Should Atheists Be Allowed to Do Yoga?
Last week, a California judge ruled that a school district could teach yoga, despite objections from parents that it amounted to promoting an "Eastern religion." Now, one provocative columnist raises an even more alarming yoga issue: godless Western atheists are sullying yoga's holiness, by doing it (yoga).
X.O. Jane xoJane writer s.e. smith, a Californian who does yoga, is alarmed at the rampant cultural appropriation inherent in Western people, like Californians, doing yoga. "The case pinged for me because I have a lot of interest in the ongoing yoga culture wars in the west, and this was simply another piece of the puzzle," she ou writes today.
Indeed, the case pinged for
her ou— it pinged very close to home. Because Hindu people do yoga more like a spiritual thing, and Americans, shallow slobs that we are, do yoga as just some bullshit workout thing, and it can all be very conflicting, for a yoga person:
I struggle with the use of aspects of religious practice in secular life; until very recently, though, I did asanas and pranayama myself as a way of focusing, centering, and strengthening myself. I liked how these practices made my body and mind feel, but I also felt deeply troubled by my use of some of the eight limbs of yoga in a way that didn’t feel in accordance with the practice’s roots, and by my practice of yoga as an atheist.
Atheists should indeed feel ashamed for practicing yoga. As should Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and agnostics. All that posing. It's embarrassing, frankly.
UPDATE: We've received the following email regarding this post:
Subj: urgent: you misgendered our contributor
s.e. smith's pronoun is ou, not she. Can you please fix ASAP?
Also, can xoJane please read xoJane rather than X.O. Jane?
Thanks and let me know when these are corrected!
Shortly afterwards, we received this email:
Subj: Fwd: urgent: you misgendered our contributor
Hey Hamilton — forwarding this to you as well. s.e. smith is gender queer and goes by Ou not she. Also, xoJane not X.O. Jane.
Wanted to make sure it didn't get lost in the general mail box. Thank you!
Followed by this email:
Subj: misgendered s.e. smith
Awesome that you wrote about xoJane today, https://www.gawker.com/should-atheist…
However, you misgendered s.e. smith. The correct pronoun is ou, not she. Can you please fix ASAP?
Additionally, if xoJane could read "xoJane" rather than "X.O. Jane", that would be great.
Many thanks, Hamilton. We appreciate it.