Hindus have welcomed Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church (LHUMC) (in Linthicum, Maryland), whose history goes back to 1828, for offering yoga classes.
Besides special Lent meditation-prayer services on Wednesdays, LHUMC is also offering two-levels of yoga in Church’s Fellowship Hall which include yoga postures, alignment and breath. Its current classes, “Yoga 1”, will end on March 27; and the 8-weeks long spring yoga session “Yoga 2”, starting March 27, will continue till May 15.
Its Mission Statement says that LHUMC “exists to share God’s message with today’s world”, its Vision Statement includes “actively invite people into a relationship with Jesus Christ”, and under “What We Believe” it states “We strive for spiritual depth”. Reverend David A. Shank is the Pastor, while Vernon Shaffer is Trustees Chair.
Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
Rajan Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.