By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Should spiritual health, be a trigger mechanism for conflict? Here is a story that is old, but relevant today. In 2007, a Christian-based Yoga class, taught by Sylvia DiLorenzo, was banned from a Roman Catholic Church, in South Fort Myers, Florida. Based upon a story by “The News-Press,” it seems that Yoga classes were taking place in an adjoining chapel, which was going to be converted to an activity center at Blessed Pope John XXIII Church.
The following is an account, which was posted by The News-Press, on March 31, 2007.
“In the past few weeks, a couple of people have accosted the yoga practitioners, accusing them of evil-doing, and the leader of the Catholic Church in Southwest Florida has banned the classes.
An unidentified woman stumbled upon a Friday morning class and was incensed to see Yoga in a church, DiLorenzo said.
The woman returned the next Monday, armed with holy water that she sprinkled on the participants, as they started their class.”
Before the Yoga class, the woman with the Holy Water, and her companion, handed out leaflets to inform parishioners of how Yoga is Anti-Christian. Strangely, none of the 65 parishioners, who attended Yoga classes, knew this woman.
Well, that gives a new spin on the concept of Christian Yoga. Would you think that giving, loving kindness, and forgiving, could be banned?
Think again – There are some interesting, but intolerant descriptions of Yoga, which religious fundamentalists use to describe it. The words they use to describe Yoga are: Cult, occult, and evil.
Based upon differing accounts of the same story, the Bishop’s reasons for banning the class remain unclear. He may have wanted to diffuse a volatile situation or he may have objected to the exact location of the classes. We may never know his exact reasons.
So, this looks like a clear victory for religious fundamentalism. All you have to do is make a scene at somebody else’s church, and you can have their activities banned.
Wrong – According to The News-Press:
“Gateway Trinity Lutheran Church invited DiLorenzo to expand the Yoga program, she was teaching there, by bringing her Blessed Pope John classes.”
Apparently, this leaves the door open for these Roman Catholic parishioners to join the Lutheran Church. Open minded people see the benefits of Yoga practice. If you are not sure about your religion, I guess you could blame it all on Yoga. It gives you something to think about, on many levels.
Long-term Yoga practice will result in good health, ethical behavior, giving, and a deeper spiritual connection with God, but Yoga practitioners come from all religions. If we condemn every thought, which does not agree with strict dogma, we can start “Witch Hunting” again.
Will somebody please tell me where the real Anti-Christian Yoga class takes place? I have yet to meet the evil doing Yogis. The source of the problem is that religious leaders need to reach out to each other in order to work on causes for the common good. Locally, I see this trend happening among churches, temples, and synagogues. The objective for now and the future is to help those who are homeless and make food available to those who experience hunger first-hand. One’s religious beliefs should not be an issue when he or she needs help. We need to strike common ground and we need to give each other some breathing room. Spiritual health is universal and people need help recovering from a global pandemic, recessions, and violence.
It’s a good process to evaluate spiritual health by the causes we support, the actions we take, and the leaders we listen to. If we spend time listening to negativity, we might consider “changing the channel.” Our political and spiritual leaders should be leading us toward the common good and better living standards for all. When we see anyone different as less deserving, we invite ancient tribal thoughts about “them.” We have to be reminded about our spiritual health, which is not specific to one or any religion, but should be a part of all. Those starve for more and more power, will always seek to divide us into tribes, which they can control.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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