Whether Orthodox Christian yoga

Nowadays healthy lifestyle is becoming a real cult, especially among residents of developed countries. And one of the fast-spreading practices aimed at maintaining health, it becomes yoga. This Eastern practice came from a religious tradition and is firmly settled in the secularized West. The question remains: was it over yoga with your religious baggage or continues to gradually introduce people to spiritual traditions, it formed? And how to react Orthodox Christian on this phenomenon claiming daily in our lives?

Often, passing through Moscow, you can see the posters which are “breathable” the health of young men and women offer to do yoga. “Join” . — strict imperative and decisive appearance give no chance to doubt the vital importance of the advertised practice.  And trusting to such advertising, many are beginning to think that yoga is an Easternform of fitness. This opinion can be found among the Orthodox. However, in reality things are different.

Yoga is a teaching that uses a system of exercises aimed at managing the psychology and psychophysiology of the person to achieve a higher mental and spiritual state. And to think that yoga can be practiced solely for the sake of bodily health, at least, incorrectly. Yoga is primarily a spiritual system of beliefs, and the goal of yoga is spiritual and not physical. A famous Orthodox zealot hieromonk Seraphim (rose) wrote: “People who practice yoga only for physical health, already prepares itself to certain spiritual beliefs and even feelings, which he certainly has no clue” . It should be noted that father Seraphim knew firsthand what yoga is, because in his youth (before coming to Orthodoxy) has been actively carried away by it.

No exercise, a variety of poses and movement are the essence of yoga. In its center stands the meditation. The body here only helps to concentrate the mind. Father Seraphim writes: “the Goal of yogic techniques to make a person relaxed (relaxed), satisfied, unthinking and passive, that is, receptive to spiritual ideas and experiences” . Doing yoga even just a few weeks, the person may discover that he has become more calm, soft, balanced, understanding, to be uplifted. “Ultimately, meditation is “a solo inner journey”, and all kinds of external dependencies should be discarded for the purpose of finding a domestic Source.” But the seeming prosperity is deceptive. The state reached by man, makes it more susceptible to the “spirituality” that is contained in yoga. And “solo journey” may end very badly.

The fact is that every spiritual experience in yoga is considered positive, if only he was. There are no discerning of spirits, to which every Christian is called. And the experience from the point of view of a Christian understand how PR e flattering, can be accepted and recommended yoga. Here is an example from a fairly popular now of Kundalini yoga. She says disclosure by various kind of psychic energy “Kundalini”, which is concentrated in the “sleep” state at the base of the spine. The yogi awakens this energy — the person feels warm, originating at the base of the spine. However, the Holy fathers, ascetics definitely write that any sensation when the prayers are coming from areas that are located below the heart must be rejected. A Christian who does not know the Orthodox teaching on prayer can easily succumb to the “spirituality” that they possess.

The difference between prayer and meditation is essential. “Meditation as a distraction of the mind from all of the images that can give us a sense of calm, of peace, of the Exodus from conditions of time and space, but lacks conscious experience God as personal; it is not valid prayer, i.e. face to face” . writes another outstanding Orthodox theologian and ascetic Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov). Prayer, by contrast, expresses strong faith in God, she fights, knocking to God, there is no place impersonal — she’s always a dialogue. Here we can recall the words of the elder Silouan: “Pray for the people — the blood shed” .

What leads meditation? Father Sophronius, as well as hieromonk Seraphim in his youth fond of Eastern meditations, us replies: “It can lead to passionate meditation will satisfied mental results of such experiments, and, worst of all, the perception of the Living God, of the absolute Personal will become alien to him” . Become alien to God — what could be worse for a Christian?

In the absence of a personal encounter with the God of the person practicing yoga, drew his attention to himself. “The art of yoga is to immerse yourself in complete silence. Throw away all thoughts and illusions, to reject and forget everything but one truth: the true nature of man is divine; it is God, the rest can only be silent.” — we read in the book of a Benedictine monk J.-M. Deshane who half a century ago tried to show the compatibility of Christian doctrine and yoga. But even in the words of this man you can see a fundamental incompatibility between the teachings of yoga with Christianity.

Turning the eyes into essence and deifying her, the man in yoga repeats the sin of Adam, who wished to become a God and go beyond the limits of what defined him. But ” salvation is accomplished not “in itself and through itself, but in God” . writes an Orthodox theologian Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) rightly put it. A well-known Moscow photographer Zen yoga Boris Orion speaks openly: “What is Zen? It is a religion where there is no concept of “God” or “Creator”, where the principal is not prayer, and appeal to his conscience” .

In addition, modern widely popularized yoga promises its adherents rapid achievement of “spiritual fruit”. And it sets up on many consumer mood, enters into euphoria and at the same time in a state of pride that is associated with a high opinion of themselves and their abilities. Archimandrite Sophrony warns: “the Way our fathers requires a lot of faith and patience, whereas our contemporaries try to grab all the spiritual gifts, including even direct contemplation of the Absolute God, the pressure in the short term.” And modern “gurus” offer “enlightenment” in just a few sessions and a modest fee, of course.

What can look for the Orthodox Christian in yoga? Peace, harmony, spiritual comfort, physical health, perfection? All this so desirable and so attractive, and most importantly very nice. But the lives of the saints warriors show us a very different ideal of life is not the attainment of a harmonious and comfortable coexistence with the world and yourself, and voluntary martyrdom for Christ. Through the perfection, through him, the man goes back to God. Join.

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