Wednesday Wisdom: Should “Christian” and “Yoga” be used in the same sentence?

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It has been heavy on my heart that so many fellow believers view yoga as a benign exercise. Somehow they believe that the physical poses of yoga can be separated from the spiritual purposes of yoga. But here is what a Hindu himself says about yoga:

While yoga is not a “religion” in the sense that the Abrahamic religions are, it is a well-established spiritual path. Its physical postures are only the tip of an iceberg, beneath which is a distinct metaphysics with profound depth and breadth. Its spiritual benefits are undoubtedly available to anyone regardless of religion. However, the assumptions and consequences of yoga do run counter to much of Christianity as understood today. This is why, as a Hindu yoga practitioner and scholar, I agree with the Southern Baptist Seminary President, Albert Mohler, when he speaks of the incompatibility between Christianity and yoga, arguing that “the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine” is fundamentally at odds with Christian teaching. This incompatibility runs much deeper (bold is my emphasis).

You can read the rest of this article here. It is a very interesting read.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rajiv-malhotra/hindu-view-of-christian-yoga_b_778501.html

So why have so many Christians fallen prey to becoming part of this false religion? Because we have been told that it’s simply a relaxation technique and a good form of exercise. But as believers, we have a responsibility to make sure that what we are being told is actually true.  And before I hear the argument, “Well, it doesn’t affect me…I do it just for exercise,” think for a minute why you would even desire to do something so spiritually intertwined with a false religion. Should we draw closer to false religions and play around with their rituals and traditions or remove ourselves as far from them as possible? 

I found this article by Marsha West. I have only the second half of the article here, but you can read the rest of it by clicking on the link at the bottom. 

Many Christians have been duped into thinking that yoga is just relaxation and exercise. Nothing could be further from the truth. Classical yoga is intended to put one into an altered state of consciousness. Believers who think they’re “just exercising” are being swept into a counterfeit religion.

Not all religions are equal, as liberals would have us believe. Orthodox Christianity teaches that there is one true God. God as the all-knowing, all-powerful being who created the universe and still rules it today. “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care” (Psalm 95:6,7). Moreover, orthodox Christianity teaches that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes”(Romans 1:16). On the other hand, “Progressive Christians” (PC’s) believe that the Bible is a book of myths and legends. PC’s “read the Bible symbolically or allegorically, as a collection of interesting stories to take whatever meaning out of that pleases them. This allows them to reject various portions of the Bible they disagree with. Liberals label their interpretation as a “critical” approach, which essentially allows most of their theology to consist of finding ways to criticize the Bible, rather than actually trying to determine what it says.”[4]

PC’s see nothing wrong with yoga. They see nothing wrong with Christian mysticism either. But that’s another article.

According to God’s Word, mystical practices of any sort are evil. Romans 12:9 instructs Christians to, “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Sooner or later the sharks will pull Christians who wade into mystic waters under. Jesus gave this warning in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Eastern mysticism leads to destruction.

Professor Tiwari is an authority on classical yoga. He believes that yoga cannot be separated from its spiritual center. “The simple, immutable fact,” he says, “is that yoga originated from the Vedic or Hindu culture. Its techniques were not adopted by Hinduism, but originated from it.” These facts need to be unequivocally stated in light of some of the things being written to the contrary by yoga teachers. The effort to separate yoga from Hinduism must be challenged because it runs counter to the fundamental principles upon which yoga itself is premised, the yamas (restraints) and niyamas (observances). These ethical tenets and religious practices are the first two limbs of the eight-limbed ashtanga yoga system which also includes asana (postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (contemplation/Self Realization). Efforts to separate yoga from its spiritual center reveal ignorance of the goal of yoga.”[5]

If your church is integrating “Christian yoga” or any other New Age practice into its services, it’s incumbent on you to speak up. Gently lay out your concerns to your pastor. Explain that yoga is a Hindu or Buddhist practice and has no place in a Christian church. 2 Corinthians. 6:14 says, “For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

Many pastors are unaware that some yoga practices, especially meditation to achieve an altered state of consciousness, can be spiritually damaging. If your pastor chooses to ignore your warning, you might want to consider finding a new church home.

To all you Christians who want to get in shape, I say halleluiah! I’m all for physical fitness. To stay in shape I’ve taken ballet (for the novice), jazz dance, aerobics, stretch classes, played tennis and racquetball, hiked in the mountains, and gone on brisk walks. All of these things will keep you in great shape. You don’t need yoga to stay fit

Footnotes:

4, Liberal Theology Misses Plain Truth By Rachel Alexander
5, Yoga Renamed Is Still Hindu By Subhas R. Tiwari

© 2006 Marsha West – All Rights Reserved

Read this article in its entirety here:http://newswithviews.com/West/marsha30.htm

6 thoughts on “Wednesday Wisdom: Should “Christian” and “Yoga” be used in the same sentence?”

  1. Thank you so much for speaking out on this topic. I have had this discussion with several young ladies, some agree and some don’t. I pray for those who don’t and are getting caught up into the “anything goes” mentality of so many “today” Christians.

    1. Thanks for your encouragement. I did hesitate, honestly, to share this because I know it is a very unpopular view, but it’s not about me or what people think of me. It is about proclaiming the Truth of God’s Word and so I couldn’t remain silent on something so dangerous.

  2. I was told to do Yoga for my back pain. I got the DVD, did it once, felt very uneasy about the spirit against Spirit I could sense battling. I totally agree with you.

    Now to find something to help the back pain :)

    1. Thank you for that very practical example of why it is not a good idea, Bonnie! I had the same feeling when I ventured doing it once or twice. The spiritual battle is very real. Eric has a little black ball he rolls on for his back, perhaps you could try that? :) He got it from Dr. Wagner!

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