Pictures of thousands of Indian teachers and students performing yoga were all over the Internet last week. They staged the performance not to show off their physical fitness or the perfection of their poses. The aim of the performance was to pray for peace!
What’s so unusual about people using yoga to pray? Nothing at all – at least not in India where people aren’t afraid to admit that yoga is a spiritual practice. In this event, students from Delhi Public School performed seven classical yoga postures while reciting prayers for world harmony and peace.
Whether they intended to do so or not, this performance explicitly ties the two together for all the world to see.
I can hear the arguments already – “But the students were just praying while exercising!”
Yeah right. If that’s the case, then why don’t Americans stage enormous prayer rallies while performing aerobic exercises or callisthenic drills?
For that matter, why don’t we perform yoga during our prayer rallies? Because the multi-billion dollar yoga industry wouldn’t dare! It thrives on the notion that yoga can be separated from its spiritual roots, an idea that must be advanced at all costs in order to avoid scaring off too many Christian customers.
In the West, exercise is truly exercise, except when it comes to yoga. Then it’s Hindu spirituality that everyone pretends is just exercise.