yoga teacher trainingBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Indian culture and the Indian people, as a whole, are deeply spiritual. The benefits of good spiritual health should not be kept a secret. Bhakti is the most popular style of Yoga within India.  Yet, Bhakti is barely known outside of India. This is the Yoga of devotion to God. Some people will debate what the Bhakti practitioner is devoted to, but ultimately this devotion is to God.

When we mention “God,” or spiritual health, in the United States, it has strangely become a subject, which makes many people feel uncomfortable. Some groups, which claim to want to protect our civil rights, would like to ban the words “In God We Trust” from US currency. “The Pledge of Allegiance” has been under fire, because it contains the word “God.”

Most Christmas displays are turned into “Seasons Greetings” displays, in order to appease those who would also like to ban the Holy Bible from US court rooms.  Strangely, common sense has slowly been banned.  While manners, respect, courtesy, compromise, and fair play, are seen as a sign of weakness. How much more ground should any of us give, for the sake of being “politically correct?”

Why should the few voices, who cry out, against the name of God, be considered over the many people who do believe in God? On any given week, huge crowds of Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, and others, celebrate and worship God in temples, shrines, synagogues, churches, and mosques.

It is time for all religions to establish a unified front. All religious leaders and practitioners must put our differences aside. We are being undermined by groups who have tried to turn the name of “God” into something shameful.  A society, which has a spiritual health deficit, becomes ill, because the ethical structure erodes. This is one of the problems the Roman Empire faced. As Roman society became decadent; everyone began to make their own rules.

Let’s learn from the past. Ethical guidelines exist within all religions, but they also exist within Yoga. We call them Yamas and Niyamas.  The spiritual aspect of Yoga is rarely discussed in studios and health clubs outside of India. The style of Yogic practice most commonly seen in the west, is Hatha Yoga, which usually focuses on physical, mental, and emotional health.

Hatha Yoga training sessions in the west, contain Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, and others, practicing Yoga in harmony. Intolerance is put aside, and Yoga practitioners appreciate each other as equals. This is the way it should be.  The path of intolerance is full of ignorance. Intolerance breeds hate and polarization. Who cares what religion your neighbor is? Especially, if he or she is responsible and has a moral code of conduct.  While religious leaders are arguing over interpretations, the power within our governments is being undermined by those who would have our children believe in nothing.


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