I know this might be a controversial topic and it has stirred a lot of debate in Christian circles.
|Suryanamaskar: This pose also known as Sun Salutation or Salute to the Sun. |
In Hindu mythology, the sun god is worshipped as a symbol of health and immortal life. Image from Prolific Living
Is it okay for Christian to do Yoga?
Yoga has become so utterly mainstream. And now there's even so-called "Christian Yoga". Stores are filled with yoga clothing, equipment, books, and videos. People argue that yoga is just stretching and only one form of exercise. People may say, "I’m not doing any of the meditation stuff. I’m just following the exercises." But it is impossible to separate the subtleties of yoga the technique and its spiritual element. Laurette Willis on Christian Broadcast Network discuss this philosophical and spiritual aspect of yoga you ought to keep in mind before making your own choices about yoga.
1. Yoga postures are offerings to Hindu gods
Many do not realize that yoga postures are offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods. Romans 12:1-2 says we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. So we abstain from things offered to idols-Acts 15:29.
|Yoga to clear mind: Practicing yoga is said can help you eliminate your doubts by using simple mantra meditation. |
Image from Organic Soul
2. Yoga breathing invokes the Hindu "life force"
In yoga they do what they call pranayama breathing. These things can be helpful from a physical perspective to help reduce stress and regulate the body toward a relaxed state. Ways in which this was (and is) accomplished include: Concentrating on sounds by chanting the names of Hindu gods or the sacred om, which Patanjali said is the voice of God, focusing on images, such as the tip of your nose or a religious icon, and concentrating on one’s own breath. The purpose of these exercises was to attain a state of pure consciousness in order to feel at one with the universe or God. The Bible says to be "self-controlled and alert" (1 Pet. 5:8), which is impossible if we are seeking an altered state of consciousness and opening ourselves up to any and every spiritual influence without discernment. Paul said in Ephesians 2:2, that Satan is the prince of the power of the air.
3. Yoga encourages emptying your mind
As Christians, we know that our Lord wants us to renew our minds, not empty them. James 1:17 "Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father."
We all have different opinions in life. In my personal view, yoga is Hinduism. Christian and Hindu cannot be combined. But there are some who do not see it that way. If you are in doubt with your choices, the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 (NIV) "but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. "