Should Christians do yoga? There is a growing consensus today that it is alright for Christians to engage in the practice of yoga, even if it is just for exercise. There is even a movement going around named “Christian Yoga” or “Yoga for Christians”. There are churches that embrace it and even provide yoga classes for their congregation. Many feel its ok because they play gospel music or scriptures with their exercise so it takes away from any other notions that come with yoga. But is it really okay for Christians to be doing yoga?
Like with many traditions that we practice today, the answer becomes much clearer and simple if we just educate ourselves on the background and history of things. So we should obviously take a look at what yoga is.
First thing to know about yoga is that it comes from Hinduism. Hinduism is an eastern religion rooted in the occult, centered on themes of Self-Realization and Actualization. There is a saying:
‘There is no Yoga without Hinduism and no Hinduism without Yoga.’
Yoga is an eastern occult practice rooted in paganism. Hindu’s believe in many gods (little g) like Krishna, Kali, & Shiva to name a few. There are 6 major schools of thought or darshanas in Hinduism: Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, and Vedanta. Yoga is used as a practice to control the senses and ultimately, the mind. Hindus believe that there is a coiled serpent asleep in each person, awaiting to be awaken. This serpent (Kundalini) is called wisdom, knowledge, or power.
The belief in many different gods is polytheism and/or paganism. It all works its way back to Satan. Please read the article on Paganism Defined. Anything that has its roots stem back to the devil is obviously something that a Christian should avoid. All eastern religions point back to Satan. All of them. That should be enough for anyone to know that they should stay away from it, especially one who says they are a believer in salvation only through Jesus Christ.
Today most American’s largely misunderstand yoga. The main form that is done and practiced is known as asana, or physical posture. Asana practice alone is known to have many health benefits from lowering blood pressure, relief of back pain & arthritis, and boosting the immune system. It is very good for flexibility and many have loss a lot of weight doing yoga. Though these are the positives, they are not the actual goals of yoga.
Well known Yoga Teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar is quoted as saying this about asanas:
“Asanas are not meant for physical fitness, but for conquering the elements, energy, and so on. So, how to balance the energy in the body, how to control the five elements, how to balance the various aspect of the mind without mixing them all together, and how to be able to perceive the difference between the gunas, and to experience that there is something behind them, operating in the world of man – that is what asanas are for. The process is slow and painstaking, but a steady inquiry facilitates a growing awareness.”
And Sri K Patthabi Jois, another well-known yoga teacher from the 20th Century, said this about yoga:
“But using it [yoga] for physical practice is no good, of no use – just a lot of sweating, pushing, and heavy breathing for nothing. The spiritual aspect, which is beyond the physical is the purpose of yoga. When the nervous system is purified, when your mind rests in the atman [the Self], then you can experience the true greatness of yoga.”
This also states that yoga is not only intended for exercise use. It is used for spirituality. Bringing the mind in togetherness with the universe. Becoming self-aware. This is what yoga really is. Even if you are just doing it with a sincere hope for physical exercise, it will not be the only thing you get from it. Even if you are unaware of it.
According to Hinduwebsite.com, modern yoga practice often includes traditional elements inherited from Hinduism, such as moral and ethical principles, postures designed to keep the body fit, spiritual philosophy, instruction by a guru, chanting of mantras (sacred syllables), quieting the breath, and stilling the mind through meditation. In Hinduism, there is an underlying belief that the true nature of self, revealed through the practice of yoga, is of the same nature as god.
Yoga postures are offerings to the gods. It’s believed that if you do these postures and do the breathing techniques along with the meditation, then you will be accepted by a god. There are many different gods in Hinduism. But these are not the same gods as our One True God, the God of Israel. It is important to note that all the postures and poses are all in reference to a false deity. They all have meanings in reference to occultism. They all are rooted in the culture of Satan.
One of the biggest poses they have is a “Sun Salutation”. If you understand anything about paganism, you will know that in Ancient Days, the pagans worshipped the sun. There was the Sun God and Moon Goddess. The “Sun Salutation” pays homage and worship to the sun, even if the one doing the pose is unaware of it.
There is no Christian way of doing yoga. It should also be known that in this highly spiritually wicked world, when we do things that have roots in the occult, we give demons and spirits access points and open doorways for them to enter. When we engage in occult practices we allow demons and spirits to enter into doorways that we should not have opened. You allow the power of the Holy Spirit to be blocked.
Yoga is not a harmless activity. And a book can be written in-depth on all the reasons why a Christian should stop immediately from practicing yoga. We just need to know the truth about these traditions and practices we were encouraged to blindly accept.
If you are a Christian and you have engaged in yoga, please stop and pray about it. Ask the Lord for more discernment on the matter and like always, repent and ask God for forgiveness. Ask Him to close the doorway that you may have opened through yoga. He will fix it. Teach others from your experience what the Lord shows you and help break bondage for others.
Let others know your testimony below!
Hi! I normally don’t comment in forums like this, and just go on about my merry business, but in light of the times, this topic is just toooooooo important for me to pass by without chiming in.
The first sentence of your sixth paragraph reads, “Today most American’s largely misunderstand yoga” and I (respectfully) think you should consider including yourself in that group.
Asana is NOT a “form” of Yoga; asana is but 1 of the 8 limbs or parts of “whole” Yoga practice, and to do only asana would be to have a grossly incomplete Yoga practice, which most so-called “practitioners” have, making one susceptible to the things you’ve indicated. YOGA IS A MEDITATION PRACTICE (even though most Westerners incorrectly assume yoga is “asana” and project/promote the popular mistake that Yoga is such. To call asana yoga is like calling someone who ONLY shoots free throws a basketball player. Free throws are important to the game (just think about how games are won in the clutch with a few seconds left at the free throw line, but there is much more to basketball than just shooting free throws — such a person would more accurately be described as a “free throw shooter” and not a basketball player. To emphasize the point, shooting free throws is not a “form” of basketball, it’s an important “part” or aspect of the entire game of basketball. Another way to think of it is that “chewing” is not a form of eating, chewing is a part of the eating practice. Hopefully that makes sense.
You’ve obviously done some reading, and have formulated an opinion, but your lack of comprehension regarding Yoga (and its relationship to The Bible, in fact) is clear. Yoga is NOT a “religion” in the institutionalized sense. The word RELIGION literally means to “again unite” (or “re-unite”) with God. If “Christianity” is a religion, its aim is the same, to “link again” with source/God. The word YOGA means the same, and we “re-connect” with God by meditating upon God continually (the ability which is gradually developed through the “proper practice” of Yoga with a capital Y).
A deep and thorough study (and practice) of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras will reveal to you through your own experience, or should I say “IN-SPIRIENCE” (revelation), whereby you don’t have to rely on someone else’s word/info for understanding (bc God, whose Kingdom is IN you, will provide IN-SIGHT “sight within”), that Yoga actually moves you closer to God (as you are a life-long work-in-progress, and becoming more and more perfect – ie “repenting” – is the point of Life). An authentic Yoga practice teaches you to treat your body like the Temple it is (not a trash can), to Love your neighbor (not be divided politically, racially, or otherwise), and how to live in peace/tranquility, so that you may do the will of God without distraction (“a scattered mind”). I appreciate your attempt to share good information with your readers, but you may be unintentionally misleading your readers.
This conversation goes much, much deeper, but I’ll part with this…
2 JOHN 1:7 “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
Most have NO CLUE what is meant by “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” (even though it’s utterly straight forward), and as a result many people today, who share content on the world wide web, unwittingly (and sincerely) “deceive” their followers without meaning to deceive them. The word REPENT means “to feel such regret for sins or crimes as produces amendment of life,” and Yoga (when properly practiced) helps us develop an attentive mind so that we may identify and admit what we are doing incorrectly, remain steadily focused on “Right change” (amendment/atonement), and NOT SIN. HEBREWS 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Peace and blessing to you and anyone who may read this…