Why Christians Practice Yoga

Nov 29, 2021

Why do some Christians believe they are participating in a Hindu religious practice when doing yoga? If you are a Christian who practices yoga, in any form, you have most likely been reprimanded by one person or another, because it is “not of God” or “New Age.” Does this sound familiar? The question stands, why is there a stigma around Christian Yoga?

Before we discuss Christian Yoga, it is important to know what “yoga” we are referring to. There are four different types of yoga: Bhakti (Devotion) Yoga, Jnana (Knowledge) Yoga, Karma (Action) Yoga, and Raja (Meditative Union) Yoga. Among these four types of yoga, there are eight more branches. One limb, out of eight, is Asana (Posture), which is the yoga that we all know today. Asana is the yoga practiced in gyms all over the world. Today, hundreds of thousands of people practice yoga as a form of exercise. You can participate in yoga classes anywhere, with new inventions being made up all the time, one popular one at the moment is hot yoga.

Now, why do people associate yoga with Hindu practices? Yoga flourished in the Hindu culture, but it did not originate there as some think. Sadhguru states:

“Yoga is Hindu just the way gravity is Christian. Just because the law of gravity was propounded by Isaac Newton, who lived in a Christian culture, does it make gravity Christian? Yoga is a technology. Anybody who is willing to make use of it can make use of it. Why the yogic sciences have gotten labeled as Hindu by a few ignorant people is because this science and technology grew and prospered in this culture, so naturally, it has gotten associated with the Hindu way of life.”

Yoga originally was just a handful of postures used to prepare the body for meditation. As the years went on, more and more postures were added, some by Americans, until there were too many to count. So, it is natural for people to associate yoga with Hindu culture, because it was utilized there, but that does not make it Hindu.

Using postures to harness the breath and reflect in prayer, is when stripped down, meditation in its simplest form. If we can learn to utilize the postures that are found in yoga, combining them with prayer, we are in fact, just meditating. As Christians, we forget that meditation is scattered throughout the Bible. For example, when Isaac met Rebecca, he was on his way to meditate. When Jesus would go off alone in the desert, he meditated, and would often send his disciples to do the same. When we take a step back and see Christian Yoga for what it is – meditation- there is nothing more Christian about it.

Our world is loud, it’s busy, and sometimes we just need a quiet place. Using breath and movement to calm our mind, body, mind, and spirit is not “new age,” it is not “not of God.” We are all disciples, going to share God’s Word, and just like the original twelve, He sends us away to meditate, to pray, so we can glorify His Word.

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