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Yoga issues


   To The Editor,
   It disappoints me to see various governmental groups in our community embracing and supporting the teaching of yoga. In Hinduism, yoga is the primary vehicle for mentally "transcending" from this world, which according to Hinduism, is just an illusion of the mind, into the Impersonal Universe.
   In Sanskrit, the original language of India, "Yoga" means "yoke or union with god." Yoga, as a religious Hindu teaching and its accompanying techniques, were developed by Patanjali around 200 B.C. However, in most Western countries, Yoga is naively thought to be merely the "asanas" or isometric stretching exercises and postures that simply promote relaxation and stress relief. But, to ignore or misinterpret what yoga promotes and teaches, is to accept its promotional aspects without considering its ultimate goal of transcendentalism of the mind.
   Yoga is an eight-step process called "Astanga Yoga" (8-steps in Sanskrit). The purpose and goal of the eight-steps is to help a person achieve transcendence of the mind -- to disengage your mind from the physical, personal and emotional issues of life.
   The first five steps of yoga are called "Hatha Yoga." These are physical disciplines to prepare your mind to transcend to the Hindu state of mind called the Samadhi or "Enlightenment." This is achieved through a structured system of isometric stretches and controlled breathing exercises, which seeks to detach your mind from your sense organs.
   Next, a yoga devotee begins the last three steps called "Raja Yoga." These steps focus on internal meditative techniques for the final transcendence stage. During these steps, a "mantra" word or phrase, is recited by the yoga disciple to one of the numerous Hindu gods. When a yoga devotee completes the final steps, Hinduism says that they will experience complete mental detachment from physical, personal, intellectual and tactile levels of life, thanks to their dedication to their new Hindu god.
   The release of one's mind to any belief or thought ideology, demands careful consideration of all the resulting ramifications. Therefore, I do not believe we should be using taxpayer money to support yoga's teachings in our schools, new aquatic pool or any other governmentally supported entity.
   Harold H. Moore
   
Madras