Yoga is EVIL

February 6, 2013 § 4 Comments

Photo via Fit Sugar

Photo via Fit Sugar

As a Christian, I’ve had the religious index finger wagged at me for practicing yoga. I was once told by a co-worker, whose fitness trainer husband worked in a room next to where yoga classes were held, that yoga is a religion. A bad religion. Of the devil- in fact, invited the devil into you.

My initial reaction was laughter. “Really?” I replied, raising my eyebrows viciously at her. “Well I’ve been doing yoga for a few years now, and be rest assured, I’m not filled with the devil.” I felt like that was all that was necessary in the moment and walked away shaking my head at her ridiculousness. But, I still thought over it. My chiropractor recommended yoga to me the first time I found out I have scoliosis. The key to keeping my spine healthy is movement and stretching, and the practice of yoga is just that. But had I really considered all that the practice of yoga really meant? Christians everywhere swear the same things that my co-worker did, and while I tried ignoring all of the ramblings I found online, I still felt like I needed to educate myself more on the practice- if nothing else but so that the next time I was confronted about it I’d be able to give an educated response.

As defined on Wikipedia, yoga consists of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines which originated in ancient India. Specifically, yoga is one of the six āstika (“orthodox”) schools of Hindu philosophy. Various traditions of yoga are found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. The varying poses of yoga relate to worship, worship in the different Indian religions. Some honor gods and goddesses, others to nature, and some are even aimed at honoring and worshiping yourself.

So does all of that imply that I, a person who has been practicing yoga for years, have been worshiping gods and goddesses through my stretches instead of the one true God that I believe in? That, my friends, is a resounding NO. And I’ll tell you why.

The above definition of yoga is true. But when I started yoga, I didn’t know any of that was true. How could I be practicing a false religion and worshiping things I didn’t believe in if I never even knew it to exist? Furthermore, isn’t worship and belief an act of the heart? Let’s look at Christianity: How many people participate in the act of worship every Sunday morning but aren’t really worshiping? Isn’t it an act of the heart and not of the bodily actions? Same is true of belief- couldn’t a non-believer say all day long he believes in God? I can say with all honesty I do not believe anything that the Hindu philosophy presents. Furthermore, all of my stretches and yoga routines never take my mind or my heart to a place of honoring the Hindu philosophy. I do yoga because I cannot find an exercise program that brings more relief to my back, brings my body more into alignment, or eases my aches and pains on a daily basis. During meditation, if I don’t fast forward through it (I do yoga at home), I meditate on God’s goodness, His blessings, His character, His teachings; I can promise you that Hinduism doesn’t even cross my mind. If the instructor asks for me to honor myself, I honor God instead. If I’m asked to make a connection with Mother Nature, I… laugh, I’ll be honest.

Yoga, just as it is with everything else in life, is what you make of it. There is nothing more relaxing to me than coming home after a stressful day at work and taking some deep, steady breaths, focusing on God and the good things in life, and stretching my body so that I don’t have to pop a pill for pain relief. I do it daily and don’t ever plan on giving it up. And bring on the next person to judge me for it- I’m actually ready with some well researched answers this time.

Want some references in regards to the health benefits of yoga? Here are just few articles that should, hopefully, inspire you to pose-it-up sometime soon. The last article is also in relation to Christians practicing yoga- a very good explanation, far better than I could have done.

http://www.yogawiz.com/    –   http://www.yogajournal.com/health/1634     –    http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/features/23243-is-it-okay-for-christians-to-do-yoga

And if you prefer not hitting up the gym or yoga studio for classes, for only $18 a month you can have any yoga videos your heart desires in any style with any teacher at any level: YogaGlo.

Christians should be discretionary in all areas of life. Yoga isn’t an exception- but for me, I’ve determined that it isn’t distracting to my faith or causes me to fall into something evil or unrighteous. You make the decision for yourself.

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§ 4 Responses to Yoga is EVIL

  • cbussard7 says:

    I must agree with this post. I have had back issues in the past, and have found that yoga is a good workout for this. I somewhat know the history of yoga, but that is not why I do it. I simply do it for the workout aspect. I do find that when I do yoga it is a good time to draw nearer to God. I don’t believe it is the origin of what we are doing that counts, but what is in our hearts. If in your heart you worship the one true God that doesn’t change because of what workout you do.

  • The title here scared me but I’m glad I read it all. Yoga I think can be a beautiful pairing with Christianity. I strayed a lot from Christianity in my time and yoga has actually been the thing to open me back up to exploring my faith deeper.
    The philosophy that is yoga actually holds no religion as it’s founding, though the names of poses often come from hindu gods because those were the stories that surrounded the people at the time. The poses are less about worship than about opening different emotions through movement and bringing awareness to this. If someone is of the Hindu tradition they will be bringing awareness to what is through their Hindu understanding. As a Christian it allows someone to bring awareness to the traits one would like to cultivate as a Christian. Bringing awareness to our earthly body through conscious movement only serves me to treat my body better, which is something God asks of us as we are his hands and feet in the world. Using yoga as a way to center oneself is beautiful and using that to create deeper connections with nature and other people can only serve to create a greater sense of compassion for all beings. God is love.

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