Piper, Mohler, and Others on Yoga

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Christian Teachers Address their Concerns About Yoga


Yoga has become increasingly popular among Christians. Below I've linked several articles written by Christians about yoga. I've included a summary or excerpts from each, and I encourage you to read them in full. If you are an avid yoga supporter, I pray you will read these with an open mind. Thanks! 

Is Yoga Sinful by John Piper 

In this article, Piper talks about two approaches to Christian life: the minimalist who simply wants to make sure he's not damaging his walk with the Lord and the maximalist who wants to make sure he's improving his walk with the Lord.

Piper considers himself a maximalist. Because “yoga derives its philosophy from an Indian metaphysical belief,” he says he would find another kind of exercise.”

The Yoga Boom by Elliot Miller, Christian Research Institute

This detailed, well documented article explains that the "non-religious" yoga was developed for the specific purpose of preparing people's hearts and minds for Hindu beliefs.

"Hatha yoga is physical yoga, and it is the variety of yoga that we most commonly encounter in the West...It is often promoted as a superior method of physical development with no religious ties necessarily attached, and on this basis it is the approach to yoga that has had the greatest success in penetrating both secular culture and the evangelical church."

"Its classical textbook is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, written in the fifteenth century A.D. by Svatmarama, a little-known Indian yogi. Its first three verses declare that the ignorant masses are not yet ready for the lofty raja yoga and so hatha yoga has been developed as a “staircase” to lead them to it."

Christian Teachers Address their Concerns About Yoga

Got Questions: What is the Christian View of Yoga

“Yoga originated with a blatantly anti-Christian philosophy, and that philosophy has not changed. It teaches one to focus on oneself instead of on the one true God. It encourages its participants to seek the answers to life's difficult questions within their own consciousness instead of in the Word of God. It also leaves one open to deception from God's enemy, who searches for victims whom he can turn away from God (1 Peter 5:8).”

Should a Christian Practice Yoga by Albert Mohler

Mohler believes “the growing acceptance of yoga points to the retreat of biblical Christianity in the culture.”

He quotes Douglas R. Groothuis, a seminary professor and authority on the New Age Movement: All forms of yoga involve occult assumptions, even hatha yoga, which is often presented as a merely physical discipline.”

How Should Christians Respond to Yoga by Elliot Miller, ICR

"While an alarming number of American Christians suppose they can harmlessly achieve physical and spiritual well-being through a form of yoga divorced from its Eastern worldview, in reality attempts to Christianize Hinduism only Hinduize Christianity."

Elliot also addresses "holy yoga" or "Christian yoga" in this article:  Do Yoga Exercises Work With Christianity?


Testimony of Deliverance from a Demon of Yoga

Note: Most Christians believe a Christian cannot be demon-possessed. Scripture doesn't give us a definitive answer, but whether this woman was  actually possessed or simply oppressed (2 Timothy 2:15-16), I think we can learn from her experience.

"I practiced a 'de-mystified,' westernized version of yoga based on exercise science. I scrupulously avoided all Hindu derived religious practices such as devotional music, chanting, meditation, guided visualization in Savasana (corpse pose), Namaste (bowing to others with prayer hands), and so on. The westernized version emphasized myology and kinesiology--the study of muscles and movement--and dove-tailed nicely with my work as a massage therapist. In my classes, I approached yoga as an exercise physiologist would and was very satisfied with the results. I felt grateful to use my gifts of movement and communication and teaching and thought I was empowering people to take charge of their health, all while doing something I loved. I even regarded yoga as an extension of Jesus’ healing ministry through me." Read the rest of her testimony by clicking the link.

Please thoughtfully read through these articles before continuing your involvement with yoga. You owe it to yourself to make sure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself from harmful influences. 

If you read through these articles and have doubts about your practice of yoga, you will at least be doing yoga with a full understanding of the risks. Don't you owe yourself that foundation?





Examining Yoga from a Christian Perspective

6 Questions Every Christian Should Ask Before Doing Yoga

2 comments:

  1. Being from an Indian background, I was always very sure that yoga was not just exercise but had spiritual significance. With its growing popularity, I have found it a little hard to explain that I would never even consider practicing it, to believers who are so passionate about yoga and see no harm in it. Thanks so much for this note.God bless!

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  2. Have you looked at PraiseMoves, the Christian Alternative to Yoga? Only Christian music is played during the class and every posture (not pose) has been prayerfully considered Scripture that is part of the posture. The posture is not done without the accompanying Scripture, which is repeated with a higher dimension of praise, thank God for His Word. Though a posture may resemble a yoga pose, "yoga hands" and pryayanama breathing is not done. In PraiseMoves hands are raised in praise and worship and deep breaths are encouraged as the breath of the Almighty gives us breath.(Job 33:4) The class is not over until a 5 minute Biblically based devotional is shared with prayer to our One and only True Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

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