There are so many yoga classes available these days. What is the big deal in taking yoga classes? I like to know, is participating in yoga classes ok for Christians?
Popular in Eastern culture for centuries, yoga has recently become a popular activity for many Westerners as well, including some professing Christians. A popular yoga website explains yoga this way:
Yoga means “joined together.” The word comes from the ancient Sanskrit root word yug, which means “to unify.” A yogi is one who consciously unifies body, mind, emotions, and spirit so that they work together very well. The yogi strives to open the gift of life and discover his fullest possibilities. A yogi endeavors to discover the higher consciousness and how the body, mind, and emotional nature can be truly fulfilled through unifying their purposes — rather than living in constant interior civil war.
Based on this description, yoga is an activity mixing physical exercise and Eastern mysticism, and therefore traditional yoga should be avoided by Christians. The stated goal of traditional yoga is two-fold. First, yoga seeks to “unify” body, mind, emotions, and spirit and end the “civil war” inside us. Biblically, we know that the human experience can only be unified in perfection and peace through faith in Jesus Christ and the regeneration that comes as a result of His grace.
No other means for unifying spirit and body exists, therefore the essential teaching of yoga qualifies as “another Gospel,” which competes with the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the hearts and minds of humanity. It is a lie of Satan intended as a stumbling block to prevent the world from knowing the truth. Is Participating in Yoga Classes OK for Christians
As Paul said, if anyone comes to us preaching another Gospel, we are to reject both the messenger and the message entirely:
Galatians 1:8-9 (NKJV)
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Secondly, yoga claims to promote “higher states of consciousness,” which is coded language for seeking an encounter with the demonic realm. The Bible plainly commands believers to steer clear of worship of angels (demons) and to rely entirely on Christ for our spiritual enlightenment: Is Participating in Yoga Classes OK for Christians
Colossians 2:18-19 (NKJV)
18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
Furthermore, associating with the enemy even in a casual way is a dangerous and foolish practice:
2 Corinthians 6:15-18 (NKJV)
15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”
Regardless of any potential physical benefits of yoga, if the practice includes these mind techniques, it violates scripture and will lead the believer into unprofitable and potentially dangerous practices. The demonic realm is powerful and not something with which believers should experiment. Is Participating in Yoga Classes OK for Christians
In some cases, you may find a yoga instructor who has dispensed with yoga’s Eastern mysticism and teaches only the stretching and strengthening routines associated with yoga. Such classes may still be called “yoga” to indicate the style of exercise being offered, yet the class has little in common with traditional yoga. Specifically, exercise-only yoga events will have no calls to meditation, no appeals to higher consciousness and no talk of uniting body and mind.
Under these circumstances, such yoga groups are simply exercising classes, and therefore they are acceptable for believers to enjoy. Nevertheless, believers participating in this type of “innocent” yoga should remain on guard for any unexpected shift into mysticism by the instructors. If the class begins to move away from simply exercising and into a spiritual dimension, the believer should cease participating.
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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