Holy wars are dreadful. For as long as humans have been on the planet, clashes in faith have caused massive death and destruction. This century alone has seen its fair share of bombs, murders and suicides over God, and the irony is dumbfounding to say the least.
Far from an actual war or major religious conflict, a group of Hindus have created a program to stand up and fight for a much forgotten element of yoga. “Take Back Yoga,” a campaign set up by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), was developed to bring attention to America that yoga has roots in Hinduism, and is not just about the physical poses called asanas.
Most of us who practice yoga know this. We understand yoga comes from India, which is an area steeped in Hinduism. Some of us are even aware that not all Hindus practice yoga, nor are all yogis Hindu. In addition, yoga is not a religion; it is a method, a philosophy, and a system to experience happiness.
Yoga in America is now a six billion dollar industry. It is a highly influential practice that has captured the attention of millions, and continues to do so at an insurmountable rate. It is estimated that 15 to 20 million Americans practice yoga on a regular basis as it has become a celebrated form of exercise, stress relief and an effective method to enhance overall wellbeing. It is not uncommon to find a yoga studio on almost every street corner in the city, see them occupying strip malls in the suburbs and discover them inhabiting old buildings in many small towns.
While most people view modern yoga as a non-denominational practice for the mind and body, Father Gabriele Amorth, the former chief exorcist for the Vatican, does not. Esteemed as someone who exhumed evil spirits for the Vatican, Amorth believes that by practicing yoga, one will be led to practice Hinduism, and that “brings evil” because it supports the non-Christian notion of reincarnation.
The Hindu religion is considered to be one of the oldest religions in the world. Yoga was born in a region where Hinduism was practiced, long before Christianity was conceived. Yoga then manifested as a way to live life for the purpose of selfless service, greater good for humanity and faith in the divine. By definition, the word yoga means to join or to unite. This union is about connecting the human spirit to a higher power and that power can be referred to as God, regardless of how one chooses to define God.
A mantra is a repeated word or group of words believed to have the ability to create a change due to the power of their specific vibrational qualities. The use of mantras originated in Vedic philosophy, which is a predecessor of Hinduism, to enhance the spiritual experience. A classic example is the mantra Om, which is used to invoke a connection with the body, the mind, and the soul, to the universe.
Today in America, mantras are used for just about anything and can be made up of just about any words. While you can practice reciting mantras traditionally with Sanskrit or Hindu words such as Om, any word or group of words will work as long as you fully believe in the power of change they instill.
To gain a boost in your self-esteem, mood or attitude, choose all or one of the following mantras. Be sure to pick a mantra that you resonate with, as this will make it a lot easier to trust in a positive outcome. If none of these mantras are of interest to you, make one up! Repeat your mantra silently in your mind or out loud several times a day and take note of the changes that occur.