>Let’s get demonic: Going to the mat over yoga

>It would be tempting to dismiss the “Yoga ‘Demonic’?” story on the front of the Metro section in today’s Seattle Times as idiotic, but in truth, there is something demonic going on.

To recap: The influential pastor at the head of Seattle’s church for hip young born-agains, Mars Hill, said flat-out that yoga is demonic. He was giving local support to an essay by the president of a Baptist seminar that warned that yoga is contradictory to Christianity.

Jaws dropped.

Not mine. I’d been prepared for his argument, though I thought at the time the preparation was overkill.

Turns out that Susan (my yoga teacher, Susan Powter) was right.

She believes firmly that men do everything possible, at a political, cultural, societal, and family level, to prevent women from being healthy and fit. They load them down with kids, work, responsibilities, guilt — and then outright discourage them from eating right and taking care of their bodies.

“Oh, Susan,” I used to think, as she lectured on this topic while we lay on the floor doing yoga stretches and crunches, or did wind sprints and lifted weights, “isn’t this just a bit paranoid?”

Turns out, not if you’re a gal in the Mars Hill congregation. Can you imagine trying to get healthy and fit by taking two hours a week to get to a yoga class (“HOW DARE YOU!”)— and now your pastor is blasting you from the pulpit for engaging in demonic activity?

I’m particularly incensed because yoga is a great activity for women who have been utterly out of shape and want to get back into it. You can start with gentle stretching and core strengthening and later build yourself to aerobic fitness with Ashtanga or Vinyasa workouts. It’s low impact, it’s cheap — all it takes is a mat and you can do it in your living room.

And now it’s demonic, too! Does this mean I can skip my usual witch costume for Halloween and just go in my yoga outfit?

All I can say to the pastor of Mars Hill Church is “thank you!”

If I ever need motivation to stay strong and fit, and get to my yoga workout on a regular basis, I’ll just think about you and your ilk. Praise the Lord!

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