Lots of Christians wonder whether yoga and Christianity are compatible. I argue they can be, particularly the Westernized kind of yoga most Westerners practice.
When I first wrote this response, I wrote that, “[Yoga provides] an opportunity to glorify God and meditate on his Word while being good stewards of our bodies.” I would add that yoga as exercise alone, without any form of meditation, is itself an opportunity to glorify God with our bodies.
What about Yoga?
Thank you very much for clearing up this matter which had bothered me for quite sometime. Another issue which I’m now debating whether to do or not to do is Yoga. I’m aware that it has its roots in Hinduism but can I do yoga as part of a fitness & wellness program which doesn’t go deep into the subject matter & all the different levels? Yoga is supposed to be very beneficial from a health point of view & also helps in curing diabetes & other illnesses. What are your thoughts on this?
God bless you & thanks for taking time in replying to my queries.
I’m glad I was able to be of some help. As far as yoga is concerned, I think it’s important to know that all the positions have spiritual meanings/implications. Check out this article to see get a quick overview: http://www.livestrong.com/article/375831-what-is-the-meaning-of-yoga-positions/
Now the question is, can the Hindu mythology be redeemed? I generally believe it can. CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien often referred to the Gospel as “the myth come true” or “the true myth”. And we can see why when we look at books and movies and see that all the best stories are redemption stories, right?
So, what does this mean for yoga? In so far as many of the positions are resemblances of animals, I think the Christian can easily use those positions to consider how God is creator of all. We can consider our connection as fellow creations, our command in Genesis to care for creation. When doing the eagle position, for example, we can contemplate the scripture which declares God lifts up his followers “on wings of eagles.”
Do you see what I mean?
So, yes, I think a Christian can responsibly participate in the Westernized type of yoga you’re talking about. It’s an opportunity to glorify God and meditate on his Word while being good stewards of our bodies.
Thanks for writing.
God’s peace to you.