I’ve been hearing of more and more people who are getting into the practice of Yoga, and that has been very troubling for me. Estimates are that it is practiced by 15 million people worldwide. Is this helpful for a Christian? Is it right? I’ve never even considered the implications of this form of Hindu worship until it became apparent that it had made inroads into the church. It seems that the increasing lack of Biblical discernment is beginning to lead many down paths of worship of beings other than the One True God.
I hope to provide more research on this in coming posts, but here’s my beginning effort to combat that which I believe to be spiritually dangerous.
Now, I am not saying that you who are “doing yoga” are essentially idol worshippers but you are certainly on a path to downgrade and deception. Most certainly there is nothing inherently wrong with stretching or exercises that seek to stimulate physical health, and I am well aware of the ties between physical well-being and emotional/mental health. I don’t intend to make this into a long debate or forum but I do want to encourage some thoughtfulness and discernment from Biblical wisdom.
Consider the words of Albert Mohler in his post The Subtle Body: Should Christians Practice Yoga
When Christians practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga. The contradictions are not few, nor are they peripheral. The bare fact is that yoga is a spiritual discipline by which the adherent is trained to use the body as a vehicle for achieving consciousness of the divine. Christians are called to look to Christ for all that we need and to obey Christ through obeying his Word. We are not called to escape the consciousness of this world by achieving an elevated state of consciousness, but to follow Christ in the way of faithfulness.
There is nothing wrong with physical exercise, and yoga positions in themselves are not the main issue. But these positions are teaching postures with a spiritual purpose. Consider this — if you have to meditate intensely in order to achieve or to maintain a physical posture, it is no longer merely a physical posture.
The embrace of yoga is a symptom of our postmodern spiritual confusion, and, to our shame, this confusion reaches into the church. Stefanie Syman is telling us something important when she writes that yoga “has augured a truly post-Christian, spiritually polyglot country.” Christians who practice yoga are embracing, or at minimum flirting with, a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a “post-Christian, spiritually polyglot” reality. Should any Christian willingly risk that?
At the very least friends, don’t just write it off as something that is nonsense. And please consider exactly what you’re subjecting yourself to before you run blindly into such a practice.