Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Must-Read Article for Catholics by Cheryl Dickow

Every Catholic should read the article about yoga, by Catholic author and publisher Cheryl Dickow on Catholic Lane. It is entitled "Yoga: What is So Bad About Feeling Good?" She does a brilliant job explaining why yoga is incompatible with Catholic Christian beliefs. It has really angered some people who enjoy the practice and see nothing wrong with yoga for health reasons. I sympathize with those who reap physical benefits from the practice, but I also encourage them to read her article with a prayerful heart.

A few years ago, I might have been one of those people defending yoga (although I can honestly say I would never get angry about it!) But here is the honest truth: I was once a Catholic who practiced yoga. Everyone said I would love it, that it would be the cure to any health issues, would be relaxing and fun. So I bought a purple mat, purchased some introductory lessons, and excitedly went to my first of many classes. I sat on the mat and obediently emptied my mind like the yoga instructor taught us. Physically, it was relaxing. Spiritually...there was an uneasy feeling deep inside I tried to ignore, to push aside. It was very inconvenient to feel this way about yoga, because I was really enjoying it! But the feelings continued to the point that I could not make them stop. 

I realized that God would not have given me these uneasy feelings unless I was meant to learn from them, to find out more. So I began to investigate. For instance, why were we all bowing to each other and saying "Namaste"? Here's what I found, from Yogajournal.com: "The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore,namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."


As a Catholic Christian, this concerned me, First, Christians don't believe in chakra—in the heart or anywhere else. This is a Hindu belief. Second, I was emptying my mind of everything...even God. What happens when you completely empty your mind? Things can get in...bad things and bad spirits. Please, don't ever, ever empty your mind. God must always fill your mind. And third, I was bowing to people, instead of God. I did not realize this or even give permission to do so, but as Cheryl Dickow said so well during her wonderful radio interview this morning on The Son Rise Morning Show With Brian Patrick, some of us don't exactly understand how a cell phone or electricty works, but that does not mean that they are not working. People believe that because they are strong in their faith and don't give permission to bad things to come in, they won't. Well, just because I don't give permission to electricity does not mean that it is not going to work. It is the same with yoga. How do I really know how all of this was all working on my soul? I don't.
My faith tells me about faith in what I cannot see. Think of Jesus present body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist. We as Catholics believe in the graces that exist in the Eucharist...given freely by God. Just because we cannot see things does not mean they do not exist—good and bad. I am just grateful that God gave me the grace to research what I was actually doing and find out that as a Christian, it had to stop. No matter how good it felt, it simply is incompatible with my Christian beliefs. I sympathize with those who enjoy it, I really do. It is very obvious to me that Cheryl is speaking from the heart and has prayed over this many times. She is certainly not out to destroy what makes people feel good! There are many things out there that make us feel good that are not good for us. I won't go into all of those, because they are very obvious.
So thank you, Cheryl, for being brave enough to bring this subject to light, no matter how difficult it may have been for you to do so. It is certainly not popular to go against society. It is rarely fun, as I have discovered.  It is not popular to be a practicing, faithful Catholic who is teaching Truth. And thank you for not merely pointing out this truth for us, but for also offering a very Catholic alternative for those who like yoga, The Rosary Workout by Peggy Bowes. This workout is good for your body AND your soul!

At first, I tried to think about God, Jesus, the Blessed Mother, and the saints while I practiced yoga. I still felt uneasy. I quit saying "namaste" to others in the class. It was a start, but still the prickly feeling remained. So in the end, I threw away my punch card that had several unused, pre-paid sessions on it. People did not understand, but I do now...and I am so blessed. And guess what?  The prickly feelings vanished.
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