I know that's a pretty broad and sweeping statement, but I was wondering what your stance was on Christians doing Yoga? As you probably know, Yoga is deeply entrenched in eastern spiritualism, mysticism and philosophies, and when we do so, we may be exposed to things unseen.
But then again, one could argue that as long as we hold fast to our beliefs in God - that's what's important, right?
Yoga and Christianity? Are they compatible?. Yoga is an ancient spiritual discipline deeply rooted in the religion of Hinduism. Yoga's central doctrines are utterly incompatible with those of Christianity.This being so, we may honestly wonder whether it's really wise for a Christian to be involved in yoga practice.
Look, I think that if someone wants an exercise program with physical benefits similar to yoga, but without all the negative spiritual baggage, they should consider low-impact or water aerobics, water ballet, or simple stretching. These programs can be just as beneficial for the body, without potentially endangering the soul. In my opinion, then, Christians would be better off to never begin yoga practice
Of course, programs such as water aerobics, stretching or water ballet will need to be tailored to each individual's needs and goals. Please speak to your doctor if pain occurs or persists. It's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
I actually have a friend that has developed a form or Christian Yoga called 'Naga Yoga'. It focusses on the relaxation and physicality with none of the mystecism or deep meditation attached.
He considers Jesus to be the ultimate 'Yogi' because he was one in body and spirit. Some moves are called 'The trinity' or 'Greeting God' and our bodies are used to help us understand how our relationship to GOd is reflected.
Some poeple may consider this to be rubbish but I, and many, others have used this type of 'creative spirituality' with the more traditional methods of worship and found it very beneficial. It gives you a different perspective on preserving your body as a temple of God.
I do not recommend some forms of yoga to Christians but I believe this to be spiritually sound. What do you think?
If I'm not mistaken, yoga places the participant in a 'suspended' state where he/she is instructed to 'free their minds' of any thoughts. Yoga as what most people think is a form of relaxation and majority do attest that it does relieve them of stress after a hard day's work. There is nothing wrong with seeking some form of relaxation but it's the 'free your minds' state that we have to be wary of. When you 'free your mind', you subconsciously lose control over both the physical, mental, emotional and meta-physical aspect of yourself. That's why people feel so relaxed after a yoga session. Losing control opens up the door for other beings or spirits to take control. On the extreme it leads to demon possession which does not usually manifest itself straightaway. Allowing other beings to take control we lose our free will which is both a God-given opportunity and responsibility.
We could say that as long we, as Christians, know our limitations when dealing with yoga, it would not take control over us. But then, there is a thin line when it comes to dealing with these things and often we realise we have crossed over the line only when it's too late.
Personally, I'd rather have my daily devotions in the morning, to start the day right before any stress, conflicts, and anxieties would attempt to ruin my day.
Full Metal Jacket.
I completely agree that we should not be 'freeing our mind' of thoughts or suspending our minds. Our mind should always be occupied by God and thinking on Him. Our mind is a gift from God that should not be abused.
However, from my experience of Naga Yoga, it has been made quite clear that by the leader that that is not what we are doing. We are there for exercise. I think the way you are suggesting that that may be crossing the thin line could be taken as pretty narrow.
Bible-based judgement is the most important thing when we are trying new things but we shouldn't limit ourselves because of 'european' fear.,
I agree! Instead of spending time relaxing yourself with Yoga why don't you chill with the Lord and meditate on his Word. Surely you would be able to get more out of the Bible in half an hour than Yoga. But then again that's just my opinion.
I think that your "real purpose" would have a strong bearing on whether this practise is right or wrong.
I think the idea behind Yoga/relaxation/exercise and daily devotions are two separate, and not necessarily mutually exclusive, things. ie. You can do one or the other or both. Yoga is not going to take the place of your devotions, nor is devotions an equitable substitute for what Yoga tries to achieve.
Granted, as has been mentioned, some forms of Yoga may be spiritually and mentally susceptible, yet, as we have been alerted to by KF, there are other forms. Personally, I'm restricting my opinions as I have not tried either and there is some truth and basis for the old adage of 'don't know it until you try it'. And generally my preference is to give more credence to the assessments of those who have tried it.
Sorry, that was meant to be 'don't knock it until you try it'.
We could give 'yoga' different names but it is still basically yoga ... a science/religion/life philosophy based on Hindu beliefs where one relates his/her mind, body and spirit with a divine energy/being. We should claim back to God what really belongs to God. Yoga's origins are not. No matter how much we try to sugar-coat it to make things look 'politically-correct', 'inviting' and 'attractive', we still have to be careful. I don't know much about 'european' fear for I'm of Asian/Oriental background. I've seen cults, mystics, churches and new-age groups... and it's hard distinguishing one from the other until you've really dwelt on it too long. I wouldn't try to dip my finger in it. Talking to an Christian Indian friend who knows much about yoga, palm-reading, and transcendental meditation, he certainly wouldn't recommend it either.
All I can say is captured in the verse in 1 Corinthians 10:31 "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
A couple of years ago I heard some research say that people who were 'religious' tended to live longer than people who weren't. Does anyone remember this?
I have heard some sermons that are so devoid of Chrstian gospel content that it is really just watered-down, unchristian, lovey-dovey, non-judgemental, cool, feel-good worldly new age religion.
Can this reduction of 'good' work the other way as well? ie. Can something whose origins are corrupt, occultic and evil be reduced to a benign exercise program?
Maybe those who are doing Thai-bo should stop as well because the ancient Muay Thai kickboxing on which it is based is bloodthirsty, gruesome and merciless?
1 Thessalonians 5
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Is it possible to do Yoga for the physical positions? If you do so, would it be considered yoga?
Or do your physical actions have an impact on spiritual side of things?
What if I sit in the same way that a yoga-man would sit?
Why would you???
The most dangerous practises are those which mimic good.
Does yoga = evil? Does car = evil? Depends on the person and their motives doesn't it?
Never done yoga before, and never wanted to try, but I have done martial arts before, which is also another contentious area with regards to Christianity.
Take Tai Chi, where the focus is on developing your 'chi', and often is linked to Buddhism and other Eastern spiritual philosophies and religion. It is also similarly linked to acupuncture (manipulating meridian lines in your body, which is supposedly the flow of 'chi' around your body).
There's still a lot about our bodies we do not know (and probably never will) regarding how it functions and what affects it. Could it be that Tai Chi, acupuncture, yoga, etc are systems, developed initially through observation, trial and error, linked with the developer's belief system (religion) and then taught to many? Just because the spiritual beliefs are flawed/wrong/misguided, does that mean that the physical principles utilised in yoga, etc are evil?
If a scientist conducted an experiment and theorised/believed that things turned out the way they did because of Buddha, does that mean that the physical laws of the world are evil?
There must be many hidden secrets to our bodies (that God created and designed) that are untapped, and these people have just stumbled upon them, and thought up their own explanations for these things.
I'm not saying that anyone is right or wrong. As a Christian, I do not condone anyone subscribing to anything that does not glorify the name of Jesus. But isn't it possible to do yoga and meditate on the word of God for example?