Christian Yoga-The Odd Couple

February 3, 2015

I was recently asked to respond to an article, discovered by one of my students. I have touched on this topic before but am always excited to return to the debate.

Therefore, let me present to you my response to the following article: Should Christians Do Yoga

First of all, let me say I admire Laurette for what she is doing. PraiseMoves is a great idea! I have tried similar techniques in my yoga classes before, and I am excited to see she is using postures and scripture together to minister to many.

It is difficult to do postures like the traditional yoga postures, and not feel like they were designed to connect you to the Divine. Yet I disagree that simply doing a certain posture means you believe in its origins.

She says “If you do these postures and you do this breathing technique and this meditation, then you will be accepted by a god, little “G.” That’s the real danger,”

But to say that doing certain techniques connects you or puts you in danger with gods is to say you believe those gods are real. You can’t worship gods unknowingly and you can’t worship something in which you really don’t believe.

In the same way, you can go to church and sit in a pew. You can even sing hymns and not believe in God. Just because you go through the motions, doesn’t mean you are truly worshipping.

I think it is interesting that she uses Acts 15:29 about abstaining from meat sacrificed to idols as a reason to abstain from things that were defiled by a false religion. What is interesting to me is that the New Testament shows the early church returning to this debate time and time again along with other issues like circumcision because these are issues of the heart and conscience, not New Testament Laws from God.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8 that we know there is no such thing as idols and that it is not wrong to eat of that meat.

I am aware, you can’t read this passage and not mention that he says we should abstain from the act if it makes our weaker brother stumble. And Laurette mentions that in her article too. Yet, I don’t see how anyone can stumble in a Christian yoga atmosphere. That is the purpose of Christian yoga.

We have a responsibility as Christians to be discerning and cautious in the yoga culture. I have always made that a core principle with my business. And I hope that my classes can be a safe haven for people to come and practice yoga without the New Age or Hindu influences of yoga.

I believe Christian Yoga is not an oxymoron because our minds are focused on one God. The true God. We are not emptying our minds for the sake of demon oppression or simulating out of body experiences.

Another thing to realize when you practice yoga is that there is science behind everything too.

It is not all spiritual. I practice pranayama in my classes because it is a vital part of every exercise style. Breath is something that is vital to life and the health of our bodies. I practice emptying the mind because it decreases cortisol, increases mental strength, and can even cure insomnia. I practice ancient Christian chants because there is a connection to certain syllables and stimulating the vagus nerve that stimulates the brain, as well as being restorative and connecting us with God.

The Art of Yoga. The Path of Christ. That is the Christian Yoga Studio I create. What I do is take the teachings of yoga, put it under a Christian magnify glass, and create a safe place where you can grow and heal.

Let me know what you think. What do you agree with from the article? Disagree with?

2 responses to Christian Yoga-The Odd Couple

  1. You have a very weak understanding of the nature of pantheistic and monistic religions. You cannot empty your mind while emptying your mind. If Jesus is our Lord and he is the personal God, how can you have a conversation with someone while they are sitting in a funny posture clearing your mind when he is right they and wants to have a conversation with you. You are not submitted to God but are manipulating your body to serve different gods. The path to God is not through our bodies.

    If you are doing yoga because for spiritual reasons instead of another exercise you are doing it for the wrong reason. You are buying into a very complex and Hindu occult alternate path to salvation. Being focused on our bodies and our breathing doesn’t help us focus on God but you are trying to reach God through self-effort. The idea the our breath or Hindu “pranayama” is some sort of spiritual activity is pure pantheism. We cannot breath in and out the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the person presence of the Third Person of the Trinity.

    Also, Paul’s counsel about eating meat sacrificed to idols doesn’t not apply in the least to the issue of Christians doing Yoga. Temple sacrifices were one of the man sources of FOOD in many place during those times and we need FOOD to live. Bowing down to other idols through Yoga is an act of worship to another religious form of ritual which is condemned in the Bible. Paul didn’t say that it was o.k. to participate in the ritual sacrificing of the animals. You are sacrificing you body to a counterfeit spirituality and ritualized disciplines to other gods.

    Please read go to my website and connect to Ed Hird’s Blog post. If is a very thoughtful and thoroughly Christian approach to the entire issue of Christian Yoga.

    • Thank you for your opinion, Roger! I appreciate your interest in this topic and your passion for Christ. I agree traditional yoga is wed into Hinduism and there are a lot of New Age teachings that you will find in a yoga classroom. That is why I strive to educate my students and encourage discernment. What we do IS spiritual but our hearts and minds are directed to Christ and scripture.

      I don’t believe the mental exercise of clearing or emptying your mind opens us up to demonic oppression. This exercise has been very beneficial to me and many others. It teaches us to concentrate and find calm in stressful circumstances and even helps us sleep better at night. To think that simply emptying your mind is bad is also to say that the eight hours of your day that you are asleep and not in control of your conscious thoughts would be bad too. Our minds can’t always be busy and full of thoughts. There is benefit to rest in all areas of our body.

      Christian Yoga is a great ministry! I have seen how both the exercise of yoga and the path of Christ have changed lives! I believe God is bigger than we give Him credit for and He can use whatever He wants to reach people. Even yoga.