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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 

Article: Misc. 
 

She grew up dancing, and in her 20s decided to look into yoga. She thought it would be good exercise. And now Gina Kilpela, 36, thinks of yoga as more than a workout it has become a big part of her spiritual life.

"I really have come to see the mind, body, spirit connection, for me, is very important," said Kilpela, who lives in Park Hill with her husband and twin 18-month-old boys. She was raised Catholic, in Pittsburgh. She doesn't attach herself to a specific religious faith anymore.

Meanwhile, other religious scholars are decrying what has happened to yoga in America, lamenting its divorce from Hinduism and calling for a reunion of the physical exercise and the ancient East Indian religion.

"I think it's a shame" that the Hindu roots of yoga are often opaque, said Sheetal Shah, senior director of the Hindu American Foundation, in New York City. The foundation recently launched a program called "Take Back Yoga" that aims to introduce yoga practitioners to links between the physical practice and Hinduism.

Some say just doing the poses invites a unique brand of spirituality, one that comes without texts or dogma.  On the other end of the yogic spectrum are places like Shoshoni Yoga Retreat, in the mountains near Nederland. There, participants are invited to take part in ceremonies involving dancing, singing, East Indian music, meditation and chanting in a temple adorned with different Hindu gods, such as the elephant Ganesh.

"I see both sides," said Swami Kripananda, the ashram's resident swami, or leader. "I think absolutely we should respect the roots of this amazing tradition. But everybody doesn't have to be a Hindu to practice it."

Like Potocnik, Kripananda doesn't preach. At the same time, her connection to yoga is deeply spiritual. The two become entwined, she said, not through texts, but through practice.  "Even if somebody doesn't think about it spiritually, if they do it under a good instructor, that will come alive in them," she said. "Something starts to happen."

 
 
 

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