Thursday, November 29, 2007

Against My Religion?

I had somebody in a non-optional yoga class not participate in class the other day because yoga was "against her religion." Wha? How can stretching and being in your body be against your religion or against anything for that matter? You may not feel like it, but how could it be actually against something? I'm still scratching my head.

I wonder if her not participating was more that she didn't want to do it rather than it was technically against her religion and she was perhaps using that as an excuse. Like not having the right clothes or having your sore this or that or whatever we say to not do yoga. (Personally, I'm "too busy," most of the time.)

Nevermind. So let's say it is actually "against her religion" to not do yoga, like not stretch and be in her body. It gets me to thinking. From this side of it, it seems ridiculous that it could be against anybody's anything to not be able to strike a pose and hold it or not. Taken out of context, doing yoga can mean a lot of things to people including worshipping many Gods (which it totally does not), to some sorts of blasphemy by saying we're god instead of someone in particular is God, that we're not capable of being, and it could be misconstrued in many different ways.

But everybody thinks their "practice" or "path" is accessible and if only other people could see it for what it is, they'd get it too. There are things that Jehovah's Witnesses do that I can really relate to (my best friend in grade school was JW and I'd go over for lunch on Wednesdays for "bible study" and that was fun), and there are things that Muslims do, especially in the Sufi traditions, that really resonate with me, and sometimes taken in another light, those things can seem weird or "different."

The truth is - people are people. We're people. We've always been people. We'll probably always be people. And how we are is fairly predictable. (I realize I'm getting old when I say this!) Especially if our neighbours are on a path as opposed to just doing their own thing, what our neighbours are doing that we think is weird, is something we could totally relate to if we took the time to check it out.

When people think yoga is weird, I figure they just didn't have yoga in a context yet that would make it seem normal to them. Given the chance to have yoga in a "normal" context, people will embrace it and at least let go for a bit of their judgements of it. I'm in the same conversation with my Landmark Education stuff. If people have the right context for it, it makes total sense. Without that, and taken in the wrong light, it can seem weird or strange. Not to me, but I see how people can see it that way.

If you find someone in your life who has beliefs that you think are weird, consider for a bit that if you were to look closer, those beliefs may have something in common with beliefs you have as well. We're all wanting the same things, ultimately, in life. It's not tolerance we're after, but rather a real sense that we're brothers and sisters on the very same path.

John and I often joke that if aliens landed we'd all get together as humans and let go of our religious differences. We'd band together so fast and drop all sorts of issues we currently have. Like I often say, little problems go away in the presence of a much bigger problem.


JJones said...

You should check out the "history" page on either of the following before doing any more with the JWs.


The following website summarizes over 315 U.S. court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah's Witness Parents, including 100+ cases where the JW Parents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for their dying children:


The following website summarizes over 285 lawsuits filed by Jehovah's Witnesses against their Employers, and/or incidents involving problem JW Employees:


DannyHaszard said...

Many Jehovah's Witnesses men,women and children die every year worldwide due to blood transfusion ban.Rank & file Jehovah's Witness are indoctrinated to be scared to death of blood.

1) JW's DO USE many parts aka 'fractions' aka components of blood,so if it's 'sacred' to God why the hypocritical contradiction flip-flop?

2) They USE blood collections that are donated by Red cross and others but don't donate back,more hypocrisy.

3) The Watchtower promotes and praises bloodless elective surgeries,this is a great advancement indeed.BUT it's no good to me if I am bleeding to death from a car crash and lose half my blood volume and need EMERGENCY blood transfusion.
The Watchtower's rules against blood transfusions will eventually be abolished (very gradually to reduce wrongful death lawsuit liability) even now most of the blood 'components' are allowed.
In 20 years there will be artificial blood and the Red Cross will go on with other noble deeds.
Danny Haszard

j_elizabeth_chapman said...

Hey Jamine,
I have also encountered the ''I don't do yoga because it's against my religion." -- My friend who said this explained it as such ... it's not so much the physical aspect of yoga, postures and such, but more so about the mental side of things. He said something along the lines of ... "I cannot be in stillness, in meditation, with myself, because I would be pushing God out of my mind, leaving space for other thoughts that might be harmful to myself." (a rough quotation). Of course we all have our own reasons ... sprouted from whatever it may be. Aren't human beings fascinating! ;)
Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts! :D