Anti-yoga letter surfaces in Manitoba town

Courtesy: CTV News
Yoga in the Town
The owner of a new yoga studio opening in a southwestern Manitoba town said she was frustrated and disappointed to see a letter surface in the community warning yoga could disrupt Christian beliefs. Lindsay Alvis, a full-time nurse in Brandon, said Soul Worx Yoga & Fitness will open this Friday. While classes have yet to officially start in the new space the author of the letter is cautioning others about the dangers of getting involved in yoga for religious reasons. The letter wasn’t sent to the yoga studio but Alvis now has a copy of it. “From what I understand it was put in the one church’s congregation mailbox,” said Alvis adding she’s not certain which church. “For most people I’ve talked to they think it’s ridiculous.” It’s not known who wrote or distributed the letter but in it the author mentions they themselves practiced yoga for some time before stopping the practice after researching it. The letter makes reference to an opinion article in Hinduism Today magazine which reads: “Efforts to separate yoga from its spiritual centre reveal ignorance of the goal of yoga.”
The letter then states: “Hinduism is the soul of yoga…a Christian trying to adapt these principles will likely disrupt their own Christian beliefs.” The author of the letter recommends people who do yoga or who are thinking of joining a class to “prayerfully search your heart.” Whitewater Mennonite Church pastor Wes Goertzen said he doesn’t think practicing yoga would necessarily have to interfere with someone’s Christian beliefs. “It’s quite possible that people can feel threatened by this practice, that it would threaten their faith but I don’t see that it would have to if their allegiance is to Jesus Christ and they’re stretching and somebody’s leading them in that,” said Goertzen. “I don’t see that as a problem.” Goertzen said in light of the letter he may discuss the topic with his congregation and thinks the community would benefit from an information session about yoga. Alvis said she’d be open to that although she said another yoga instructor in the community has previously held a community meeting.
Alvis has been teaching yoga classes for the past year in Boissevain and has been doing yoga for 10 years. She doesn’t agree with the message that yoga is anti-Christian. “I think you can do yoga regardless of your religion or what your beliefs are,” said Alvis. “There’s lots of benefits to yoga that I think kind of got missed in that letter.” Alvis said the views shared in the letter won’t stop her from opening her new studio which she said is the first space in town dedicated solely to yoga. Previously she said classes have been held in other available spaces in Boissevain such as the town office and a local gym

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