Yoga can’t catch a break: Another college in angst over its cultural implications

Yoga can’t catch a break: Another college in angst over its cultural implications

[Ed. – If yoga isn’t being culturally appropriated, as Howard Portnoy reported in 2015, it’s carrying inappropriate dangers of Eastern mysticism.  Exit question:  does practicing yoga, but not calling it “yoga,” de-, er, mysticize it?]

Yoga is designed to help bring peace and wellness to body and mind.

But at Benedictine College — a small and strongly Catholic liberal arts school in Atchison, Kan. — yoga classes per se will soon be yo-gone, out of apparent concern that use of the word “yoga” suggests advocacy for Hindu mysticism.

College spokesman Stephen Johnson said that starting this fall, both recreational classes and for-credit exercise classes that once taught yoga will likely still be taught the same way, but instead will be rebranded as “lifestyle fitness.”

“We’re changing the name,” Johnson said. …

Johnson, the spokesman, said the decision to ditch the term yoga came soon after the college began offering recreational yoga classes (as opposed to the one-hour, for-credit yoga exercise class it has offered for years) at the school’s new recreation center, which opened last fall.

Complaints, Johnson said, began to come in from alumni, students, faculty and some administrators who argued that as a Hindu practice, yoga was not in keeping with Catholic-based education. Others, Johnson said, argued that the name yoga should no longer be used because in teaching just the exercise aspects of yoga — as opposed to both its physical and spiritual aspects — Benedictine wasn’t teaching true yoga. Thus it should not use the Hindu name.

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