Hi, good question! I actually stopped doing yoga myself due to the worship music of the Hindu Gods that’s involved with the classes. Once you have the knowledge of the music they use, regardless of what heart you do it with, it’s still wrong I believe, as you are participating in the actual actions. It’s similar to demonic worship and honestly that is what the devil uses to blind man. He uses the ignorance of people. Now at the facility I work in, they have yoga classes but the teacher uses secular English music or just regular instrumentals. I feel like that was an answer to prayer. She never refers to positions in their original terms of Sanskrit but rather explains what each position does and it’s meaning. Since I’ve not gotten a meaning of worship to any Hindu God, I’m good
Thank you very much @Lakshmismehta. I knew the spiritual link and danger Yoga is but now I have tools to answer. I will quote you. God bless.
1Cor10:29, other person’s conscience, not yours. Is the “other person’s conscience” referring to believer or non-believer?
My family sometimes has food that has been sacrificed to idols.
@neoeason92 Either believer or unbeliever, but Paul seems to be referring to an unbeliever who specifically points out that it has been sacrificed to an idol - as if that is the reason they are eating it. So this is a person who is actively involved in idol worship and eats the food because they believe it is somehow giving veneration to that idol. At least that is my takeaway.
1 Cor 10:27-29 - If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours.
Several years ago when we first moved to Georgia I actually found a Yoga studio that practiced “Biblical Yoga.” The instructor would pray scripture over us as we were stretching & she closed the class with prayer. The studio is closed now & I’ve never seen another one like it. Too bad…
@simeon.baetz, thank you. Glad you found it helpful. You are welcome to share the information.
@salee, thank you for your comments. Yoga is certainly related and preparatory for mindfulness with the goal of transcending body and mind. The postures are considered a meditation on the body and breathing exercises are a meditation on the breath. I haven’t done enough reading about mindfulness but it has both a psychological and/or religious angle. So we do need to be careful about how it is practiced in schools. I hope the practice in NY schools is the secular version of it. The religious version would focus on complete stillness or unifocal meditation that allows transcending the body and mind like yoga. From a Christian point of view, we are called not to transcend our mind but to train our mind in the Word of God. So anytime mindfulness goes beyond slowing down, I would be concerned.
I think the major factor(s) in utilizing yoga or even some of the concepts such as mindfulness and breathing relies heavily on intention, as has been pointed out earlier.
Ironically, I incorporate mindfulness, breathing techniques and yoga moves more now as a believer than I did as a non-believing pagan - my philosophy towards it is more like, “eat the meat throw away the bones.” The in-body chakras from what I’ve always understood no matter what ‘spiritual’ label was placed on them, corresponds to nerve ganglia or nerve clusters in the body both great and small. How scientific that is, I’m not sure. However, I wouldn’t be surprised the ‘spiritual information’ that was received and passed down about chakras are based on (at least in part) a mixture of subjective experience and otherworldly intervention. For instance, I feel the top of my head tingling and I interpret it as something spiritual when in fact it’s my central nervous system responding to a physical stimulus; and the enemy somehow capitalizes off of my ignorance and takes me even further down the rabbit hole further away from truth (this is actually how I see may former life as a pagan, by the way).
Now as a believer, rather than imagining chakras along with associated colors and such in order to focus my mind on healing and wellness or to calm myself and cultivate or participate in the peace that only comes from Christ, I actually meditate on or visualize healthy systems, or how I would feel as a healthy individual, or all of the things I would be able to do due to being healthy. I am far from opposed to using the power of the mind in the manner that God calls us to (taking every thought captive, meditating on the word of God, setting our minds on all things beautiful and good).
This has been a fascinating discussion to follow, and I find it interesting and informative to hear how individual backgrounds and experiences weigh in on the development of one’s Biblical worldview. I am older than most of you and have memories that many of you have studied but maybe not experienced first hand. I know that the past impacts my initial response tendencies, but I also have learned a lot from younger people, including my own grandchildren, by tethering those first thought tendencies.
When I first stepped on my college campus I was greeted by an announcement of a new emphatic push for every one to experience a Liberal Arts base line education. It was not an option. The old “English” of high school with its focus on reading and writing yielded to literature informed by philosophy. For me, it was torture. I loved math, but it didn’t take long for math morph into nonsense (my view) when one day when the professor, who was head of the department, announced “zero is not zero”.
I won’t dwell on the details of that adventure except to say that today I view postmodernism in the same light as the Tower of Babel. That is, I reject the man made system that has rejects God and elevates man.
Now, what does all that have to do with yoga? For me the subject creates no stress. I have friends who have found yoga exercises to be very helpful in dealing with pain and aiding in flexibility. I am not worried that they will stray from Jesus. There is no power on earth greater than Jesus. Sinners continue to sin and we are called to meet them where they are, which means we will be exposed to some things we would prefer to avoid. Are we safe reaching out to those who are lost in such a place? Romans states that “…I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Who knows if the next yoga class, full of sinners, has someone who the Spirit has prepared to hear the gospel? Who will go if not you or me? Just be prepared and trust Jesus.
I’m in the game way late mostly because I’m personally not interested in yoga nor is my wife. But I wanted to read what was said about it since we know people that do yoga. Lakshmi, would I love to take you around and give seminars on it. I could not believe how you had such a wonderful blend of scholarliness yet not having a judgemental spirit. The way you wrote was a witness to me of the heart of Jesus.
My wife is not in Connect so I had her read your posts as she is more familiar with people in yoga. She was so impressed by your posts. It was very educational to her.
Finally Lakshmi, I thought your posts took a lot of guts. In the face of, “it’s OK as it is what you make of it”, you maintained your conviction and stuck to it. Again, I was amazed at how well you got your point across without condemnation. Great job sister!
@Tim_Ramey, thank you immensely for your kind words which bring much encouragement to me. I am glad to hear the feedback that the posts didn’t come across as judgemental. It is something I worried about. Having encountered certain ungodly spiritual manifestations while growing up in India, I am extremely concerned about practices that are intertwined with a monistic theology that is at odds with Christian theology and that arose out of devotees who worshipped the Hindu god, Shiva. God knows the intentions of our heart but our good intentions dont stop others from hurting us in our life. We have to be discerning so that we are not hurt. I appreciate this forum where we can talk about these things. Great way to reassess our understanding and sharpen it ! Thanks again brother Tim!
@Lakshmismehta, I did not begin to convey the awe and gratitude that I sincerely wished to share with you regarding your post. What piqued my thoughts by what you said was IJohn 4:1 where we are to test the spirits. In our discerning, it often takes that test and I’m also puzzled what is involved with testing. What is meant by that? But I felt that you answered the issue by talking about discernment which was followed up by research and you lined those up to see how they compared with Scripture.
You are another example of why we need the body of Christ. I didn’t have a clue about yoga until you enlightened me. Thanks ever so much.
Thanks for your time and response @Lakshmismehta!
This is a bigger issue than I first even thought. I am more surprised though at the silence of the Church. Even what may be termed ‘secular’ mindfulness, it seems may only be a deception in language, in most cases. If not us, then who? Christian prayer banned so long ago.
Once again, Lakshmi, I thank you, your reminder to be informed and alert rings true.
This is a critical question for engaging Millennials. I remember connecting with a confessing Christian in Philosophy class @ Montana State who was led astray by yoga practices. While he listened to the gospel for a time, it was yoga which won his heart by thorough integration into his emotional-physical axis of life.
So based on one soul being lost during my limited evangelistic experience, I assume hundreds if not thousands have likewise lost their souls to the spiritual deception inherant within yoga practices.
I’ll use an analogy: In my nursing practice, we do not tolerate practices that have evidence-based links to higher mortality rates. We adapt our practices to increase patient survival. Therefore, where is the Christian response to yoga? If we believe it to be deceptive, why must people sell their souls to gain the legitimate benefit yoga offers for their bodies?
There is a Hebrew word which has gained my attention: Qavah. It means “to wait patiently, place hope in, to be bound to a coming anticipation” and it derives from the idea of cords binding together to form a stronger rope, i.e. one strong enough to hold fast our “anchor of hope” (Hebrews).
What prevents Christian physical therapists from promoting innovative and beneficial stretches under an old biblical concept like “qavah”? In this way, we could expound on the idea of our whole body waiting for the Incarnate, resurrected and bodily return of the Lord at which point all our ailments and aches will be dissolved as whole-soul doxology before his presence restores us into his likeness! What if we taught biblical hope through a new system of stretching? One based on a living hope that will never be severed no matter the affliction; for nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus!
If anyone is interested in working with me to promote the concept of “Qavah” as the biblical alternative to pantheistic meditation practices, then please connect with me here!
@SabaSojourn how was his soul lost and how did you come to the conclusion that his soul was lost? Is my soul lost for incorporating yoga moves into my post-workout routine? And are that souls of other believers also lost due to doing yoga moves?
I apologize for my message coming across as condemning you. That’s not my intention at all. Let me give an analogy for explaination: While someone can have a drink of alcohol, there is a world of difference between a cup of wine and an alcoholic binge.
This particular friend of mine took the philosophical worldview from which yoga originated at wholesale. He adopted its tendencies of pluristic thought, resulting in his compromise of Christian ethics throughout his life while still maintaining his Christian confession. This was explicitly the result of his meditative practices, evident by our conversations where he explained how many of his decisions are made through “aligning his soul with inner lights” without reference to the work and will of the Holy Spirit. I’m not saying stretching is bad, I’m saying that it’s so good that Christians should not have to worry about compromising their faith to have the good physical health benefits which yoga-stretching confers. I see no barrier to developing stretch practices that are intentionally oriented towards hope in the Incarnate Son of God who will come again to resurrect to glory our lowly bodies which now ache and ail us (and of which we should be caring for through healthy exercise ).
Hope that helps. He was obviously and explicitly rejecting Christ’s commands because of the persuasive influence from New Age mystic meditation.
Thank you for clarifying @SabaSojourn.
I make a distinction between a physical act in and of itself and the intentions, philosophical ideas, and various religious uses that can be tied to a physical act. For example, as a pagan, it was a regular practice for me to prostrate myself or to place my forehead on the ground in reverence to a deity that was not the God of the bible. However, I can do the same thing in reverence to the God of the bible. The same physical act, only the context is different because my intentions and worldview are different.
I don’t think the physical acts in and of themselves have to be reinvented, especially when physically they prove effective for many people. However all of the physical acts can be the same yet the worldview of the individuals who implement those physical acts can differ greatly. Yet, as mentioned by more than one person in this discussion, if someone used to practice yoga with the intentions of idol worship before they came to Christ, then incorporating yoga into their workout could possibly be a stumbling block for them. I wouldn’t say, “Hey, just get over it,” because there’s far more baggage tied to the practice of yoga. In the case of your friend, I pray that he has a Prodigal Son moment and loses all of the new age, woo terminology and gets rooted in the Lord and gives the Lord what He is deserving of and due.
That brings me to another point that I just thought of. While, I don’t think that the physical acts of yoga are an issue, I think that all too often, professing Christians will somehow fall into the hype of New Ageism/Universalism and start adopting many of the philosophies and beliefs. Maybe it can be an attempt to make Christianity more palatable, maybe some are seeking to separate themselves from the image of what people believe Christians are like, maybe they feel tired of being ‘separate’ and don’t see the harm in mixing everything in - I really don’t know. But, I do know that there is something that causes professing believers to go this way for some reason.
This is exactly what I do, I love to run and ride my bike, I also lift weights, I do yoga for the benefit of streching and the breathing but when I do this I listen to gospel music deep down in my heart I am praising my Lord Jesus Christ. I think when you believe in what the bible says, have faith and obedience to God. Whatever happens nothing can sway you to believe other than what the bible is saying. By the grace of God I am now like this.
I’m glad to hear your thought on this. My husband does yoga and one instructor does use bells and says something at the end of her session that convicted my heart. This happened to be at our local YMCA. Which shouldn’t allow this I would think. I did have an opportunity to speak with a representative of the Y but it’s my understanding that this teacher has not stopped her ‘practice’. My husband is not a believer and I’m abhor the influence this has on him. On a positive note he also attends church with me every Sunday where the gospel is always preached.
@Roysmom Praying that Jesus would open your husband’s eyes to His love Have you ever asked him what he thinks about the yoga? It may not be having as much of an influence on him as you think - or it might be. I don’t think it affects everyone the same way because we all have different backgrounds and experiences. It depends on how he is viewing it - I think a secular person could go to a yoga session with some bells and eastern music without being influenced spiritually much if they were, for example, already a committed materialist. Whereas a spiritual seeker might be more heavily influenced by the same experience.