GS asks: “I was wondering if you could tell me the difference between joga and yoga. Is joga safe or just a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”? It is being introduced into my child’s catholic school health program. I have warning bells going off in my head- should I be concerned?”
Yes, you should be concerned! JOGA is yoga – which has no place in a Catholic school phys ed program. Not only because yoga is a Hindu spiritual practice but because JOGA is designed for athletes and is a rigorous form of strength training. As a former fitness instructor, I question the wisdom of introducing this to the general population, most of whom are not considered to be athletes.
As for the difference between traditional yoga and JOGA, there is very little. JOGA involves the same poses as a typical yoga class but has an emphasis on strength training whereas traditional yoga classes emphasize flexibility and stretching.
JOGA is the brainchild of a Canadian athlete and Ishta yoga instructor named Jana Webb.
For those who never heard of it, Ishta yoga is a yoga practice which focuses on “that which resonates with the individual spirit”. It’s a blend of Hatha yoga, Tantra (which is the belief that our essential nature is divine) and Ayurveda which is an ancient Indian tradition known as “life science”.
Webb developed JOGA after practicing yoga to treat an injury. As her site explains, she became a yoga enthusiast and wanted to “bridge the gap between fitness and yoga” [but I thought yoga WAS fitness!] when she developed Yoga for Golfers and Yoga for Runners before developing JOGA.
She refers to JOGA as “an athletic based style of yoga that speaks to the athletic mind and athletic body” which incorporates postures and breathing techniques with the goal of achieving strength and flexibility.
JOGA has three main focuses: 1) breath, which involves teaching techniques to increase range of motion and “unison of mind and body” and breathing exercises designed to balance the left and right side of the brain thus bringing about “a consistent calm state of mind; 2) physical yoga postures; 3) relaxation and meditation which include the use of “particular breath and mantra (vibration words) to calm the mind and ease anxiety/pressure . . .”
I’m not sure why a Catholic school would want to expose children to this kind of fitness regime which incorporates eastern meditation techniques as well as introducing them to poses which were designed to give worship to Hindu gods. Whether or not they’re intending to worship these gods is beside the point. At some point in their lives they will learn exactly what yoga is and because a Catholic school introduced them to it, they will assume that it’s okay to be Catholic and practice Hinduism. This is known as the sin of scandal (CCC No. 2286).
Teachers beware! Jesus doesn’t care if “everyone else is doing it”. All that matters to Him is that not a single soul be lost due to the bad example of another.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)
Want a more thorough understanding of the New Age – and have fun while you’re learning? Read my new book, The Learn to Discern Compendium, which explains 30 of the most prevalent New Age practices along with a chapter full of Discernment Tools to help you “learn to discern” what is New Age and what is Christian.