Is it Okay for a Christian to Practice Yoga?

If you’re like most people, you probably have a drawer or two or three of old T-shirts. You know, the ones from the run/walk you did back in 2009, or the bar league volleyball T-shirt that you have with the clever name from your buddy from college. Most T-shirts we don’t wear, we stick them in drawers. But I want to tell you today about a T-shirt that I hope makes a big impact in a lot of ways. Time of Grace is offering T-shirts that can be yours if you request one through your donation. A generous donor has offered to match, dollar for dollar, the first $1,000 that we collect through these T-shirts. And our hope is to spread the Gospel of God’s timeless truth to more and more people in the year to come. We pray that your donation helps people understand Jesus, his unconditional love and his crazy mercy. And we pray that as you wear this T-shirt around, maybe someone asks, “What’s Time of Grace?” And we don’t want you to tell them just about a ministry or website. We want you to tell them about the real reason, the real roots of what we do: God’s grace, the crazy love that just doesn’t quit, the joy that we have every morning because Jesus still cares, he’s still for us and he’s not against us. So we pray that we can give you some great fashion this summer. Even more, we pray that you can give one more way for us to spread God’s amazing grace. If you’re part of a health club,
you can guess that 20 million
people practice yoga a year. So the question is
not, “Is yoga popular?” The question that I
get, “Is it okay for a
Christian to practice yoga?” Now, there’s different
types of yoga. On the one side we have a
purely physical form which
is called Ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga yoga is usually
a series of poses that are
linked together very closely or you might see it in
your gym as power yoga. Those can be
completely separate. However, the most popular form
of yoga is called Hatha yoga. So, this is not to be confused
with hot yoga but you could
practice hot Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is spelled H-A-T-H-A. This is the most common in your
gyms and around the country. Hatha yoga has a long
history of being very closely
intertwined with Hindu worship. And the purpose of Hatha yoga,
through this series of poses,
meditation and discipline, And the purpose of Hatha yoga,
through this series of poses,
meditation and discipline,
is to connect your true self,
your Atman they call it, is to connect your true self,
your Atman they call it, with your divine, kind
of this interpersonal
spirit called “Brahman.” For a lack of a better
term, it’s like the
force in Star Wars. You’re trying to connect
yourself with the Brahman. And, in fact, yoga itself
means a yoke or bonding. So where does this
put us as a Christian? While it might be possible
to practice just the
physical aspects of yoga, maybe you go to your gym
and they don’t mention
anything about meditation and they simply go through
a series of poses, you
could probably do that. However, the most popular
form, Hatha yoga may use
terms like, “connecting to
the divinity within you,” ” your inner self,” or “focusing on your
third eye for healing.” Anything like that is just as
integral a part to the Hindu
religion and its practice as bowing and worshiping
five times a day in
an Islamic mosque. Now ask yourself this, Would you go five times a
day to an Islamic mosque
if it made you more fit? I think you’d say no. So now ask yourself a
little bit different. Would I go to yoga three
times a week, even though
it’s directly connected, in
many cases, to Hindu worship? I think you know your answer. Our battle is not against
the physical, our body. Our battle really is against
spiritual forces and when it
comes to your own spirituality, there’s other ways to get
fit rather than glorifying a
practice of a fake religion.