The Oxymoron of Christian-based Yoga
by Gil Rugh
Yoga was introduced in the United States in the early 1800s. It was initially studied in the universities as part of Eastern Philosophy, but by the 1930s it was hailed for its health benefits. By the 1960s, a flood of Indian teachers were teaching Yoga.
An article in the local paper about a “Christian-based Yoga Ministry” claims that Yoga is not a religion and that it does not contradict Christianity. The woman interviewed in the article went on to say:
The word yoga means to ‘yoke’ or to join the mind, body, and spirit. It’s a way to bring oneself closer to God by listening in the silence.
This alone states that Yoga is a spiritual practice, completely contrary to biblical Christianity. We don’t come closer to God by listening in the silence. This is believed to be the path to spiritual growth and enlightenment in Eastern religions.
The Bible is clear about how God speaks to us. He speaks to us in His Word. He doesn’t speak when you clear your mind, meditate, and open yourself, thereby joining the mind, body and spirit. That’s Eastern Mysticism.
The article also quotes Doireann Fristoe, author of “Is it Okay for Christians to Do Yoga?”
To say that Christians can’t take a practice that was intended for something else and use it to worship God is to ignore not only history, but the transformational power of Christ.”
We can’t sanctify anything by dusting it off and sprinkling a few verses on it. Yoga postures are offerings to Hindu gods and Yoga breathing exercises are efforts to employ “life energy.” We can’t take this pagan worship and change it into a Christian version of worship.
According to the article, the founder of the “Christian-based Yoga Ministry” claims that her beliefs were put to the ultimate test.
“I lost my mom, one of my best friends and my kids’ grandpa. They all died within one month of each other.”
Yoga classes offered her refuge and invited her into a spiritual side not connected to Christianity.
“At that time I was done with God,” she recalled. “I was open to anything, but I was done with God.”
The classes she took had a Hindu focus, and for a time, she considered converting. She traveled to Colorado, where she sat in a Hindu temple preparing to proclaim a new religion. While others around her were filled with peace, she described herself as stone -- unfeeling, untouched.
“Then it hit me,” she said. “I thought, ‘why can’t we do this for Jesus.’ And the tears starting pouring down my face.
“I like to say Jesus found me in a Hindu temple,” she said.
That’s absurd. She’s sitting in a Hindu temple, contemplating converting to Hinduism and suddenly it dawns on her that she can just transfer this practice over and do the same thing, only do it for Jesus.
Yoga is blatantly anti-Christian. It teaches you to focus on yourself instead of the one true God. It encourages you to seek the answers to life’s difficult questions within your own consciousness instead of in the Word of God. On top of that, it also leaves one open to deception from Satan.
This business woman describes her Yoga studio as 100% Jesus and 100% Yoga.
“We are inviting Jesus into the process,” she said. “Yoga is such a spiritual, as well as a physical, practice.” She also believes that Yoga not only makes people physically healthier, but it also opens their minds and souls to the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Red lights should be going off! The goal of Yoga is to unite one’s temporary self with the Hindu concept of God. This god is not a literal being, but an impersonal spiritual substance that is one with nature and the cosmos. Because everything is god, Yoga makes no distinction between man and God. If you are into Yoga, you are into paganism. It doesn’t matter who is conducting the class, or where it meets, it is not Christian.
We can’t forget what happened to Israel. They adopted the practices of Baal, and they thought they could wed those practices with their worship of God. They thought they found a better way.
Today we have those that want to wed Yoga and Christianity.
The business woman also said:
“That element of spirituality comes up when you are forced to be quiet, and you have that relaxation. It is the scariest part—what happens in the silence and solitude.”
I would agree. It’s a scary thing to open yourself up to whoever wants to speak. Do you know who would love to fill that silence? The devil. You think the devil can’t bring peace? He can. He brought turmoil and sickness to Job’s life, why can’t he bring relaxation?
Paul warned the Corinthians about this danger when he told them to be careful about these matters associated with false worship. They could draw them into fellowshipping with demons (see 1 Cor. 10:20)
This is a serious matter. If you’re into the practice of Yoga, get out. We don’t need to open our minds to hear God speak. We need to go to God’s Word. That’s where we find peace.