To the Christian Who Sent Me Hate Mail on Easter Sunday.

Via Sadie Nardini
on Apr 8, 2012
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Apparently, some people feel that “No Christian Should Ever Do Yoga.”

Hi everyone!

Guess what I just found in my mailbox, nestled in-between my Time-Warner cable bill and a couple of checks from my day job teaching at yoga studios across the nation:

Hate mail.

Wait, check that…Christian hate mail, which seems to me a direct contradiction in terms. But apparently not for one God-fearing man. And, actually, a few others. I get these letters once in a while, usually from anonymous sources.

This time, however, I have a name to put with the hate, or should I say, strong concern for my heathen soul, by the way, is Mike Harris Jr. moderator of Mike’s Christian Corner.

Thanks, Mike! I feel I can respond to him, since he asked me to “tell (him) what you think” in his letter. Well, okay then!

Mr. Harris Jr. let me know a few things I was unaware of about my yoga practice, things that I’ll share with you below. Then I’d like to take this opportunity to clue Mike and those like him in to another side to yoga, one I hope he never forgets, lest he start daydreaming about sending another one of thee lovely missives to a fellow yogi.

Thee? Wow—Freudian slip, I guess.

I meant to say ‘these.”

The heading of the letter reads “Why No Christian Should Ever Do Yoga.”

Hmmmm…I was intrigued. Especially since I used to teach yoga in a Christian church, was raised Presbyterian and my father is a born-again Christian and deacon. Perhaps I was causing harm?

Mr. Harris Jr: “Is it just another exercise method that has benefits that far outweigh anything else?”

Well, yes, in my opinion. Well said, Mike!

He continues: “These are postures that are offered to the 330 Hindu gods. Yoga poses are really sacrifices or offerings to the gods.”

Wow! I wondered why I always say “your yoga practice lasts 24-7.” Because I’ve been trying to appease 330 million gods! No wonder it takes so long.

Mike, don’t worry. I am not a Hindu.

If I was a Hindu, I might be doing the exercise form of yoga in addition to my other Hindu-esque lifestyle choices. As it stands, ‘yoga’ may have stemmed from a certain culture and time, but, just like you are translating the words of a book written centuries ago, and adopting some (not all, certainly) of its concepts to meet your current needs (like picking on yoga teachers in your spare time), so do we yogis choose concepts from  long ago to help us live in the way we also think is best for ourselves and humanity. In this way, we are not so different.

As I am not a Hindu, I usually do not bring Hindu gods into my classes, just as I would not sing “Jesus Loves Me” or dance the Horah in a classroom that contains all creeds, colors and religions. I do not chant Hindu verses, in the same way I wouldn’t read from the Bible or the Koran during a yoga session. Religion is personal, as is yoga.

For me, yoga is a personal path to what is clear, and good, and honest about a unique student on a unique mat. It contains universal wisdom that needs no religious figure, much less 330 million, to anchor it.

How anyone chooses to get there while in these poses, whether it is to exalt Christ or pray to Allah or focus on their breathing or send love to their creaky knees or wish death to their challenging teacher is none of my concern. Bringing them into an inspired, aligned state so they can get to their best personal work that day is my only job.

Moving right along, Mike offers up some conveniently cherry-picked quotes from the New and Old Testaments, such as:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)

Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprieve them. (Ephesians 5:11)

By the way, not only could I quote you some real gems as well, such as:

Keep slaves:

Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. (NIV) (Leviticus 25:44)

or

Kill rude children:

Anyone who dishonors father or mother must be put to death. Such a person is guilty of a capital offense. (NLT) (Leviticus 20:9)

…but I’m pretty sure Jesus came along and said that we could take all the Commandments and condense them into one:

Love thy neighbor as Thyself.

Oh wait, except if they are gay, or Muslim, or, God forbid, do a Down Dog four times a week, eh, Mike?

In fact, if we all took a page from Jesus’ book and practiced that one commandment, and refrained from, say, sending hate mail to, say, those who don’t live like we choose to, we could completely change things on this planet for the better. Pretty smart guy, eh?

But back to the real world.

Mike continued with a pithy monologue I’ll paraphrase here:

Doing pranayama can let Satan in.

God doesn’t want us to meditate.

Astral travel attracts demons.

Now, I’m pretty sure that we won’t be seeing Mike anytime soon on a yoga mat, so this post is not for him. But it goes through the example of him to speak to the far larger numbers of more moderate Christians, and those of other religions, who may yet be on the fence about whether yoga is for them, or confused about whether it conflicts with their faith. The answer is: it depends.

Yoga is not Hinduism, necessarily. They were originally separate practices. Yet over time some people and lineages have fused them together, even many of today’s well-meaning yoga teachers who are not Hindu or Buddhist but still insist on bringing both into their classes.

Again, only in my opinion, unless one is teaching a class full of Hindus or Buddhists, only serves to confuse the core teachings of yoga unless it’s made clear that any religious or dogmatic inclusion is there to offer a greater truth up for individual repurposing.

Back to the letter.

Finally, Mike asks (about yoga, presumably, not Astral travel):

“Why would a Christian want to take part in such a thing?”

I’ll tell you why, as a teacher who has taught hundreds of good Christians yoga:

If you love God, yoga can help you get closer.

If you want to pray, yoga will help you be clearer.

If you have a family, yoga will create a more loving you for them.

If your body needs work, yoga will help you transform it.

If you want to live with courage and faith, yoga will help you find it.

If you seek an end to daily suffering, yoga will salve it.

If you are estranged from your neighbor, yoga can unify you.

If you want to be more like Jesus, yoga teaches you the way.

Turn the other cheek if you like, but I’d suggest you take another look at this mindful addition to your existing religious beliefs. When you find the right teacher, yoga becomes an “and” not an “or.”

And, Mike, I’m strangely honored that you care enough about my soul, and that of my fellow practitioners to write a whole missive about it. But when you ended with “Christians should run away from yoga!” I knew I had to write this post. Because there are more like you out there, in churches and synagogues and mosques everywhere giving yoga some pretty bad PR.

If anything, Jesus-lovers, run toward your mat.

You may be surprised to discover that one of the closest things to heaven on earth is waiting for you there.

And, Mike, why don’t you try a class?

You don’t know what you’re missing.

~

Prepared by Bob W./Editor: Kate Bartolotta

38,065 views

About Sadie Nardini

Sadie Nardini, is the founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, an anatomically-optimized flow style that gives you more results and benefits for every minute spent on your yoga mat. She is a holistic anatomy geek, healthy hedonism advocate, yoga expert, author, and TV host who travels internationally bringing empowering tools to yoga teachers and students everywhere. Her new book, The 21-Day Yoga Body: A Metabolic Makeover, Life-Styling Manual to Get You Fit, Fierce and Fabulous in Just 3 Weeks! (Random House), is out now, and her TV show, Rock Your Yoga, is playing across the country on the new Veria Living Network. With Sadie, you'll sweat, laugh, learn, and come away transformed, informed, and inspired anew. Learn more at www.SadieNardini.com.

Comments

178 Responses to “To the Christian Who Sent Me Hate Mail on Easter Sunday.”

  1. Jill W. says:

    Hi Sadie, as a pastor's wife and yoga instructor, this is a topic I often hear discussed. Perhaps it would be helpful to separate the yoga philosophy from the yoga (asana) practice? Certainly yoga philosophy has some similarities to Hindu and Buddhist traditions. I would argue, however, that yoga (asana) practice can be done separately from the philosophy. (And some in the yoga community would argue that the physical practice is a pretty new addition to the whole thing anyway). Just as prayer and meditation are practices that are used by various religious people (Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.) to draw them closer to God, so too can the physical practice of yoga be used in this way. As one commenter posted, intention matters. Practices are not fundamentally tied to particular philosophical ideas, but are rather tools to assist practitioners as they seek to grow deeper in their spiritual life. Meditation, for example, is a tool to help clear the mind from distraction so that you can better focus – what you choose to meditate on, then, depends on your philosophy or religion. Yoga practice works, at least for me, in a similar way – it clears the mind from distractions, releases tension in the body, and prepares my heart for prayer and meditation. I'm grateful that I've found yoga, and it is one of the spiritual disciplines I teach and practice regularly. You get out of the practice what you bring to it. And of course, if you come to yoga asana without a desire to grow more deeply in your spiritual life, then you will *only* receive the physical benefits of yoga, which of course, are pretty great too! =) Blessings to you this Easter Sunday…

  2. Hi Sadie 🙂 Well stated response, I am sharing it on my FB page! Om shanti, Roberta

  3. Michelle K says:

    "Luluheads are always extolling their own virtues" – wow, generalising much?! If you can't put enough thought into your argument to leave out the generalisations, perhaps you could just say nothing. And for the record, i only heard of Sadie Nardini about 2 weeks ago, and don't own any lululemon clothing (in case you think of attacking me on the basis of being a Sadie fan or just another "Luluhead".)

  4. Michelle K says:

    I'm not sure of the legalities of it, but i think when the "gentleman" in question sent the letter to Sadie, it became her property, thus she is free to do what she likes with it. Sparking open-minded, intelligent debate seems to be a good use for it to me. But then again, perhaps i'm not qualified enough, nor perhaps do i have enough integrity, to make that statement. Perhaps you could enlighten us yogasamurai? Preferably without resorting to crude insults, thanks.

  5. DanielleDD says:

    I completely agree with your assessment, Annie. Not fun, but not hate. I don't understand the exaggeration.

  6. Lorraine Hudson says:

    Everyone is responsible for themselves, what they let into their brain, what they allow in their life what they practice in their religion and what they do in their yoga practice.

    Mike needs to learn not to be afraid and live his life without spreading animosity and fear to others. You can bring your own sprituality or religion to your life and yoga practice.

    If breathing lets the devil in we should all just stop inhaling and exhaling…then where would we be?! Mike sounds like he REALLY needs some yoga in his life!

    Thank you Sadie!

  7. Andrew Furst says:

    As a Buddhist and a good friend of devout adherents to many religions I worry your response to the author of the "Good Christians" letter comes from a divided heart. Hatha Yoga is one of the eight limbs of yoga and IS in fact a religious practice. Performing asanas for exercise is not yoga, it is just good exercise. A Yogi's or Yogini's ultimate purpose is to seek union.

    If you are writing the article as a yogini, then you may have abandoned it's purpose to seek union, in this case with your Christian critic. You've adopted the defensive posture of ego. Mike's letter is trying to divide rather than promote union. I worry your response only furthers the divide. Your points in defense of yoga are well meaning, but don't worry, Yoga was here before Mike, you and me. Bad PR cannot harm it. The barbs of Mike's words are only capable of piercing the armor of ego, but our true selves remain unharmed.

    Yoga is the path of seeking the true self. The actions of a Yogi are compassionate and wise. I sense them both in your intent. Take on the path of the true yogi and be fulfilled in Christ, in the Buddha, in God, in the Mystery.

  8. yogasamurai says:

    I guess you haven't been following the extensive to and fro about Lulu for several months. Chip Wilson stepping down, the controversy over their John Galt promo bags, etc. etc. It goes back a long ways Sadie's still listed as an ambassador in New York. I wasn't aware she'd stepped down, or whatever. Perhaps she got out of it what she needed. I have had an opportunity to interviews a few dozen former employees at some length.

  9. yogasamurai says:

    No that can't be done. However, I do thumb up most people's comments as a gesture of support. I do that regularly. Try it some time. And believe it not, Help, there are people who agree with me. Shocking I know. I just thumbed up your comment. You're welcome.

  10. yogasamurai says:

    And the Upanishads.

  11. yogasamurai says:

    it's not that simple. Read the literature on this. Please.

  12. yogasamurai says:

    Thank you, Andrew for stating the obvious actually. Just don't count on getting any intelligent or compassionate support from this group.

  13. yogasamurai says:

    There are way too many wonderful things that have been written on this topic that could be debated and discussed for an entire millennium. Suffice it to say that the idea that there is ZERO conflict between yoga and Christianity, on the one hand – and therefore, Christians or anyone else need not "worry" — or that they are are fundamentally incompatible "systems" are at opposite sides of the debate, so to speak.

    There are lots of Christians with an anti-Yoga bias, though they don't view it as a bias. And there are just as many yogis with an anti-Christian bias, and they don't see it as a bias, either. Such is life in the world of religious and theological conflict.

    The solutions also range widely. Some do seek to avoid yoga, but others have tried to "Christianize" it, still others to work with some parts, and not others. For some, it's not an issue.

    This could turn into a big issue down the road, though. That is, if you really plan on mainstreaming this industry beyond it's relatively narrow niche of white liberal NPR-listening affluent baby boomer females. Think about it boys and girls. Your future as an industry may be at stake, and your own intolerance and simplistic portrayals of others won't help you get where you want to go.

    So I encourage those interested to look into it further. You can Google lots of relevant articles in 10-15 minutes.

    http://praisemoves.com/about-us/why-a-christian-a… that's just one, with a certain slant. The list is endless.

    Namaste and Happy Easter. I didn't get mail on Sunday. Apparently, Ms. Sardini, through some form of Divine Intervention did? Amazing!

  14. yogasamurai says:

    You mean yoga is not the source of ALL true spiritual wisdom superseding all other systems in its over-arching omniscience? I'm shocked, shocked, no, blinded by this revelation, Muks.

    And on Easter while I was busy praying. I'll stop RIGHT NOW.

    Whew, thank you!

  15. Amber says:

    Sadie, I don’t know why people have such a difficult time with what you do. Your practice has literally changed my life for the better. But, people fear what they do not understand (or in some cases, write crazy incoherent articles about how horrible it is to have a manager).

    As the wise Yoda once said; “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering” :o) People are terrified of self discovery because they may not like what they find.

    I am so very thankful that I have discovered your style of yoga and the inspiring way you teach it. Please know that for every person sending you hate mail, there are many more people who are living better lives because of you.

  16. Jenifer says:

    My guess is that Sadie did not receive this from Mike directly, but rather someone who reads Mark and lives near Sadie.

    During one phase of my life, I lived in a neighborhood that had a very strong christian community that was very active. They had bible study each week in each other's houses, their children went to the christian school, etc. They were nice people.

    When they discovered that my husband and I were not yet married but living together, buddhist, and that I practiced and taught yoga (they discovered this when they invited us to their church), things changed pretty quickly.

    They were still nice. But, I would find bible verses taped to my door, articles photocopied or printed off the computer about why yoga is bad and shouldn't be practiced, and why a person should come to Jesus.

    About once a quarter, one of their ministers would come to the house to ask me if we wanted to join the church, and I would always invite them in, be polite, and we would talk about the scriptures. Having been raised catholic, I always enjoyed discussing religious interpretation, history, context, and different perspectives of a given scripture. I also like a good "debate" so long as it doesn't get personal or heated.

    After several years of this (and me never attending their church), the minister actually asked me what kept me from churches. And I said "social justice." I found that many do not focus on social justice issues, and instead focus on the petty "first world problems" that people have, and create an us/them process with their preaching.

    I then pointed out several verses and stories where this is the antithesis of Jesus's teachings — which I actually highly value. He then excitedly invited me — some weeks later — to come and hear his sermon inspired by our talks.

    I did go and hear the sermon, and it was great. I also informed him that I still wouldn't be joining the church. It simply wasn't the right place for me.

    I have found that this is far more well-meaning than anything. Whomever is leaving this note for you truly is trying to tell you that they love you. Frustrating, ridiculous, and annoying as it may be, I found it valuable to contemplate why I would have these reactions.

    I wanted to be seen, heard, and valued for who I was — not whether or not I attended their club meetings.

    It's the same frustration and annoyance that I feel when yoga people treat me this way, or my family, or anyone else for that matter. I get cranky-pants. Because I just want to be acknowledged as Ok and Great all on my own without being part of your club/ideas of what is or should be for me.

    When I came to terms with that — and was able to say "You know what, it's ok that they don't see me" — then all of the sudden I could have a lot more fun with a lot more people.

    A couple of my best friends these days are "die hard" christians. I love them. I love hanging out with them. I love their christianity — among many other things about them. They are just amazing people.

    Perhaps that is because they see me. And I see them.

  17. yogasamurai says:

    You should see what's in "small towns" in India.

  18. Jenifer says:

    I want to clarify that I do not feel that christians — in general — focus on 'petty first world problems,' nor that people who live in the first world do not suffer. I know that they do. A friend of mine runs a suburban ministry that focuses on helping people get out of their suffering, which exists regardless of their affluence.

    The problem I was running into in churches was connecting "the pressures of paying your mortgage!" to Jesus's teachings. While I think Jesus does want his followers to pay their mortgages and/or be able to, and has compassion for the pressures that they may face in doing so, his teachings are far more deep and create a dynamic catalyst for change if we can open up to them in a personal and meaningful way.

    And I found that many churches were not teaching methods to that, nor even discussing it. I felt like I — and those with me — were often simply in a social network, or a series of parties. Pot lucks, bible studies, church, after-church social hour — it seemed like it was just not about the teachings and spiritual practice of being christian.

    Since I already had those community outlets, I didn't feel that church was necessary.

    And nurturing my spiritual practice? I was always heavily influenced by merton. I don't feel you need a church to do it. Just go and contemplate and meditate. And there it is.

    So, yeah. That's why I didn't go to church. But I didn't want it to seem that I was completely disregarding people's very real suffering and struggles — and their desire to overcome that through a church community.

  19. Kim says:

    Hi Sadie,

    First of all, I'm so very grateful for all that you've shared and taught me about yoga. I'm a born-again non-denominational Christian who teaches yoga and is crazy about yoga. I hate that yoga has a bad rap in the Christian community but unless people want to open up to it, they'll never know what it can be about. I know there are some who teach things that do not align with our beliefs but they shouldn't stereotype yoga. Yoga has changed my life! I was NOT offended by your blog post but I'm concerned for the man who wrote you the letter because unless he's been to your yoga class, he has no right to pass judgement in addition to being very narrow minded. I'm secure enough in my faith in Christ that I can practice yoga knowing I'm still bringing honor and glory to my Savior.

    Thanks for posting those Christian yoga links. Those were very interesting.

  20. GeoffOfOz says:

    I think what has been done here, which is eloquently respond to the letter, achieves more than suing someone ever could. This establishes some lines of coomuncation and is answering peoples questions and giving coherent arguments. Suing???That is a really insecure response, and an incredibly intolerant one, to just sue someone who essentially disagrees with you. If it continues? Defniitely explore the option, but let's try communicating first excuse_me?

  21. last_resort says:

    Some people are not open to communication and which in this case the open communication can be used as a line for attack, you can only communicate with people who got "open mind", what is/are exactly Mike Harris Jr "intention" by mailing the letter??? What sort of "objectives" that Mike Harris Jr trying to achieved here by mailing the letter to Sadie Nardini?

  22. What do you mean by "No that can't be done", you meant "thumbing up" your own comment(s)?? – if that's what you meant- I just did it.

  23. paul says:

    if you leave a comment with an intense debate account, it automatically starts the comment out with a +1

  24. paul says:

    I think if you send a letter (or email), you still hold the rights to it, but the letter/email can still be used under "fair use" which is a vague term because what is "fair" and outright plagiarism is subjective. It's likely that every state has a different interpretation, as they do with telephone recording (some don't allow it, some do with consent, pretty much any variation is out there).
    I'm no longer taking legal advice from a samurai!

  25. yogasamurai says:

    You might be able to do it once? My comments seem to get a +1 upon entry, automatically, and then that's it. You also can't thumb up anyone else more than once.

  26. YesuDas says:

    Well said, Jenifer.

  27. YesuDas says:

    Sadie:

    Though I agree that it may be a little hyperbolic to call that letter "hate mail," it certainly has the potential to be "annoy-me-right-out-of-my-equanimity mail"–which you, by your measured and temperate response, didn't allow it become. Well done!

  28. yogasamurai says:

    Never offered you any. You're only speculating yourself. Please be real.

  29. John Archer says:

    Sadie – just some personal advice. This nutty letter did not deserve any kind of response from you – period. You spent a lot of time and effort bringing attention to this person. Your answers were great and I applaud your effort to explain. Follow your own light – you know what you do and why you do it. There will always be fanatics, naysayers and judgments from uninformed, unenlightened people. Just ignore them. When you respond, you bring them attention they don't deserve.

    Congratulations on your dedication to yoga – it is a very noble and worthwhile pursuit.
    http://johnarcher11.wordpress.com/

  30. yogasamurai says:

    Read the Lulu corporate manual, and the guidance from Chip Wilson and the Landmark Forum that inspires the Lulu cult. Or ask Sadie, she was there long enough to drink the Lulu Kool-Aid. I've interviewed a couple of dozen people.

  31. paul says:

    http://www.rightsofwriters.com/2011/02/sixteen-th
    from "an attorney in New York City with 26 years of experience working for media companies" seems to agree with my suspicions. I am not speculating about the telephone recording stuff, that is all too familiar.
    And again, from reading your own various conjectures on these and other threads, I am perplexed and surprised that you would make a call apparently against speculation, let alone to "be real." (Saying ej could be sue-able offers the world legal advice.)
    What does Jesus say about scope and intent? I don't know, but I'm now a bit curious…

  32. Muks says:

    Just wanted to teach yoga samurai some grammar 😉

  33. Human-hater says:

    Hey yogasamurai or whatever, do you hate men or women or human(s) in general???

  34. Muks says:

    Wow, you really wanted to misunderstand me.

  35. Dale Elson says:

    Sigh.
    ok.
    This fellow obviously knows little about the modern practice of what we call yoga, and perhaps a bit less about the religion that he claims to champion.

    However, he did get a few things right. The ancient practice of yoga, described by Patanjali, is a profoundly religious non-dualist _Hindu_ practice, designed to quiet the body and emotions so that we can sit in meditation for long periods of time, and (skipping quite a few steps) still the fluctuations of the mind & get free of the cycle of life & reincarnation. That whole concept is profoundly antithetical to the heart of Christianity, and if that was what we practiced today, Christians would be right to steer clear of it.

    Yoga not Hindu? According to the Gita, Krishna taught the yoga to Arjuna, Ya just don't get a whole lot more Hindu that that….

    Today, of course, most Americans practice asana & pranayama as an exercise form, perhaps with vague notions of some sort of "spiritual" benefit. But then, most teachers who present a heart theme or dharma talk, end up with Hindu, Buddhist, or new age teachings, and that is not beneficial for Xtns to listen to, because any spiritual practice that is not centered on Jesus Himself, is in competition with the heart of Xtniaty, which is very focused on Jesus.

    So a single-point meditation is an instead-of-Christ, which your dad can explain is anti-Christ activity – it is using up mental energy that should be used in persuit of a closer relationship with Jesus. It creates the illusion of God-seeking activity, but it yields no fruit (ask your dad). So, even though this fellow is clearly ignorant of the modern practice of yoga in its details, and somewhat confused about how to argue cogently, the root point that he is making is valid – If a Xtn practices yoga as anything other than a temporal exercise form for the body, mind, and emotions, then she is getting into dangerous territory.

    So here's a suggestion (Pr 16:4) "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him." Or, "leave the annoying crazy person to his Darshan :-)"

  36. Karen says:

    Having been in some interesting discussions with Christians regarding my yoga practice and Christianity, I refer them to the wonderful book written by Thich Naht Nahn.. Living Buddha, Living Christ. 🙂 I personally believe that Jesus would be deeply disturbed by some of the actions being performed “in His name” Jesus embraced diversity, including differences of opinion. His wisdom is aligned with Hinduism and other Eastern religious and spiritual philosophy.. And FTR, we have attributed much to Him and put words in His mouth that I am sure He would not approve of, especially in regards to judging another for their choices in life and making them feel bad about said choices.
    Read the above suggested book and THEN try to defend the letter. I don’t think you’ll find it possible. Oh, and attend a Christian spiritual retreat, where a whole lot of meditation and reflection is taking place.
    Signed, a lapsed Catholic girl who now practices her own religion of Methodisthindubuddhistsikh while wearing lulumon pants because they just happen to be the most comfy pair of yoga pants she owns.

  37. Dee says:

    As much as I love Sadie's work, I also agree that reaction comes from ego. When one knows they are doing right and fear not, then there is no need for reaction, the highest form of spirituality is silence, which in the long term is a protective armour and strengthens your Self. The truth shall prevail. Recation is an unconscious way of getting others to agree with you and feeling safe.
    Still, I think Sadie is a good yogi and tries to stay true to herself, from what I can tell…she has a good heart. Maybe these comments will help her grow spiritualy (like I continue growing through her work). Debate, discussion is good, but in a way it continues to strengthen division, opinion, judgement. Have a lovely week all.

  38. sadienardini says:

    Hi Dee, and also, to Andrew,

    I appreciate your viewpoint as equally valid to mine, just as I understand where Mike's letter was coming from. However I disagree that it's not appropriate to stand and speak your truth when someone is doing something that you deem as harmful to the very union that you say I should seek.

    I saw Mike's letter as an opportunity to demystify a few things about the yoga practice for other people pf religion who may have heard similar things from their pastors. Dee and Andrew, do you really think it's better to stay silent and allow that disinformation to continue?

    This post, if you will re-read, was written in the spirit of bringing more people together through the practice of yoga, not less.

  39. Chelsea Tegtman says:

    Sadie I think it takes a lot of guts to write about this. I am sure you were hurt, confused and felt pretty darn terrible after reading such a judging, hateful letter. And by the way folks, this is hate mail…it is targeting her inner being and what she values most in life, that's hateful. She doesn't have to get a death threat on her doorstep in order to feel unsafe and offended by his hateful words…and why can't he ask her to coffee and have a honest face to face about this…it shows weakness and it is shady all around!

    Sadie, I have to tell you, I received one of these lovely letters myself once. My EX best friend "found God," and left me a nice little letter on my porch saying I was going to hell for all the so called "fun" I was having. Granted this was 10 years ago, and I am appalled to see that it is still happening today.

    Yoga is what and who you are Sadie, and God is what Mike is. Nobody should have the right to come in and shit all over your beliefs and what you do to practice inner peace and fulfillment. I attend Church (a very groovy one in Fort Collins, CO called Unity…you should come with me sometime…we sing Beatles songs in place of hymns) and this groovy church lets me take what I learn from our Spiritual Leader onto my mat. It helps me to gain control of my thoughts, practice and how I view the world.

    I am about to go through a Yoga Teacher Training this summer so I can help share the practice of Yoga and hopefully if not reach those like Mike, I can reach those who are being negatively influence by those like Mike, and teach them to find love in their hearts again. Love is all yoga is, light and love that we send out of our minds and spirits into our lives and the rest of the world to make it a better place. I have not once heard of a student leaving a Yoga class and then going and "drinking the kool=aid" so to speak.

    I would think that those like Mike, who claim to be of Christian faith would be happy and empowered that you have a belief in something!! Yoga is faith! I don't care what you call it. To me Yoga is my religion because it fills me with love and empowerment to get through the day in this scary world. It grounds me, roots me into my process of being in this human experience. Why why why would someone want to make me feel bad for this. I am not out blowing off my day job picketing hate in front of Abortion Clinics or Gay Rights headquarters…no i'm not!!! I am on my mat, enjoying cleansing thru breath, enjoying the gift I have to move my body, and enjoying the benefits that come from within myself.

    Bravo Sadie, again it takes a lot of guts to open up and share this with the world. I believe it's important as well. It shows just how far the Yoga community has to go, but honestly do us Yogi's really give a shit? Most of us are probably too busy enjoying life and each other and our personal and community growth to care what they say. The only reason I am responding is I feel that Sadie is being unfairly judged and I believe in her and feel she has the right to hear someone say that.

  40. sadienardini says:

    Thanks, Amber! Your words mean a lot to me.

    xoxoSadie

  41. sadienardini says:

    Hi Kim,

    Thank you–I'm glad to hear from a Christian who understands the difference between choosing a faith, and passing judgment on others. I'm pretty sure that's exactly the opposite of what Jesus would have taught.

    xoxo!Sadie

  42. sadienardini says:

    Thanks, YesuDas. Well put:)
    Thanks for commenting here.

    Sadie

  43. sadienardini says:

    Hi John,

    I agree–in and of itself, this letter did not deserve a response. However, as a writer and a public figure, I chose to use it as a vehicle to inform and hopefully inspire more people of religion to come to yoga. That, to me, was a worthwhile pursuit!

    Have a wonderful week!
    Sadie

  44. sadienardini says:

    Thank you, Chelsea,

    and I'd really dig your church, it sounds like.

    It does my heart good to see that some people get what it is to be religious and also a yogi. So many people come from ego defensiveness around this issue. I used the letter to try and educate more people about the opportunity there is to find union between Christianity and Yoga, and debunk some myths, through the vessel of this guy's letter. Anyone who chooses to see it another way? Well, it speaks more to their character than anything else. I'm secure in my intentions.

    I wish you a wonderful week, and weekend singing Beatles songs!

    "Let it be….."
    xoxoSadie

  45. yogasamurai says:

    No attempt to censor anything. The topic's an important one, and I've done my best to increase the page views on this post beyond what it actually merited, don't you think?

    I do think a lot of yoga people need to take a harder look at their own megalomaniac claims for their "religion." I practice yoga every day but wouldn't be caught dead making the kinds of exaggerated claims for yoga that Sadie makes in her master list. To me, it's embarrassing.

    Yoga's simply NOT for everyone, and some people have very real theological or psychological or simply personal objections. Guess what? There are lots of other healing modalities and spiritual systems that suit people just fine. Yoga's just one among many, and if you read the market research data, you'll see that there are literally millions of people who have sampled yoga, and rather than drinking the Kool-Aid, decided to let the bitter cup pass from their lips. They voted with their feet – and walked.

    If we're healthy, psychologically, we don't insist that everyone come to us, like we're hawking some magical elixir on a soap box, just like the street corner religious charlatans of decades past. We humbly work with those
    who come to us freely.

    And yes Anusarans ARE nutty cultists. It's pretty well documented at this point. Any decent yoga movement would have run them all out of town. Oh wait, that's already happening.

    Cheers, Mike

  46. yogaboca says:

    Brilliant! Thank you! 🙂

  47. Dee says:

    Yes, I also appreciate what you say Sadie. I am actually having trouble myself with people around me also preaching against yoga during these past few days!… I totally got your post, about it bringing people together through yoga, I enjoyed reading it 🙂 I think my comment here was because I was also reflecting on Mike's point about ego… we're used to reacting to attack, and that is still from a place of ego, something we have to strive to work at for improving spiritually.

  48. ValCarruthers says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  49. yogaboca says:

    Andrew – this is very well stated. One small glitch – yoga is not a religion but it grew out of Hinduism and shares many of the same beliefs and practices of Hinduism. (chanting Om for instance.) Originally yoga may have been part of Hinduism but at some point there was a divide.

    Regardless, I think we gain nothing by whitewashing yoga to pacify a few fringe or radical, extremist Christians.
    To paint yoga as having little to do with Hinduism is simply a big fat lie.

    My opinion is that if you are divorcing modern asana practice from it's Hindu roots – then please don't call it yoga.
    If you insist on calling it yoga and you sweep the spirituality under the rug, that starts to feel like there is some dishonesty happening.

    BTW – yoga is mentioned many times in the Gita. (A Hindu story). And according to the Gita, every action (including a yoga asana) is an offering to the Lord.) So Mike was not that far off base when he says that the asanas are offerings. In fact, according to the Gita they are and should be offerings to the Lord.

    And according to the Gita, I assume by the Lord – this is a reference to Krishna – but that is not entirely clear.