Questions Christians Should Ask Before Doing Yoga

6 Questions Christians Should Ask Before Doing Yoga

“Thanks to ingenious marketing, yoga is no longer weird, foreign, and seemingly cult-like here in the West…the teachings of yoga will be expressed through semantics that can easily be absorbed by our secular filter...America has chosen to dilute, reinterpret, and turn a blind eye to what yoga actually is...”  ~ Jill Lawson, certified Yoga instructor (source)

Questions Every Serious Christian Should Ask Before Doing Yoga

If you are considering yoga or already doing yoga, I pray that you will read through these questions and Scriptures and ask God for wisdom. If you finish and still feel comfortable doing yoga, that’s your choice. I just pray you will not get involved with yoga until you have full information and understanding. Thanks!

1. Why is this particular form of exercise your choice? Do you believe it is the only way you can stay fit?

Exercise in and of itself is not pagan. However, yoga bears a pagan name, has a pagan origin, and each position mimics Hindu rituals to make a person one with a false god. Even if you can do it without including the pagan chants, wouldn’t it be better for a Christian to choose an exercise program with non-pagan origins?

1 Corinthians 10:23:  "I have the right to do anything," you say--but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"--but not everything is constructive.

2. Have you carefully studied the meaning, methods, and philosophy behind yoga so you are able to discern any pagan influences in your yoga program?

It's important to examine the arguments against yoga so you get both sides of the issue.

Separating ourselves from pagan, occult, and ungodly influences is an important part of our walk with the Lord.

6 Questions Christians Should Ask Before Doing Yoga

2 Corinthians 6:14-18:  Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

3. Are you prepared to clarify the type of yoga you do (i.e. non-pagan yoga) every time you tell someone you do yoga?

The term yoga is used to describe all forms of yoga, the most religious to the least religious. You could easily give someone the wrong impression if you don't explain the type of yoga you are doing. It's important for a Christian to represent Christ in all that we do.

1 Corinthians 10:31: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

4. If what you’re doing is just exercise and not related to any of the meditative or religious practices, why do you call it yoga?

We don’t need to explain that we do Christian or non-religious calisthenics, hiking, or skiing but we do need to explain we do Christian or non-religious yoga. This is because it involves meditative techniques and methods of clearing the mind, which means it’s not “just exercise.”

Do you believe that these techniques are superior to normal prayer and Scripture meditation? Why?

1 Corinthians 10:14-22: Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.

18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

6 Questions Christians Should Ask Before Doing Yoga
5. Will weaker Christians or non-Christians get involved in the pagan forms of yoga due to your witness (i.e. your involvement)?

Suppose it’s possible for a Christian to do yoga without compromising their faith by carefully omitting the Hindu emphasis. Might it still damage your witness?

Suppose another weaker Christian starts yoga based on your example, but they’re not as careful about avoiding the Hindu practices. Suppose a non-Christian friend follows your example and also gets involved in Hinduism and is no longer interested in pursuing Christianity.

When yoga is taught in schools, it's not likely that a child will be mature enough to understand and avoid pagan aspects.

Many "secular" yoga classes incorporate religious words and practices unknowingly or by design. One example is the use of the word Namaste. It may be presented as nothing more than an Indian greeting, but it represents the idea that we are all part of the "divine consciousness." When you say it to another person, you are saying "the divine nature in me bows to the divine nature in you." For more specifics, see this Hindu site: Namaste.
 
The following excerpt from 1 Corinthians 8 talks about doing things associated with pagan rituals. Even if you believe yoga is a completely non-religious form of exercise, the principle in this passage would apply. The whole chapter is linked, and I encourage you to read it.

1 Corinthians 8: For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

6. Could the attraction and popularity of yoga in our country be a satanic attempt to blind unbelievers to the truth and compromise weak believers? Do you want to participate in that venture even if it doesn't harm you personally?

2 Corinthians 4:4: The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Below is another passage that talks about approving something that might cause your brother to fall into sin:
Romans 14:21-22: It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.

Another article sharing the cautions of Christians teachers and writers regarding yoga:
 Piper, Mohler, and MacArthur, on Yoga.

7 comments:

  1. Yoga is just an exercise to relax the muscles. Christmas trees are from Pagan origin as well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yoga is just an exercise to strengthen the muscles and relax breathing. Christmas trees are from pagan origins too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here is the dictionary definition of "Yoga":
      yo·ga
      /ˈyōɡə/
      noun
      a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.

      If you think Christmas trees have pagan origins and you think yoga doesn't, then you are uninformed.

      Whatever pagan origins may have been attached to Christmas trees (and I have only found hearsay claiming such origins), they are no longer part of the definition of either "Christmas" or "tree." However, yoga originated in Hinduism and has always been associated with Hinduism.

      Delete
  3. I practice hot yoga. It strengthens, stretches, relaxes, aids in digestion, etc. and God is with me every session. At first I was concerned, but it is God who is with me. He has not abandoned me in my free will choice of hot yoga. I have been to other yoga classes that are not for me but to say all yoga has to be paganistic... I believe is incorrect.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Gail. I agree that if there is anything that can, even if slightly, negatively impact my testimony I will avoid it. My only concern is, the part about the part of demon possession because of yoga? Are you referring to Christians? If so, there is something wrong here because Christians can't be possessed by demons. Surely the evil one can harm us if we open doors but possession or obsession is not an option. Would love to hear your comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hadi Youssef,

      That's a valid question.
      I've actually struggled with whether to include that testimony.

      While I don't think Scripture is perfectly clear about demon-possession, I've always been taught that a Christian can be oppressed by Satan but not possessed.

      The only Scripture I'm aware of that sheds some light on it is 2 Timothy 2:25-26 that talks of people who are taken captive to do the devil's will, and from what I read in commentaries this could be addressing Christians who've gotten caught up in error.

      But what does it mean to be taken captive?

      I felt this woman's testimony might be especially helpful since she felt these attacks even though she had "cleaned up" and "Christianized" her practice of yoga, but maybe it's best for me to omit it from the post due to the questions it raises.

      Several folks besides you have raised that question.
      I've decided to remove the testimony. Thanks.

      Delete

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