Can Christians Do Yoga?
Oh you were hoping for more than that?! LOL
Lets breakdown a few concerns about yoga:
First: Can yoga and Hinduism be separated?
Yoga predates Hinduism. There is evidence of yoga-type petroglyphs dating as far back as 5000-6000 BC in the Indus Valley. Hinduism precedes Christianity, but it came into being well after the Indus civilization. The best approximation of the inception of the Hindu religion is 3000 BC.
The yoga sutras were written by a Hindu Sage named Patanjali. The Sutras were written approximately 1500 years ago (well after the teachings of Christ). This is where the misconception of yoga belonging to the Hindu religion is shown false. Yoga was adopted by a 3000 year old religion only 1500 years ago. So, there is a 1500 year gap that Hinduism was around without the discipline of yoga. Proving that you can in fact have one without the other.
Second: Is yoga a religion?
Yoga is a spiritual discipline/practice, not a religion. Just like prayer, fasting, meditation and worship are spiritual disciplines. Many other religions use one or more of these practices and same as Christianity. I would argue not about the practice itself but the focus and intention behind each practice as the real concern. In Holy Yoga the intention and focus is always Jesus and the Word. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I would include yoga in that.
Third: Is God really who He says He is?
The Bible tells us that God is over all in all and through all (Eph. 4:6). It also says that ALL things were made through Him (John 1:3). So we either believe what the Word says as Truth or we don’t, and if you don’t that is for another conversation another time.
Lastly: What does yoga mean?
Yoga is a sanskrit word that means union. Through the practice of yoga you are uniting your breath, mind and body. Breath work and breathing are a very large part of yoga. We know that the Bible says: ‘God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life’ (Gen. 2:7), ‘the breath of the Almighty gives me life’ (Job 33:4), ‘let everything that has breath praise the Lord’ (Ps. 150:6).
We also know God is clear about our minds and meditation: we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2), He calls us to set our minds on things that are above (Col. 3:2), and whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things (Phil. 4:8).
There are countless other verses that talk about our bodies and their value: our bodies are temples where the Holy Spirit dwells (1 Cor. 6:19), obeying the Lord and shunning evil will bring health to our body and nourishment to our bones (Prov. 3:8), and by His stripes we are healed (Is. 53:5). Jesus was willing to die a horrific death for our bodies, minds and souls!
I believe God is in all and of all and He is clear about us loving Him with all of our hearts, all of our minds, all of our souls and all of our strength (Mark 12:30). Yoga is a beautiful tool that incorporates all of those things is one practice.
We’ve created a FREE downloadable PDF for you to stay focused on Jesus when you do yoga! Click here to get it. Then print it to have with you when you go to any yoga class or at home when you want to worship Jesus on your mat.