Blog Post

Yoga/New Age Exercises

MP writes: “I am shocked to have learned that most of the stretch exercises that I have done [over the years for the warm-up and cool down portion of my workout] are actually yoga! The problem is that these exercises are not listed as yoga.  . . .” MP continues: "This prompts the question(s): 1) How do you know what exercises are yoga/new age? 2) What stretching exercises are there for lower back pain that isn't yoga/new age? 3) Is there a pictorial resource available? I like step aerobics and I'm looking to get back in shape. I'm afraid that most of the tapes/dvds are more new age than not. For example one book that I have recommends the following exercises for a total body workout:   - spinal arch and curl - super sqaut - single/double arm reach - spinal dive  - ab circle - beach kneel - spinal twist  - heel beat - swimming frog - leg flutter - alternating leg kick - straight leg triangle/circle - leg circle - salsa shoulders - bikini swirl -roll down   Aren't most of these if not all new age?" MP signs her e-mail “Trying to remain faithful in Jesus Christ through Mary.” Isn’t that beautiful? Jesus and Mary are certainly keeping their eye on MP because she is absolutely correct in her assessment of the exercises/stretches she has been doing – almost all of the moves she lists are associated with either yoga, pilates or both. Of the list she presents, the spinal dive, leg flutter, leg circle, roll down, ab circle, heel beats, alternating leg kicks, single double arm reach, swimming frog and straight leg triangle/circle are all pilates moves. The spinal arch and curl is interesting. If this exercise is associated with the Gyrotronics Expansion System (GES), it is part of a training program that was once called “Yoga for Dancers.” Its founder, Hungarian Juliu Horvath, once described himself on his website as a “universal being.” But if not associated with GES, there is nothing wrong with this exercise. (You may be able to determine this by checking the index in the back of the book or contacting the author.) The spinal twist is definitely a yoga exercises. Also known as Ardha Matsyendrasana, it is a preparatory pose for the Lotus position, which is done while contemplating Brahma and for the purpose of obtaining knowledge through the favor of the “roused Kundalini” (serpent power). Super squats and the beach kneel are based in calisthenics so there’s no problem there. Salsa shoulders originates in Latin dance so this is also safe to use. I was not able to uncover much about the bikini swirl, although it is quite similar to the Pilates “Booty swirl” and could be an adaptation. Being a former aerobic instructor (but still a health nut) I share your frustration with the influx of eastern/Hindu influences into today’s fitness regimes. It never ceases to amaze me how, in a culture that is so sensitive about the “separation of Church and state,” that so few people bat an eye at the intrusion of eastern religions into this and other areas of American culture - but they’ll scream bloody murder over the mere mention of Jesus’ name. I wrote three blogs on this subject that I think you’ll find helpful. In addition to “sharing your pain” they’ll give you some ideas about alternatives (with pictorials). Is it a stretch of yoga? /?p=9 Yoga-free Workouts for Christians /?p=105 Alternatives to Yoga /?p=42     Send your New Age question to