and continues to do so.

A few years back, in Virginia, pastor and GOP candidate E.W. Jackson condemned yoga, claiming it to be a catalyst for demonic possession.

In Encinitas, California, Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School ran into some trouble when it introduced yoga into its physical education curriculum. The kids barely had an opportunity to inhale and lift their arms when some parents freaked, claiming that the school was “promoting Hinduism.”

And similarly, last March, Bullard Elementary School in Kennesaw, Georgia, was forced to remove the use of “namaste” in school yoga-classes when conservative Christian parents rallied.

So where does this leave us?

As The Bible teaches, “In all my getting, get an understanding (Proverbs 4:7).”

“People are always afraid of what they do not know or understand,” said Pastor Naron David Tillman of St. Phillip’s Christian Church, in Brooklyn. “Yoga should be available to all who desire it. The practice shouldn't be forced on people, nor should they be denied access to it. The obstacle in dispelling yoga’s myths, within any community, is lack of understanding.”

Next Wednesday, May 11, six prominent yogis will dispel yoga’s myths at the Integral Yoga Institute for YogaCity NYC’s twelfth Deeper Learning Series discussion. The panel will consist of Integral’s own President, Swami Asokananda , Iyengar teacher and ordained Buddhist nun, Marcela Clavijo ; Cantor Shayna De Lowe of Congregation Rodeph Shalom; master Kundalini teacher and Yogi Bhajan disciple, Hari Kaur Khalsa ; and Pastor Tillman. YogaCity NYC’s Brette Popper will moderate.

The evening is free, but seating is limited, so pre-registration is definitely encouraged.

Join us.

—Michael Laskaris

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