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Is Yoga A Sin?

Many Christians are looking to various fitness classes and routines to maintain their health, strengthen their bodies, and promote mental well-being. That is good; we should steward the body that God has given us. In looking for routines to promote health, I have seen some Christians look to things like Yoga. Given the context and origin is yoga a sin?

Should Christians practice yoga?

Before going on, let me say I understand most Christians who practice Yoga intend to exercise, become fit and live a healthy lifestyle. I don’t believe the purpose is to participate in an activity that is a sin or unbiblical knowingly.

What concerns me is the lack of understanding we have in practicing an activity without realizing the origins, the philosophy, and the possible spiritual implications. Yoga is not simply an exercise but a belief system, and to treat it as such is naïve and dangerous.

It is closely coupled with the religious beliefs and practices of Hinduism and Buddhism.

For what I am writing today and because of their widely understood connection, I will focus on Yoga and Hinduism. I won't comment very much on the statements as I feel they speak for themselves. Still, I have highlighted certain parts just to emphasize a few key ideas.

Listen to some of these quotes concerning those who practice and teach this. If you judge it by these statements, you have to at least question is yoga a sin as a Christian?

“The origin of Yoga extends back thousands of years. Historically, its teachings were transmitted in the Guru-Chela tradition, an intimate, one-to-one personal manner from Guru (teacher) to disciple (Chela).”

“In these earliest times, the sole purpose of yoga was the attainment of the highest spiritual goals: self-realization, enlightenment, and the liberation of the individual soul.”

“Ultimately, the science of Yoga takes us beyond this life altogether and helps us to understand the very nature of our existence: who we are; why we are here; and where it is that we are going. Yoga philosophy guides us down that road.”

Swami Gitananda Giri Gurumaharaj of India and author of approximately 25 books on Yoga gave these definitions:

“Yoga is a way of Life.”

“Yoga is a method and a technology for conscious evolution.”

“Yoga is four-fold awareness: awareness of body, awareness of emotions, awareness of mind and awareness of awareness. One should start with the awareness of just how unaware one is!”

“Yoga is the Mother of all Sciences (and) the Mother of all Religions.”

“Yoga is learning to live within the natural and spiritual laws.”

UnBiblical Teachings Found In Yoga

Karma – The concept of karma is a fundamental aspect at the foundation of the Eastern worldview. Its proper understanding is integral to the practice of Yoga.

Prana – The concept of prana lies at the foundation of Yoga’s methodology and is described as a “life-giving force.”

“The taking of breath is a holy, divine function and those who aspire to Divinity must master Pranayama, the Yoga of Controlled Breathing.” ~ Swami Gitananda Giri Gurumaharaj

I know some of you may be saying, “but that’s their beliefs, that’s not what I practice.” Let’s look at what is found here in North America and the belief system being promoted.

These are quotes from yoga teachers and studios in North America and Canada.

"Yoga is so much more than these poses we do in class. Yoga is a whole system; a system of living that when followed can bring mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, as well as spiritual enlightenment…. The word Yoga means to connect, unite or to yoke. What we are looking to connect with is our soul, the universe, God, our divine essence, or our Universal Self.”

“Hatha Yoga is not just a physical process for maintaining good health. It enables you to tap the infinite power lying latent within you.”

“Iyengar yoga is a complete approach to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, bringing vitality, mental clarity, wisdom, and emotional serenity.”

Should A Christian Practice Yoga Poses?

Just think about the meaning behind these poses. The poses are another reason why Christians shouldn't do it.

Sun Salutation - The Salutation is meant to greet the sun and is used as a way to worship the Hindu sun god, Surya, who is the symbol of health and immortal life.”

Animal Poses - The spiritual purpose of each animal pose is to allow you some of the attributes that each animal possesses.

Strength Poses - The popular warrior pose is to help you feel spiritually powerful, while the tree pose is meant to make you feel calm, balanced, and in control.

Seated poses - like the lotus poses, are meant to help you turn inward during guided and self-meditation for a deeper state of enlightenment.”

We should understand this exercise's origin and foundational beliefs. I also want you to see that even the local yoga studios are not simply promoting and practicing an exercise but a spiritual belief system. This must be taken into account when considering our involvement in such an activity.

The Spiritual And Biblical Side Of Practicing Yoga.

The foundation for our beliefs and what we participate in as Christians must come from the Bible.

From what we see above, Yoga is “much more than just a good stretch.” The principles are from Hinduism and Buddhism. These new-age philosophies are deeply rooted in all the teachings, exercises, and poses. The teachers of Yoga, even within North American studios, are students, practitioners, and teachers of these philosophies. To suggest someone can practice Yoga without participating in these things is very dangerous.

Within North America, Yoga is portrayed as an exercise that enriches all aspects of our being, mind, body, and spirit. It deceptively represents itself as something that will bring spiritual enlightenment and awareness. Yoga is praised for all its benefits, but we often forget who its designer is. We forget it’s a demonic spiritual activity originating with the devil.

2 Corinthians 11:14 - …For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

John 8:44 - You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The devil is a murderer and liar who looks to consume lives. He disguises his plots of destruction as positive, beneficial, and even spiritually good. Yoga was formed from these evil, destructive intentions to trap and destroy people.

Christians who defend Yoga often state, “I am simply doing the exercises and not meditating,” or “I meditate and concentrate on God while I exercise.” I believe this to be a deception from the enemy that lures Christians to participate intentionally in an activity where they unsuspectingly open themselves to his objectives. Even if your motivations are right and you are not meditating like the others, or you sincerely feel you are concentrating on God. Still, because you are involved in demonic spiritual activity, you are offering the enemy a gateway through which to impact your life.

So this is an essential factor that must be considered before entering into this form of exercise.

Something else, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God, and that you are not your own? You were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

The question comes up since our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are not our own, and we are to honor God with our body, shouldn’t we make sure we are not supporting an activity of our body that goes completely against the Holy Spirit who resides within us?

Jesus made payment through the cross to redeem us from the punishment of sin, to give us victory and break the bonds of the enemy, and to give us the genuine fullness of life that affects our whole being. The very whole and enriching life that people are looking to attain through Yoga are what Jesus did for all on the cross. We shouldn’t be embracing or participating in an activity trying to replace and disguise itself as an alternative to what Jesus has done.

I could continue, but I want to give one final thought.

Christians who practice yoga, are suggesting to non-Christians that it is safe and even beneficial. Have you ever thought that while you MAY be “safe” from spiritual influences, those unsaved are not? The unsaved person won’t recognize the spiritual implications or be able to guard against those things. Even if we disagree and don’t practice its philosophies, our involvement in Yoga silently gives our endorsement to an activity the devil designed and uses to destroy people’s lives.

Is Yoga a sin? Seems the evidence is clear. Just something to think about.


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