Yoga

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embellishment

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A friend recently asked me why I don’t do Yoga. She was curious as to why I wasn’t keen to join her in going to Yoga classes because she finds Yoga exercises to be both enjoyable and beneficial. And she knows that I too, like just about anything that is is both enjoyable and beneficial.

The reason I don’t do Yoga has nothing to do with exercise. I readily acknowledge that are only so many ways that human beings can move their bodies when participating in physical fitness exercises, and physical exercise is good for you. Many non-Yoga exercises are similar to (or even the same as) Yogic poses. It is not the body movement that is of concern to me; it is the spiritual principles behind those movements that make me unwilling to participate.

I don’t do Yoga because I disagree with the spiritual principles that the physical movements are based upon. Yoga postures are postures offered to 330 million Hindu Gods whom I choose not to serve.

My God is the God of the Bible. As a born-again Christian, I name the name of Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour. My goal in life to serve Him as best I can in all that I do, and therefore, I have to make choices and decisions that include some things, and exclude others. Yoga is one of the things I choose to exclude because that is the right choice for me given my concern and disagreement with the spiritual principles that are the foundation behind the physical practices of Yoga.

Many people do Yoga just for the physical benefits. And in Christ, I am free1 to participate in Yoga for that reason. However, even though I have freedom in Christ, it would not be expedient for me to do Yoga because I stand in direct opposition to religious teachings and principles upon which the practice of Yoga is founded.

Unlike basic stretching or fitness exercises, yoga is not simply about physical benefits. Fundamentally, yoga is about getting in touch with “god.” Its purpose is to achieve the realization that each individual practicing yoga ‘is’ god. Yoga was developed to escape this so-called ‘unreal’ world of time and sense to reach moksha, the Hindu heaven—or to return ‘void’ of the Buddhist.

Yoga claims to embrace all religions, despite that fact that all religions contradict each other on the most basic facts. Hinduism has more than 300 million gods; Islam declares the Allah is the one true god; and Buddhism does not believe in any god. All of those major religions claim to honour Jesus—yet all of them unequivocally deny Jesus’ claims about himself.

It is not my intent to be dogmatic or narrow-minded when I choose to participate or not participate in various activities. When I make choices I trust the leading of the Holy Spirit that dwells within me to increase my understanding so that I make a wise choices that are in keeping with scripture and the principles of my Christian faith. And when I make a mistake, I trust the leading of God’s Holy Spirit to correct me.

Having said all of this, the bottom line for me is that I simply have zero desire to ‘do’ Yoga. I am not fretting because I don’t want to participate in some activities that my friends enjoy. Rather, I rejoice and am thankful for the enjoyment and benefits the Lord gives me when I participate in activities that fulfill the deepest desires of my heart.

The other thing is, I don’t expect others to share my perspective if they are of a different faith or persuasion. Each person is responsible for themselves and free to choose and act accordingly.

The question “Should Christians do Yoga” is a question that each born again believer is responsible for answering for themselves.

Due to conflicting teachings and opinions, the answer to that question can be difficult to formulate. For example, some churches offer Yoga classes; other churches condemn the practice.

Here is a short discussion that addresses two different Christian viewpoints on the topic. You are left to draw your own conclusions.

Because I am not comfortable with the spiritual principles behind the practice of Yoga and other disciplines such as Tai Chi, I choose to not participate in these activities. I also choose to not judge others whose choices are different than my own. In the matter of personal choices and decisions, I am only accountable for the choices and decisions I make.

If you are a born again believer who would like to learn more about the topic before making your own decision as to whether you want to participate in the practice of Yoga, here’s a book that gives and in-depth account of the history and practice of Yoga by Dave Hunt:

Yoga and the Body of Christ.

REFERENCE

1Regarding freedom in Christ…

“When the Corinthians wrote to Paul they asked, “What about these Christians who are eating meat offered to idols?” A group of them were upset about this and they wrote to the apostle, saying, “We don’t think that is right; to us that is demon worship.” But Paul wrote back and said, “Now be careful!” He said, in effect, “It would be the easiest thing in the world for me, as an apostle, simply to say, ‘Yes, you are right, don’t eat meat offered to idols,’ but I am not going to say that. What I am going to say is that here is an area where each man must be fully persuaded in his own mind. You can’t make rules for each other, and you have to honor a weaker brother’s conscience. If he is troubled by a certain action then don’t flaunt your liberty in his presence, but be careful of one another and love each other.”

Above quote taken from this article: Legalism, by Ray Stedman

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