Yoga and Christianity
Yoga and Christianity can they co-exist? I am a firm believer that when we know better we are empowered to do better. Earlier today, I posted on my personal Facebook profile that I was looking for recommendations for yoga instructors in Destin. I immediately received a couple of inbox messages in regards to the individual personal thoughts on Yoga not being acceptable for Christians or those professing to follow Christ.
In one of my responses I briefly stated “I have read about the origins and practices of yoga. In all things I have learned to seek guidance, wisdom, knowledge and revelation from the Holy Spirit. For me making the decision to practice yoga goes back to the heart and the intention for which which something is done! I have taken Yoga in the past and it has significantly improved my balance, flexibility and strengthened my core muscles. Taking yoga has in no way impeded on my beliefs and values as a believer or follower of Christ.”
Also, much can be said about overeating (gluttony), lying, laziness, fornicating, lasciviousness, and idolatry. Which isn’t acceptable for followers of Christ or those who profess to follow after Him?
So here’s some truth about Yoga.
“Yoga is a spiritual discipline much like fasting, meditation, and prayer that cannot be owned by one specific religion. While yoga predates Hinduism, Hindus were the first to give yoga a written structure.
Yoga postures were originally named in Sanskrit. There are other concepts and traditions that may be part of some yoga practices such as chanting “OM” or using chakra theory to explain the interplay of the physical and energetic dynamic in the human body.”
Yoga is all inclusive. It encompasses whatever one’s religion is or not one at all. It can just be used as an awesome cross-training tool! Western and Eastern yoga both differ on spiritual paths. There are no requirements, no competition encouraged or judgments.
Yoga is not a religion but is used as a spiritual tool.
The yoga breath work and poses scientifically benefit every body type, size or age physically. All students are free to be who they are with a style of yoga and pace for everybody to grow and feel at home.
Religious traditions and spiritual teachings are part of the Meditation portion of yoga. Classic yoga and eastern styles have roots in Hinduism but they were not the first to practice this.
Some newer western styles of yoga have mixed in new age spiritual teachings which at oftentimes can be confusing. There is never a requirement to do all the poses or to participate in religious/spiritual practices that conflict with one’s personal faith and beliefs.
I read an article a few years ago that explains the practice and it’s pros and cons. If i stumble across it again I will share it with you as a blog update. In traditional yoga, postures are offered to the 330 million Hindu gods. It is said that if one does these postures and you do the breathing technique and the meditation, then you will be accepted by a god, little “G.”
Pranayama breathing is done in the traditional Hindu practice. Prana is the Hindu word for life force, the same concept as the word chi in some martial arts. Yoga breathing attempts to manipulate that life energy. So this is where it gets tricky. It has also been said that yoga guides people into astral travel, which is where people actually leave their bodies.
I have never experienced this. So again with all things wisdom is encouraged. I haven’t done yoga in quite some time but when I did my focus was always on God and not on a Hindu practice, ritual or based upon new age mysticism.
Holy Yoga and praise moves have been created for Christians who wants to enjoy and reap the benefits of yoga. Both of these have attached scriptures to the various poses and postures. Again for me it goes back to the heart and intent. I know who and whose I am and I continue to seek God for spiritual discernment in all things.
I’m no expert but I just believe that the Holy Spirit will lead us into truth and will give us wisdom if we ask. I also believe that their is much to gain from the standpoint of physical fitness.
Our intention for using yoga at the 2018 5R Encounter is bring gentle movement that embraces the essential elements of yoga: breath work, and physical postures. This is a wonderful way to to get people moving who has been sedentary for quite sometime. Our goal is to provide an outlet where Christ is the center and the focus of our intention along with worship.
I don’t OM or chant but I will use the time to meditate and quiet my mind so I can hear God. So Yes, as a Christian you can safely engage in and practice Yoga without compromising your faith or walk with God.
Love, Light and Blessings,
To find out more about the 2018 5R Encounter visit www.5rencounter.info.