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What do we think about the... umm... spiritual aspects of yoga?

(31 Posts)
CoteDAzur Sat 25-Jul-15 09:43:41

Lifelong atheist here. I have relaxed into "the light in me salutes the light in you" etc over time smile but still struggle with some of the "We are in Capricorn, which affects your spleen, so this pose is good for your xxx" stuff.

Does anyone else find it distracting?

Or has the spiritual side of yoga won you over in time?

Katymac Sat 25-Jul-15 09:48:21

I don't do Yoga - DD does at college & at home (from a website or dvd I think) and she alternates with Pilates

At a festival she went to they had an early morning yoga class which she was really excited by so she got up & went - she was so disappointed as they all stood there and chanted no stretching or poses or anything - she never went back

So I guess different people see it differently

CoteDAzur Sat 25-Jul-15 09:51:35

That's weird. There are different kinds of yoga. A session that is just about chanting should be advertised as such.

Then again, I've been to a charity event that was advertised as yoga but ended up a mix of sun salutations with belly dancing, whirling dervishes, and zumba shock I knew something was up when the instructor distributed colourful silk scarves to everyone at the beginning of the class grin

thecatfromjapan Sat 25-Jul-15 09:51:41

I used to go to a yoga group that had a yoga philosophy class on Sunday after practice. Dh pointed out it was a Sunday School.
I loved it, though. We looked at how yoga was a uniting of seeming opposites and the centrality of the idea of the bridge in yoga series.

CoteDAzur Sat 25-Jul-15 10:15:57

"Sunday school" grin

I could totally get into analyses of how the bridge is central in yoga series. What I struggle with is stuff like "Open/close hands quickly to open up the hand chakras" etc.

museumum Sat 25-Jul-15 10:19:03

The classes I attend are more philosophical than spiritual I'd say. I think of it all mostly as a metaphor.
Astrology would be challenging for me though.
My classes are pretty moon obsessed... "Moon days" are a big thing in ashtanga and although I mostly do vinyasa flow classes it is an ashtanga studio. I just ignore the moon stuff.

maybemyrtle Sat 25-Jul-15 11:20:10

Hmm I tend to be quite open to this stuff, if it doesn't resonate then I just ignore it. I have a great yin teacher who integrates some NLP stuff and it works really well for me. I did walk out of a class once though because of the total woo that the teacher was spouting, it was annoying me so much I could not stay there! Utter bobbins. It still annoys me when I think about it, can you tell?!

SuperFlyHigh Sat 25-Jul-15 11:23:41

I like the spiritual side of yoga e.g. the meditation etc…

I have done outside yoga and yin yoga.

for me it really depends on the teacher the current one I'm seeing seems a bit 'false' to me and I've now ditched the 1.5 hour yin sessions but the other detox yoga teacher I saw for 3 years and she moved away.

never heard of the 'we are in Capricorn for spleen' but have heard of various poses being good for women's areas (womb etc) and there is sometimes chakra (heart etc) but not in your face.

maybemyrtle Sat 25-Jul-15 11:42:50

Yes I enjoy the mditation too, and you're spot on - it totally depends on the teacher.

The one I walked out of I'd been seeing for about six weeks (alongside other classes/teachers) and it had been getting more woo each week. The final straw was standing for half an hour listening to "the resonance of my blood", then of my muscles, then bone, then I walked out.

Yogasuz Sat 25-Jul-15 13:03:11

My teacher fortunately! doesn't go into that detail... At the start and end of class we have some stuff like feel love, feel happiness, love yourself, acceptance, positivity, hearts desire kind of stuff which I don't mind and then when we're doing the class we do get a bit of 'this is good for x, y, z' but nothing too foo foo-y for me smile

CoteDAzur Sat 25-Jul-15 17:59:05

"My classes are pretty moon obsessed."

There is a "Full Moon Yoga" class once a month where we live and that is pretty moon obsessed. I'm not quite sure why full moon is supposed to matter that much (never been to one of those classes) but it does appeal to me, if only because it is outside and it is for two hours that I can spend in peace rather than feeding DC & putting them to bed smile

stilllearnin Mon 27-Jul-15 09:01:02

Cote do you get to howl at the full moon do you think? If so, I'd be there in a shot! As with museummum ours are more philosophical. The thing is the spiritual principles of yoga are fairly universal and so I find it fairly easy to take what resonates and let what doesn't wash over me. I suspect that some yoga teachers are making stuff up - capricorn in the spleen? where has that come from?

CoteDAzur Mon 27-Jul-15 10:36:10

I doubt it grin

I don't mind meditation but do struggle with the woo side of things. The other day, the yoga teacher was going on about resonance and it was clear that she didn't really know what it means. She seemed to think that it has to do with everyone's personal "vibrations" being in harmony with the universe's "vibrations" or some such.

No problem with anyone's belief system, but I find it distracting when I'm trying to focus my mind on the here-and-now during yoga practice.

CaoNiMa Thu 30-Jul-15 12:37:28

I think it depends which style you do. With ashtanga it's difficult to avoid the spiritual side, since the postures are only one of 8 'arms'. The other 7 arms include a lot of spiritual stuff.

I have never seen it as anything to be afraid of, which is strange since I am an avowed atheist. But some people find it unappealing.

aginghippy Thu 30-Jul-15 13:04:53

I have been to a few Iyengar classes where they chant the Invocation to Patanjali at the beginning. It's in Sanskrit and I don't understand it (I doubt all the people who were chanting did either wink ) but it seems like a prayer to me. I just sat there and waited for them to finish.

CoteDAzur Thu 30-Jul-15 13:42:37

It's not that I'm afraid of the woo spiritual aspects, but just find them distracting when they are stuff like "Do this repeated exercise with your fingers to activate your hand chakras" etc.

I also don't get the point of chanting, especially in a language I don't understand.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Thu 30-Jul-15 13:59:04

The class I went to a few times did the chanting at the beginning. I was a bit hmm but I like singing so joined in! I shiuld probably find out what they're saying if I go back; if we're professing undying love to some deity or guru I'm out.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 30-Jul-15 14:02:45

I have to admit I loudly snorted when the instructor was saying that particular poses caused our hearts to move around in our chests (not metaphorically).

CoteDAzur Thu 30-Jul-15 14:16:46

I haven't heard that one yet grin

fukkigucci Thu 30-Jul-15 14:24:37

It's as if my defences are down during yoga!
The instructor will spout something during warm up, or shivasana, "Guru Woowoo says that by doing yoga and aligning your chakras you are curing the world from all disease and sadness'"
And I think to myself "well gosh, it must be true, I'm so enlightened and amazing!"
Then class finishes, and i realise it was self indulgent waffle! But I enjoy it in the moment. Generally

antimatter Thu 30-Jul-15 16:27:55

I only ever went to classes run by British Wheel of Yoga teachers. As far as I remember there were no comments about spirituality.

JimineyJelickers Fri 31-Jul-15 13:07:55

I spent 4 days at an ashram in India, I was meant to stay for two weeks but I just couldn't deal with the absolute bollocks they were spouting and had to leave. The experience moved me from being a gentle atheist to being a really militant atheist.

I loved the yoga part but that was only 2 hours a day. We had to get up at 5.30 am to do 2 hours of pseudo religious chanting, the same again at night time. This was not optional. Lots of the chanting was in sanskrit (I think) but then they'd throw in references to Jesus, Buddha, Allah, i think so religious people wouldn't feel like their religion was being marginalised? We also had to endure long lectures about the guru who started that ashram, all my fellow ashramites were lapping it up but it felt like a personality cult to me and I had a permanent skeptical sneer on my face, especially when the long timers started wanking on about quieting their inner voices.

Sorry for the rant, it seems I am still quite enraged about it! I don't mind the peace and love breathing at my current yoga studio, and I went to a yoga chakra alignment workshop that managed to not be pretentious, but the ashram was too much.

CoteDAzur Fri 31-Jul-15 21:28:50

fukki grin

YouFargingIceHole Fri 31-Jul-15 21:45:48

I had a yoga teacher who was a genuine Indian from India (not a guru, just a guy).
I looooved him. He had been doing yoga since he was 4 and when he talked about the spiritual side of yoga, about the ego, about emotions etc, I really felt like I was learning something wonderful. I'm an atheist but it felt like something more tangible than the bollocksy dogma that most religions spout.

Can I remember anything he told me now? Nope! But I still think he's the best yoga teacher I ever had for introducing us to the other 90% of yoga philosophy!

CoteDAzur Fri 31-Jul-15 21:52:56

Feels like it's time to share this video now: If Gandhi Took A Yoga Class grin

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