By Brian Flynn
Why is there such a thing as Christian yoga? It certainly has no scriptural or biblical basis in support of it. I have repeated many times in my book, my writings and in radio interviews that yoga is an eastern spiritual practice and has no place in the church. Do you think that Hindus who practice yoga are doing it to attain rock hard abs? The answer is clearly no. The purpose is spiritual. It is not just the meditations; but many of the postures used are a form of sun worship. Does that sound Christian to you?
The description of yoga is contradictory with Christianity, "Its practice strives to unite the individual soul with the "greater soul" of the universe..." The response from Christians who practice Yoga state that they do not use the meditations normally associated with Yoga. However, the meditations are not the only problem. "It is a whole series of ritual appreciations to the sun, being thankful for that source of energy." To think of it as a mere physical movement is tantamount to "saying that baptism is just an underwater exercise..." Can't Christians find another form of exercise to use then one that is clearly connected to eastern religions? Even Hindus state that yoga is a Hindu religious practice and to stop pretending that it isn't.
If I were to go to a Hindu sanctuary and tell them to "Get on your knees, clasp your hands together and repeat over and over again, I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior". Do you think they would embrace it? I doubt it. So why do we as Christians embrace their religious prayer, meditation or practice? It must be that the Hindus recognize a religious practice when they see it and Christians simply cannot or will not.
When people share their reasons for exercise they will state, fitness, health, losing weight etc. However, when you ask them about why they practice yoga, it is almost always related to stress relief. If Christians are not participating in the meditative portion of yoga than what is the benefit? Yoga’s main selling point is stress relief. Supporters of yoga state that the stress relief comes from the practice of the meditation. If stress relief is the main reason for practicing yoga, without the meditation it isn't any more of a stress reliever than any other form of exercise. Therefore, why not choose a different type rather than one borrowed from Hinduism?
If your reason for practicing “Christian” yoga is to feel closer to God why would you believe that a Hindu ritual would accomplish this? I believe that many Christians who practice yoga may genuinely want to feel closer to the Lord, but due to a lack of strong biblical knowledge (which would given them what they really need anyway) they resort to a false practice.
So why is there "Christian" yoga at all?
Many are simply ignorant that it is an eastern religious practice.
Many churches look it as a "hip" new way to attract people.
Increasing the numbers coming into the church is more important than worrying
about its eastern religious roots.
Few have the information to stand against it, and fear being
viewed as judgmental if they challenge the practice.
Many Christians are already involved in yoga, why upset them?
Rather than trying to persuade Christians that they are in error, (the hard way) we have chosen to accommodate their error and call it "Christian" yoga to make them feel better.
Why do we need to combine any form of exercise with prayer? When the disciples
asked Jesus how they should pray did he respond by saying let’s begin with
push ups? No, of course not. We can easily pray and exercise separately.
There are a multitude of exercise routines or stretching techniques to choose from that are equally as effective as yoga and do not have any religious ties. Choose another form of exercise.
Keep churches as a place to pray, preach and worship,... and fitness clubs a place to exercise. It’s a radical idea but I think it can work.
I hope that this explanation will persuade Christians to study the Bible to feel closer to the Lord and find a form of exercise that doesn't yoke one to Hinduism.
The Origin Of Yoga
According to Don Conreaux, Yogic Gongmaster
The purpose of yoga (meaning to bind) was called the 'raising of Mother Kundalini' (the life force at the base of the spine). Yoga had its origins in India in the Sat Yuga, the Age of Gold, over 26,000 years ago. This was a long peaceful age of abundance in which humans had plenty of time to search within. The yoga of the raising of the Kundalini at this time blossomed organically, out of the intuition and spontaneity of the practitioner. The goal of the yogi was to ascend into the immortal realms of pure spirit, to imbibe the intuitional nectar of enlightenment, eradicate disease and find liberation from suffering. This was called Samadhi. In 600 B.C., during the dark age of Kali Yug, signified by Iron, these practices were written down for the first time by Patanjali in India and thus gained a structure that evolved into various systems given out by contemporary Gurus. This structure was called the Eight Limbs of Patañjali's Yoga. Ultimately, the students of yoga were to gain enough systematic knowledge of yoga techniques, that they could tap into the original or primal yoga of spontaneity, intuition, and creative freedom, a condition that modern yogic practitioners might refer to as Super-mind. The seed mantra of yoga is AUM or OM. It is the sound of the Cosmos and is the sound that constitutes the Akashic Realms (the non-material etheric plane), the source of Samadhi. This universal tone of pure resonance is produced elegantly by the disc-shaped instrument called the Ancient Gong.
By doing yoga, a person condones and legitimizes the non/anti-Christian origins of yoga and the practices of Hinduism. Because of that, Christians should find alternative methods of gentle exercise and relaxation, an easy task to do I believe....Keygar