The Telegraph is reporting on the brouhaha which has been festering for a few weeks after a Christian church decided it would not allow yoga classes to be held in the part of their premises that had recently been converted into a community center.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) ruled that it would allow pilates to be taught in the planned center, but yoga and other non-Christian activities would not be permitted.
“There is no problem to have alcohol in the building, but alcohol is not to be sold. Pilates is allowed, but not yoga. Also no activity of non-Christian activity,” reads the PCC minutes on approval of restrictions.
Some residents were upset by the decision.
“I would like to make you aware of the intended community activity restrictions that have been imposed once St David’s Church, Blaenporth is part-converted into a well-needed community centre,” wrote one resident to the Aberporth Community Council.
“I and no doubt some Blaenporth residents are not at all happy with the view the church has on community activities like yoga, tai chi, taekwondo, cash prize bingo and the like. It is supposed to be a community affair where old and young can enjoy a better quality of life. I, for one, will not be dictated to as to what activity events are open to me. Therefore, I will not be visiting this establishment for recreational enjoyment until a fair and non-bias community centre is built.”
Unfortunately, the author needs to choose her words more carefully. If she considers the church to be biased because it’s not respecting the way she chooses to follow her conscience – which tells her nothing is wrong with yoga – then why can’t the Church follow its conscience by viewing yoga as a non-Christian religious practice (which it is, after all)?
And this is precisely what a Church in Wales spokesman said. The PCC is “keen to broaden the use of St David’s Church”, but it will continue to be a place of Christian worship, their letter said. “Therefore, it is felt that activities that might be seen to be in conflict with Christian values and belief would not be appropriate.”
Sadly, even the Bishop of St. David’s is urging the PCC to “find out more about yoga before making a final decision.”
But not everyone believes the Church is wrong in its decision.
A man named Philip, who obviously did some homework, commented on the Telegraph article, saying that “A Christian church has every right to determine whether a practice that originated in India as a part of philosophical Hinduism is fit for adoption. Yoga was never invented as a health tool. . . . Why shouldn’t a Church reject it? As for exercise, there are a number of ways to get your body in shape without the help of yoga.”
He goes on to warn, “Hindu hermits marketed yoga in the West as a health fad. The Post-Christian West swallowed it hook, line and sinker! Discerning Christians will identify the New Age ploy at work here and reject yoga and its underlying philosophy. There are Hindus in India who are offended by the way yoga is marketed in the west as a ‘secular’ health fad.”
Another man named Roger weighed in: “Yoga is an anti-christian procedure distracting from the need to believe in Jesus Christ. The church in Blaenporth is right to ban it. As an ex-buddhist I know what I´m talking about.”
Suresh said that even though he doesn’t believe yoga is dangerous, the ban is clearly due to a fear that practicing yoga will lead people away from the Christian faith. “In this regard, these anxieties they hold are perfectly valid. . . . The real problem is that people are confused – and think they can walk into a spiritual buffet taking bits here and bits there. It leads to nowhere.”
Ah! The yoga wars. They just go on and on . . .