Christian Yoga Possible?
There has been a great deal of debate over the last few months over the issue of Christian Yoga. Can a Christian engage in the act of yoga and not hinder their Christian faith in anyway? This is a good question considering yoga at its purest forms draws and involves many eastern practices including Hinduism and Buddhism. Practices that the Christian does not hold as true to God’s Word, the Bible.
I read the articles and watched the programs and more or less wrote it off as being a big NO! Sure I knew in my heart of hearts that you could do it and potentially get around it but why take the risk. But something made me change my mind and consider the alternative or the notion that it could be done if the act of yoga was understood for what it was and not blindly taken on.
On our mission trip to Beattyville, Ky I talked to a lady down there who does quote “Christian Yoga.” She suffers from debilitating arthritis and thus needs some form of stretching that will move and stretch muscles. So severe was her condition that she was sure if she was not performing these moves she would be in bed most of the time. Now there wasn’t any magic in the moves or any other spiritual connection that made her feel better but instead just a simple understanding that the moves stretch the body and make her feel much better b/c those muscles that grow tight and tender can be exercised.
I asked her though the obvious question, “Why yoga and how do you do it w/out the wrong spiritual focus coming into play?”
- First she said that she started yoga with a non-Christian class. She said yes she knew about yoga and knew the pitfalls. She said that when they did the meditation parts she was resolved to sit and pray to God during that time. She even was upfront with her co-students that that is what she did.
- A second thing that stood out to me clearly was she understood yoga for what it was. She said she knew going in that some of the negatives of yoga such as the art of emptying yourself was bad b/c the Bible says if we empty ourselves of all things inside and do not keep ourselves full of the presence of God it opens us up to many outside spiritual things coming in. She was informed about the dangers it posed if she were not careful. That is why she took the time to know the activity she was about to engage in.
- Thirdly, in time she simply opened her own place. Once she was certified she opened her own class so that she no longer had to conform to what a non-Christian teacher taught. She was free to gear the class toward what its main focus was and then invite other sceptical Christians who needed this form of exercise for its purely physical benefits to join her.
It was certainly a interesting conversation we had and opened my eyes to the understanding that if done right one can do this and still keep strong to the faith. Certainly though I would lay out a word of caution b/c I know that this is a case that is the exception and not the rule. Many…TOO MANY, go into something like this thinking that it will be ok and its not ok b/c of the spiritual pitfalls. So be careful maybe seek out a Christian circle who does yoga but investigate to see if they do it and eliminate the eastern spiritualism’s that can cause complications.