It’s funny how the Lord works.
When people ask me how the Lord brought me to Reformed Theology, I’m often tempted to answer simply, “Yoga.” Undoubtedly, this temptation comes from my early adolescent days when I liked shocking people. But as an adult, I realize that doing things for shock value isn’t always helpful.
Researching Holy Yoga actually did play a role in leading me to Reformed Theology, I must admit. Of course, the Lord used a number of other factors, so I would be dishonest to attribute my change solely to yoga.
That said, I’ve always seen yoga (“holy” or otherwise) as a serious problem ensnaring far too many evangelicals. Sadly, I know several people who see no conflict between Biblical Christianity and yoga. Those who practice Holy Yoga claim that they meditate on Scripture, while those who take secular yoga classes insist that they just do the exercises without the meditation part. These factors convince me that yoga must be periodically addressed in evangelical circles.
Yet I haven’t blogged much about yoga lately. For the most part, I’ve avoided further articles on the subject because I can’t think of much to add to what I’ve already written. I don’t want to repeat warnings that readers could easily find in my archives. Some of those articles provide clear documentation showing that Christians have absolutely no business even flirting with yoga.
But people forget my past articles. Thus, the topic needs to be raised every so often to remind people that yoga is not compatible with Christianity.
We must stop ignoring the fact that that yoga is, by its very definition, a spiritual entity born from Hinduism. According to an article by Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM) entitled Should Christians Practice Yoga? (this title is a link), this focus on experience pretty much sums up the primary goal of yoga.
The problem is that yoga is religious in nature. The point of the practice of yoga is to unite oneself with God. Take this quote from the Yoga Journal: “Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.”4 As one can see, Yoga is more than just a physical exercise. We as Christians do not want to make our mind more flexible. We do not want to leave our mind open to false teaching.
That last sentence alone should deter Christians from considering yoga. Scripture calls us to renew our minds, not to make them flexible.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~~Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
As I say so very often, discernment comes through actively studying God’s Word. The mind-altering effects of yoga may cause people to feel a sense of vague spirituality, but only the Bible reveals God’s mind and shows us how to think like Him.
Yoga, therefore, undermines Biblical Christianity, distracting the evangelicals who practice yoga with a spirituality that opens them up to false teaching. Presenting our bodies to a Hindu based system that opens our minds to all manner of spiritual influences definitely won’t result in accurately discerning God’s will.
I haven’t blogged much about yoga lately, and I probably should have done so. We must constantly remember that it draws people away from Christ — not towards Him.