As a Christian the most important thing in life is God. We worship Him, take in His every word and live day by day by His commandments. But it can sometimes be difficult to know if we are doing right by Him and by the Bible and that leads to seemingly simple tasks and activities becoming complicated.
Yoga is deemed as a mental, physical and spiritual act with the aim of stilling the mind. It is a form of self-discipline as one focuses all their energy as they detach themselves from consciousness. The practice of yoga involves low-impact physical movements – it is grossly invested in the exercising of the brain.
The core reason for yoga is to harmonize the mind, the body and the environment in order to bring a spiritual bliss and enlightenment. So, what’s so wrong about yoga? It is a peaceful practice which causes no harm. It allows a person to be one with spirituality and take in the world around them. Should Christians participate in the act? Or is it a sin?
The Spirituality Of Yoga
Yoga is a spiritual journey for those who practice the act. By form of meditation they are stilling the mind and connecting their body and soul to the environment which surrounds them. Although yoga is not a religion itself, it is practiced by other religions including Hinduism and Buddhism.
Christianity is one religion, however, that has not incorporated the act. There are many reasons for this, one of which being that Christians hold their faith strongly to the word of the traditional Bible. Yoga is not something that had been practiced in the years of Christianity and to introduce new methods of worshipping goes against what is represented in the Bible.
The way a Christian shows their faith is through the power of prayer and praise to the higher power. To incorporate an act such as yoga into the religion is only being influenced by other religions, which leads to some controversy over the subject (see also: “What Religion is Against Yoga?”).
In order to find our answer, we must look into the positives and negatives of the practice and how it impacts Christians and their faith.
Worshipping A New God
One of the biggest issues with the concept of yoga is worshipping someone other than the Christian God. This is an understandable concern due to the fact that yoga has a relation to Hinduism.
By partaking in yoga are we then worshipping the Hindu God? The Bible itself states that Christians should only follow their Christian God and idol no others. Practicing yoga could perhaps indicate finding an idol in another.
Some of the postures used in yoga are questionable to Christians, especially when exploring their link to other religions who practice the act. In Hinduism, it is known that they praise multiple Gods, unlike in Christianity where there is only one omnipotent God. Some of the postures made during yoga can be viewed as offerings to those Gods, thus being influenced to praise another.
In yoga it teaches to clear the mind of all in order to harmonize the body, mind and environment. Once this is done you are successfully in a meditated state which brings you closer spiritually. However, in Christianity the teaching is to renew the mind. Clearing the mind opposes this Christian teaching.
Practicing yoga has numerous health benefits. It is a positive outlet for those suffering with anxiety and depression and has even been applied to some health promotion programs.
It can be argued that the conversation on yoga and the Christian faith is an outdated one. As like many other things, yoga has become westernized and viewed differently to those in Western countries than in Eastern countries.
To many, people look at the spiritual properties of the act rather than linking it to religion. Yoga, for the most part, is an exercise. People attend classes together to indulge in yoga and it is an open space for all.
There is now room for Christians to involve themselves in yoga without feeling any shame or doubt about going against the Christian faith. Many Christians who participate in yoga believe that if they dedicate a practice to Jesus then it can be Christian. In yoga, Christians are thinking of God, immersing themselves in the faith and bonding with God.
Yoga, in a whole, is a complicated subject that has risen among the Christian faith. Although not made as a religion, the act has been adopted by the Hinduism religion. It is a vital part of their spirituality and a way of meditation.
As a Christian the topic is controversial due to the link with other religions. It can be seen as a betrayal of the Christian God to practice yoga, but who is to say yoga means to explicitly worship the Hindu God? In yoga, it is a time to free one’s mind and experience a calm and spiritual journey.
Some Christians have gone as far as to westernize the practice and incorporate their own faith into it. Its healing properties bring them closer to God in a way that usual sermons do not.
Is this wrong?
There is no true right or wrong, however is up to interpretation. As times have changed, we as people have grown and developed. Beliefs shift and Christians have found new ways to praise their God.
But we cannot forget that there is more to yoga than faith. Many find yoga very beneficial for their health and wellbeing. The stretches are good for those who need to develop their flexibility and fitness and meditating can help people to handle stress and anxiety.
Yoga is a peaceful practice which is now reserved for all. No matter your religion, spirituality, or active ability, yoga allows all to have the chance to express themselves. The western society has allowed that to happen.
If you are a Christian and don’t believe this is the right way to go then you have the freedom to stick to traditional acts. However, yoga is accepting of everyone. It is up to the individual to decide whether they want to make that first move.