Course: Religions of the world
Your instructor is guilty of appropriating practices of religions other than their own for reasons other than their created purposes. One such practice often engaged is Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga was begun in order to make it easier for people to meditate. While understanding the meditative properties of this practice, it is used as a form of exercise, not as a Hindu spiritual practice.
While one might practice certain pieces of a religion for their own benefit, there is both a loss and a gift in this usage. The loss is that religions are relegated to the one or two practices tried (or stories told) and those who practice them, often do not know much more outside of this one practice (or the story told out of context). The beliefs that go along with the practice are often lost for what one desires to do without taking on the fullness of the religion being pulled from. The gift is that these practices can overcome beliefs and help people in other ways. One search for guided meditation, lists a whole array of different meditations for a mindful benefit like stress relief. Hatha Yoga practices yield relief from different pains in the body.
In this activity, search the Internet or a book for a guided meditation (a yoga practice would work too) and try it out. Document your experience (assignment is on the next segment after you are done with this one).
- What did you do?
- What was it like to try this practice out?
- How did this practice connect you to the Hindu faith?
- How might you appropriate this practice in your daily life? Or why do you incorporate this practice in your life.
- What insights did you walk away with?
Below is one such meditation exercise the 4 7 8 breathing exercise. Find a quiet place and start your breathing in and out. Research other meditations too and see how the breathing in and out is accompanied by a release to nothingness in the soul or saying the Om connecting the mediator with creation. Again the below is just one method to try, but does not have instructions on how to meditate other than in the breathing. Again you are welcome to find your own.