The Truth About Yoga

truthaboutyogaI hear many mixed opinions on Yoga. Many Christians say that other Christians should not be practicing Yoga, while others say it’s fine. But why are there so many different opinions and what should we believe? First it’s important to look at the definition of Yoga:

  • “An ascetic Hindu discipline involving controlled breathing, prescribed body positions, and meditation, with the goal of attaining a state of deep spiritual insight and tranquility.”
  • “A system of stretching and positional exercises derived from this discipline to promote good health, fitness, and control of the mind.”

In the practice of Yoga, there is not one particular thing/god that a person needs to serve. Yoga is not a religion. There are not rules making you bow down to Hindu gods. It was only founded by Hindus. It’s a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that you make all your own. You set an intention that you want. You grow stronger physically, mentally, and spiritually. For me, Yoga is a time to spend with God and with myself. It’s a time to nurture my body as well as my mind and surrender all my thoughts and worries to God and focus on Him. Yoga is an open practice that allows people to make it their own. There is now a practice of Yoga called Holy Yoga, which is pretty much what I described that I do in my own Yoga practice. It’s a practice to devote to God while getting all the physical benefits of the yoga poses and learning to control your thoughts and your mind.

As Christians living in a sinful world there are going to be many things that we will encounter that may not completely coincide with our beliefs, but it is our job to take what is useful from it and drop the rest. That’s what I do with Yoga. I take the wonderful benefits of the poses and the meditative state that it brings me to and drop the Hindu practices and bring in my Christian beliefs. Yoga is a time for me to unwind, meditate on God and His Word, and heal my body. Yoga has quickly became my favorite form of exercise. It is the workout that I can do while serving God. It helps increase my strength, balance, stamina, and detoxes my body. With the many joint issues I have developed from scoliosis, Yoga has really been a wonderful healing practice for me. My back is always aching, along with my neck, knees, and hips. I can use Yoga to cater to these particular parts of my body, using deep breathing, stretches, and focusing on the Lord.

I have developed to really love practicing Yoga that I am planning on becoming a Christian Yoga Instructor. I in no way believe that this is going against my relationship with God. He has given me the spirit of discernment to know what to believe and what not to. I am only taking the good from Yoga and incorporating my own belief into it. Holy Yoga, is what Christian Yoga is. That is what I practice and it has done wonders for my body, mind, and spirit.

If you would like more information, I found a wonderful website that I wanted to share called Christians Practicing Yoga: http://christianspracticingyoga.com/wp/. This website provides a lot of information regarding Yoga and Christianity. Here is a small insert that is on their page “Addressing the Fears: Yoga and Christianity”:

“As a spiritual and physical practice, yoga is a positive and comprehensive approach to holistic health through the integration of body, mind, and spirit; as such, it is a valuable instrument to promote one’s spiritual well-being. Feuerstein describes it as a “systematic program for peaceful living with sharpened self-awareness.”

In Feuerstein’s teaching, yoga has 2 primary meanings: union and discipline.

Union: the very word “yoga” means to “yoke”, to unite the body-mind in harmony.

Discipline: integral yoga is an approach to life that seeks to unite all the aspects of our living, e.g. our inner, spiritual life and our relations with others.”

To keep reading on this page: http://christianspracticingyoga.com/wp/yoga-our-perspective/addressing-the-fears-yoga-and-christianity/

I hope that I was able to clear up some confusion on the Yoga topic. If you have any other questions or concern please don’t hesitate to email me or comment down below. Thanks again for reading!

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  • I LOVE this post! I’ve loved practicing yoga for awhile, and I had a very conservative and religious family member tell me how I shouldn’t and how it’s against our faith, etc. But I practice for the same reasons you do – it feels great for my body, and my mind is fixed on GOD and Jesus while doing it…it’s great prayer time! Thank you for clearing the air here in such an eloquent way.

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    • Thanks so much for your positive response! 🙂 I can definitely relate to having people tell me whether yoga is good to practice or not. That’s what made me really want to write this post. I believe that more people to understand that yoga is not against the Christian faith. It’s such a wonderful practice. I’m so grateful to have peace knowing that I can practice yoga and serve God at the same time. Thanks again for your comment!

      • Oh, you’re so welcome!

  • Enjoyed reading this post. You’re so right, yoga isn’t about religion per say but just relaxing your body and mind.

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  • This is so good, when I clicked on the link I wasn’t ready what to expect and was gearing up to defend myself. I am actually doing a month long yoga challenge as we speak, and always try to us that time to meditate on God! I’m gong to feature this post within my Blogger Love post tomorrow. Nicely communicated!

    • I know exactly what you mean about gearing up to defend yourself. That’s how I always felt when I read posts about how Christians should not practice yoga. I wanted to get down to the root of yoga and show everyone there’s nothing wrong with it! And that it’s actually more beneficial than people realize. Which yoga challenge are you doing? Thank you so much for featuring this post! I will definitely return the favor and feature one of your posts as well. 🙂

      • The month of November there is a #TakeTheLeap Challege, and if you practiced any kind of yoga every day you also had a chance win all kinds of workout gear from Prana. Kind of fun. Learned some new poses too. I’m also doing Piyo through Beachbody. Thanks for your reply!

  • i love this! i’ve always wanted to start yoga and so many people are indifferent about it but like you, i dont think there is anything wrong with it as long as you aren’t doing it for other gods, just like anything else you could do in this life.

    • Thanks! I definitely think you should try yoga. It’s done wonders for me. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  • Yoga is for everyone, regardless of religion. It’s good for your body, your lungs, your heart, and your mind. The only thing most people practicing yoga in a non-hindu fashion are focusing on is trying to forget the stress at work! Great post!!

    • Yes I definitely agree! Yoga has become so much more than a Hindu practice now. It’s so beneficial for so many people. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  • Amen. Yoga is my time to relax and literally think about nothing. I focus on getting rid of the aches and knots in my body. I know a lot of people who still think it’s a terrible thing, for focusing on fake gods, but that’s just one interpretation of it!

    • Yupp exactly! I believe there is nothing wrong with it because yoga isn’t a religion and isn’t forcing anyone to believe in other gods. We can just enjoy the workout and the relaxation 🙂

  • “For me, Yoga is a time to spend with God and with myself. It’s a time to nurture my body as well as my mind and surrender all my thoughts and worries to God and focus on Him.” So much wisdom, I’ve certainly heard the argument against yoga and I’ve definitely always admired the stretching/fitness aspect. I think you’ve inspired me to give it a try.

    • Aw great! I hope you enjoy it. It’s so beneficial for all aspects of your health 🙂