07 Oct, 2020 Should Christians Engage in Yoga for Better Health?
by Gina McAndrews
Yoga: Great Fitness, bad theology, or religious indoctrination?
Are health benefits a good enough reason for Christians to engage in yoga?
Some of the common statements we hear are, “Everybody does it” “Yoga provides so many health benefits,” ” Well, my church has a yoga group…“
Research estimates that 36 million Americans practice yoga.
According to Merriam-Webster, yoga is defined,
“1 capitalized: a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation
2: a system of physical postures, breathing techniques, and sometimes meditation derived from Yoga but often practiced independently especially in Western cultures to promote physical and emotional well-being”
So, connecting the dots: 36 million Americans engage in a practice that encourages Hindu philosophies and all that it embraces. Let that sink in.
How Do We Know?
According to many biblical scholars of our time, including Albert Mohler, John Piper, and John MacArthur to name a few, engaging in yoga as a Christian goes against all that the Bible teaches. We linked their names above to articles and videos where they discuss this. Some quick research reveals numerous articles and video clips against Christians and yoga.
The articles against Christians participating in yoga are endless because the Bible has much to say about dabbling in practices that are not from Him. And nowhere in the Bible will you find Scripture to support participating in worship techniques glorifying the sun or any other “god” besides the one true God.
Is this really in the bible?
What does Scripture say? Many will argue that the Bible doesn’t directly address yoga. Specifically. Well, there’s a lot that the Bible doesn’t address because it doesn’t have to. We have biblical truths that we are to embrace as believers, and anything that doesn’t align with these truths is from Satan. If we want to answer the question, “Should Christians engage in yoga,” we have to consider scripture. The Bible is clear on Who we are to worship. One particular verse really stands out: Exodus 23:13 “Pay attention to all that I have said to you, and make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips.” Not only should we not have any other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3), but we are also not to validate them. Isn’t that what yoga does? Validates Hindu gods?
The case is often made for “Christian yoga”, but how can that be? We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Absolutely every yoga move is entangled with the worship of Hindu gods. The move itself. It can’t be “Christianized” or justified by saying different words or meditating on God’s Word. This just doesn’t line up with Scripture.
But, I just use it for exercise.
The most common defense of yoga that I hear from Christians who use it as a form of exercise is that they aren’t worshipping Hindu gods when they do yoga, so who cares? That’s a loaded question. The problem is that the world knows what yoga is. Are we willing to damage our testimony because we are too stubborn to do different exercises? Churches and Christian universities offer yoga classes. Really? Would they offer classes on alignment with demons or a class on how to pray rote prayers from other religions? This is the same thing: distorting God’s Word to justify our desires and then endorsing demonic spirits.
We are all sinners in need of a Savior. What is done in private is as important as what is done in public. If you are trying to justify something that would cause another person (or yourself) to stumble, then you may need to reconsider. Yoga is one of those considerations.
Should Christians engage in yoga? According to Caitlin Englebert, a believer and former yoga instructor, each yoga pose involves its own story and has a demon attached to it. In fact, she goes on to say, the Hindu believer doesn’t even use yoga for health. They do yoga as a spiritual means of connecting with these demons. The Bible is very clear on aligning with these types of practices. Instead, we are to hold everything we do to the light of Scripture. If we are honest, does yoga pass the light test? Aren’t there other ways to better health that do align with Scripture?
1Timothy 4: 1 states that “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times, some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons…”. I urge you to research yoga, its history, and its teachings. Two good sources to consider are Truth Behind Yoga and Doreen Virtue, a post-new-ager, which you can find on youtube. In the words of a godly friend, “Be a Berean” and pour over the Scriptures (cf. Acts 17:10-11). Knowledge comes by equipping yourself with the sword of the Spirit.
Gina McAndrew is the Founder and CEO of The Mark Project, an organization that equips believers with the tools they need to fulfill the Great Commission through art. She is also the Founder and Director of Potter’s Clay Applied Arts, a program that equips students to glorify God through the arts. Gina has a BFA in Studio Art, an MS in Industrial Communications, and an MBA, all from Lindenwood University. She has been teaching art and written communications to students of all ages for 15 years, focusing on the practical applications of these subjects. As a former upper-level manager and homeschool mom of four children, Gina continuously seeks to implement new and innovative ideas at both companies.
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