I wanted to mention this observation. It has to do with Christian Scientists thinking that yoga practice is compatible with Christian Science. The students I know who are involved with it have had class instruction.
One branch church member (in another city) has become a yoga teacher and trainer, and wanted to introduce some ideas from her yoga work to the Sunday School students during Sunday School. The Board said “no.” She could not understand why. Another CS friend said that the time for her yoga session was, “My time for me.”
My sense is that this interest in yoga seems to be a subtle attempt by malicious animal magnetism to interject into the daily practice of CS and to our branch churches collectively the idea that mind and body are physical, needing control and rest, and yoga will harmlessly provide that discipline. CS students are unknowingly used by this error. It supports the claim that CS cannot and need not heal spiritually because the physical body and mind is the current state of affairs, and yoga is giving a quasi-metaphysical way to bring relief to them. However, not only is the basic belief that man is material the insidious suggestion, the underlying Hindu theological beliefs of yoga and the teachings of gurus cannot be separated from yoga exercising. These beliefs enter the students’ thoughts through the practice of the postures and meditations. I have heard Christian Scientists quote from sayings of the early yoga teachers. This is a malicious error, because the CS student is ultimately denying and negating CS and CS treatment. This mixture is the worship of “God and mammon.” If we try to mix them, we are in a worse state than before. We have no Christian Science at all. CS becomes humanism, - a way to care about and express love to humanity but without the foundational truth of the “scientific statement of being” that “man is not material; he is spiritual,” and the healing result that understanding brings. (S&H, p. 468)
I’m sure the belief of humanism creeps into CS thinking in many ways. In our branch church, there is a very active and vocal thought that wants to support social justice, and an ecumenical desire that we be seen as part of the Christian community that is “out there” caring about those in need. Right now we are focused on homelessness in general, and a clothing drive for homeless teens, led by some Sunday School students who are working with a community youth group, has a collection box in our lobby. I’ve been on a small committee looking for ways to support this call for help. My contribution has been to bring the thought that we need to be giving CS treatment to these issues, first and foremost, and that spiritual understanding is our healing contribution to these problems and is what sets us apart and makes us who we are. This scientific prayer becomes the basis for our human actions. I’m grateful that there is receptivity to this idea and cooperation to work in this direction. I’m grateful, too, that a practitioner in the church is understanding this idea and is working with me along these lines.
I guess I’m saying that it seems to me that the class-taught students studying CS and practicing yoga seem ignorant to the dangers of the mixture of thought. A belief in CS that includes the reality of matter evolves into humanism which is not CS at all, but the loss of it. I’m seeing ever more clearly that pure scientific Truth is the practice of CS and nothing else is.
A short testimony from the Sentinel August 28, 1920 by C.H. Lightoller provides an interesting illustration. It is about WWI and his service as captain of a destroyer, literally navigating the mine fields. It put a lot of things into perspective. The seeming “mine fields” of today (the prevalent belief in yoga by Christian Scientists, for one, or humanistic CS thinking, for another) are within divine Love and Love is bringing the guidance and protection needed for our Cause every step of the way, - even in a deep fog or a dark night. (Mr. Lightoller also has the wonderful testimony about his survival after the sinking of the Titanic - 1912.)