“…love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence…”
Luke 10:27, MSG
“Isn’t yoga the same as Hinduism?”
“Yoga can’t be separated from Eastern religion.”
“Christians should never practice yoga; it’s anti-God.”
Some Christians have concerns about yoga. It’s understandable; yoga is connected to Hinduism, which is in practice not compatible with Christianity. Let’s spend a few moments examining these anxieties.
Classical techniques of yoga date back more than 5,000 years. The word yoga, a Sanskrit term, means “to join or yoke together” and the practice is meant to bring the body, mind, and spirit into unity. This holistic experience should be attractive to Christian believers; it is how we were originally created before Adam and Eve sinned, introducing brokenness and disintegration into our world. Because yoga was birthed in India and Hindus practice yoga as part of their religion, there is a common misconception that yoga is rooted in Hinduism. In fact the Hindu religion is 3500-4000 years old, which means yoga predates it by at least 1000 years. If the discipline predates Hinduism, it must be able to be separated from Hinduism.
Holy Yoga is the intentional practice of connecting our entire being; body, mind, and spirit with God; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With complete reliance on God’s Word and prayer, Holy Yoga invites us to introduce movement into our worship and devotional life. When we focus the intention of our practice toward God and His Word, yoga has the capacity to enhance our personal beliefs and faith and is an excellent modality to bring Luke 10:27 to bear in the lives of those who practice.
Christian friend, who in this universe is powerful enough to exclusively own any particular stance in which we position our bodies? Could some lesser-than-Jehovah spiritual being lay claim to a posture and make it exclusively honoring of themselves regardless of our intention? Of course not. The God who lives in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). 1 Timothy 4 tells us everything created by God is good when consecrated with the Word and prayer. When Christians lay aside the Eastern spirituality of yoga and set our focus on the King of Kings, yoga becomes Holy Yoga, and it is worship whether we are standing tall (mountain pose), sitting cross-legged (simple seated pose), prostrate on the ground (child’s pose), or in some other yoga posture.
So get ready to connect with God in a new, experiential way, honoring your wonderfully created body, finding rest in His presence, gaining freedom from competition and judgement, and encountering God in the present moment. Get ready for Holy Yoga