To Yoga...or NOT to Yoga...?

Thank you Sean for your insights. I had just assumed it was having an ungodly effect on him because it did on me.

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@Roysmom, after spending several months researching the area of yoga I have come to the conclusion that it is hard to separate the spiritual aspects of yoga from the physical aspects of yoga. When yoga was first practiced, it never arose out of a need for physical fitness but out of a spiritual pursuit to unite with universal consciousness, an unbiblical eastern philosophy. The current form of yoga retains all of the postures used in worship of Shiva ( the God who wears a serpent around the neck), the yogic knowledge came through a meditation trance, the postures are forms of different gods, the advanced breathing techniques are designed to alter states of consciousness, they are considered teachings of hindu gods according to Hindu scripture, christian holy yoga too uses the same postures and gestures as traditional hatha yoga though they have been renamed, the yoga teachers often follow yoga for spiritual purposes and there is symbolic language of religious significance represented in the hand gestures. Some of these gestures mean things like - I submit myself to receive teaching of Buddha / another god, I devote myself to human salvation, I submit myself to wheel of dharma, I identify myself with mystic fire that cleanses impurities etc. I have quickly summarized just a few of the reasons I see conflict of yoga with Christianity but they are in more detail in my earlier posts on this thread. Please see attached link written by Nithin Kumar, a Hindu Indian well versed in Vedic knowledge who translates Hindu Sanskrit texts to English, for more understanding on the hand gestures that accompany yoga. The gestures are non-verbal communication to the deities considered more powerful than the spoken word. The omniscient God sees the motives of our heart but we cant expect false gods to be so respectful of our motives if our hand gestures speak something else to them. Coming out of Hinduism, I have personally witnessed the supernatural connection between yoga and Hinduism. I have even visited the Mysore palace in India where the father of modern yoga taught and have seen the teachings of yoga and its spiritual connection.

As a sister in Christ, out of great concern for the faith of true believers in Christ I am sharing this information so that a decision to pursue yoga is made only after much prayer and study of the source of yogic teaching. Many people who initially start yoga for physical purposes later start following it for spiritual purposes according to some research publications. I think that would be all the more possible without strong faith in Christ or with a pluralistic mindset.

Attached is also another thread where I shared some information on yoga. I have put it here so that all the information is in one place.

I hope this information helps. I think Pilates may be a good non-spiritual alternative to yoga. Praying God’s blessings and guidance for you.

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Has anyone heard of PraiseMoves? I do this here in New Zealand.

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Yes, I have heard of it. It’s by Laurette Willis with postures based on the Hebrew alphabet. That looks like another possible alternative.

Thank you so much for your insightful response. You have validated the Holy Spirit’s conviction on my heart and mind.

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@Roysmom, I praise God! Thank you for letting me know.

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Thank you for your informative post. I too view Yoga as spiritually dangerous because it is a spiritual focus that goes against God’s Word and plan for us and can begin in a physical form, but in the end thereof, affect the spiritual.

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After I read this topic here about yoga I stopped doing it and started to research about pilates and now I do pilates and no more yoga. It helps when you join this kind of group I thank God for this!
:heart::heart::heart:

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Thank you everyone for sharing. Particular thanks @Lakshmismehta. You have put in so much research to bring such a concise explanation and made it so clear. I appreciate your help.

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@myshirtlooksbetteronmysister, Welcome to the community! Glad to hear it was helpful. May the Lord bless your time here on Connect!

My Christian sister is a Master Yoga Fit Instructor. She teaches strength, flexibility, etc, as exercise. Other forms give a sense of ‘godliness’ but are just man’s attempts to get inner peace through breathing. Sweating out the “bad.” Then it becomes a hallow religiosity.

To me it’s like Jesus speaking to the young rich man who was a devote Jewish man following all the commandments of God asking Him, What do I need to do to go to Heaven? Jesus told him to give away everything he had and come and follow Him. He went away sad since he was very rich. God is a jealous God. He knows He is the only one who can regenerate our lives. Give us peace. Joy. Fulfillment. Anything else is false. Like anything else we spend our time, talent, and resources on. (Mark 10, I think.)

Yoga is a religious practice that tries to help people achieve renewal. God tells us that our salvation is not possible until we realize we are a sin mess. Trusting in Jesus gives us cleansing, new strength, and life. “For by grace we have been saved through faith, not of ourselves, it is a gift of God, not of good works lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 3. — Just be careful. Find fitness dominant classes. There are many people seeking to make their spirits alive, not possible without His Blood.

Good topic. Everyone here has great points. My friends see it both ways. I have one friend that doesn’t agree with traditional yoga and found a class where all the poses were symbolic of HEBREW letters unto Yahweh, and not to any polytheist entity from Hinduism or related to Buddhism. She got the benefit from the physical side and a spiritual connection to our Father. I thought that was really neat. Maybe you can find one. Blessings

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In essence then, it seems there is a real danger in yoga, but not necessarily. It depends on the motives, and context (i.e. at home, in private, intentionally not intended to connect with anything outside of Jesus Christ).

So then let me repackage yoga slightly to mean the following:
Breathing exercises to help me relax, and to focus on something benign such as breathing (0-5min or whatever) to refocus.
Once in a restful state, think on anything you want (assuming you are a Christian this would be in line with Scripture).
Good or bad?
I’m going with good.
In this state of being relaxed and still, thinking on a scripture, such as ‘By His stripes we are healed’, envisioning the scripture as a reality, to my mind achieves/assists the objective of being renewed.
To mull over the scripture ‘By His stripes I am healed’ would then serve to reinforce this fundamental truth (also called mindfulness?).
Repeating this verse, mulling over, pondering, could then be considered a mantra (for a lack of a Christian phrase).
At this point, to my knowledge I’m still in line with scripture.
Then, if science indicates that to listen to Bach puts me in the Theta brain state, which is basically the state of being hypnotised, then self-indoctrination (renewal of the mind) becomes hopefully infinitely easier (Rom 12).
If so, then I am all for it, as prophets of old called for a minstrel (Elisha no less).

Is it possible as the saying goes, that the devil can only counterfeit/twist, that there exists a positive, or an acceptable way of renewing your mind, but since it’s highjacked by the devil, we shy away from it to our own detriment?

As a parting thought:
If God designed the body and all the positions it can contort into, would He have designed the body to connect with Buddha (aka all that is not God) at the exclusion of Himself; because surely He would have been mindful of that?
It seems rather, what is natural to the body has been perverted.

Dear Arno,
Taking Yoga for what is defined, I am thinking that what you have modified becomes something else. Not Yoga.
Calling it Yoka may help distinguish it and take on a new meaning and prevent misleading young and innocent.
What they teach in school is not your type of Yoka. It is Yoga…thereby deceiving naive minds to accept this even in Christian schools leading them on to New Age type variations of beliefs.

Thinking aloud about being aware of long-lasting impact and implications of words/names/phrases being misused in this current world-trend.

Hi La Tricia,
Using the moves of Yoga is fine as you indicate with the mind of Christ. Would it not be clear to all if you were to call it something else. Give it another name because Yoga by definition already means something Hindu. It definitely leads to higher and higher levels which you do not believe in so differentiate your methods from Yoga.
This is also to ensure that the innocent are not misled. Woe be us if we were to do that.

Some in the forum have mentioned different names to the exercises that they follow taking a page (or two!) out of Yoga.
Just my two-cents.

@philipimmaraj ‘Yoka’, I like it! Think I’ll start (yet another) new movement.

Thanks for your thoughts, and I agree, misrepresenting words/names/phrases are probably at the core of many of our ills today.

‘for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.’ Luk 16:8

I’m trying to glean what is good from Yoga using scripture as my guide, hence my sanitised version which you aptly christened ‘Yoka’.

I think Yoga as exercise is as innocuous as aerobics. However, since it’s connected at the hip with Hinduism, Buddhism etc. there is probably a natural flow/draw towards the spiritual, as do bad company lead to bad behaviour (which is probably far worse than the spiritual aspect of Yoga).

I.e. if you are connected to the Vine, you’ll be able to discern when company/Yoga corrupts and that’s when you’ll have to make a decision for righteousness.
If you are not connected to the Vine, then we’re moving into do’s and don’ts, at which point this conversation probably becomes anecdotal.