The church John and I belong to practices the pubic reading of Scripture by going through a book of the Bible consecutively. Currently we’ve been reading 1 Corinthians. I find that, surprisingly often, the Lord deepens my understanding of a passage as I listen to my pastor read it aloud. Yesterday, in fact, the passage he read made me think about so-called Christian yoga.
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? ~~1 Corinthians 10:14-22 (ESV)
Although there are other people teaching “Christian” yoga, Holy Yoga (founded by Brooke Boon) is probably the organization that best represents the movement. Holy Yoga makes no separation between the physical and spiritual dimensions of yoga, but rather they proudly tout their practice as an avenue of worship.
As evidence of my claim, look at the following quote from their website (I provide this link only as substantiation):
Holy Yoga is an experiential worship created to deepen people’s connection to Christ. Our sole purpose is to facilitate a Christ honoring experience that offers an opportunity to believers and non-believers alike to authentically connect to God through His Word, worship, and wellness. Holy Yoga exists to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth through the modality of yoga.
Without embarrassment, then, proponents of Holy Yoga openly admit that they believe yoga enhances their worship of Christ.
But it doesn’t take much research to discover that yoga comes from Hinduism. According to the Hindu Wisdom website :
Yoga is an integral part of the Hindu religion. There is a saying: “There is no Yoga without Hinduism and no Hinduism without Yoga.” The country of origin of Yoga is undoubtedly India, where for many hundreds of years it has been a part of man’s activities directed towards higher spiritual achievements. The Yoga Philosophy is peculiar to the Hindus, and no trace of it is found in any other nation, ancient or modern. It was the fruit of the highest intellectual and spiritual development. The history of Yoga is long and ancient. The earliest Vedic texts, the Brahmanas, bear witness to the existence of ascetic practices (tapas) and the vedic Samhitas contain some references, to ascetics, namely the Munis or Kesins and the Vratyas.
Furthermore, and more to the point of my article today, yoga poses aren’t spiritually neutral. Whether a Christian practices Holy Yoga or does it “just for exercise,” she needs to understand that each of those poses was originally developed for the purpose of worshiping a corresponding Hindu deity or sacred person.
Whilst many of the yoga postures we see today are influenced by nature, inspired by trees (Vrksasana), the moon (Ardha Chandrasana), or even birds (Bakasana), there are also postures which depict the deities revered in Yogic and Hindu culture. As a way of connecting to, revering and paying respect to deities, many yoga postures represent not just what the deity looks like, but also everything they stand for. As we practise the posture, we put our focus on the energy and essence of the deity and look to embody their qualities. (Source)
This final quote brings us back to 1 Corinthians 10:14-22, doesn’t it? Christians who practice yoga certainly don’t intend to engage in the worship of Hindu gods any more than the Christians in First Century Corinth meant to participate in Greek idol worship. But the two situations mirror each other so closely that we dare not ignore Paul’s words. In assuming yoga poses, Christians unwittingly worship demons.
As Christians, let’s remember that we belong exclusively to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s not unfaithfully worship in any manner that causes us to inadvertently worship anything but Him.
6 thoughts on “Christian Yoga As Idol Worship”
DebbieLynne, thank you for posting this. Many years ago I began to practice Yoga as a form of stretching and exercise. I thought it would be good for me. Praise the Lord I asked Pastor Matt Fletcher for his thoughts. He talked to me, prayed with me, and for me, and gave me a few articles to read. I stopped immediately. I am thankful that my pastor cared enough to explain why it was not honoring to God.
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Praise God that you consulted Matt! Your testimony only adds to my confidence that the Lord put me and John in the right church. Thank you so much for this comment.
I have to weigh in on this subject. It’s right up my alley. I’m ethnically Jewish, I’ve studied both bibles, and I do yoga, eastern martial arts, and vedic philosophy. And it doesnt conflict. Dint be superstitious or say its us vs them. Hatha yoga is based on stretching and strengthening the body through isotonic exercise. Kung fu and judo and kickboxing is based on the movements of animals in attack and defense. It has to do with nature, not religion, and God created nature, and nature is better off than we are. Yoga or Hinduism is called Sanatana dharma in India, which translates as, ‘the eternal law’. It is older than the priests who wrote the Jewish bible or the apostles who wrote the Greek scriptures. So dont reject it. Incorporate it into your lifestyle and benefit from it. Yoga, judo, and kung fu could all be part of Christian lifestyle if done with the right mindset.
Since my Comment Policy requires that those who disagree with my posts substantiate their positions from Scripture, I ask you to do me the courtesy of showing me my error from God’s Word. Since yoga comes from India (a pagan nation), how do you reconcile it with God’s commands to be separated from the spiritual practices of pagan nations?
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Theres something older than science or any religion, and even without quoting the scriptures directly, I can explain to you that being human is being fundamentally similar to all other humans, even people from the east. Yes, Hinduism appears polytheistic but it is not. It is henotheistic, the one God behind the many. Many manifestations of one single Brahman. The Creator and the Creation are seen as the same thing in the east, and man is heaven and earth in miniature. So just developing yourself and helping yourself is helping and developing the whole. Theres no need to call yourself the true worshippers and everyone else unclean. Each individual has something intrinsically good to him, and each one has the potential to reach Christ consciousness, even if they waste their potential and never become truly happy.
Again, you’ve violated my Comment Policy. I will not approve any more comments from you unless you ground them in God’s Word. I’m very willing to be corrected, but only by the standard of Scripture.
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