Popular Q&A Wednesday

Q&A Wednesday: Does yoga conflict with Christianity?

This is definitely a controversial topic, but I get this question ALL the time, so I thought it’d be a good one to answer.

If we really strip this down to it’s most basic elements, I believe there are two groups of people. And depending on which group you identify with, your interpretation of whether yoga and Christianity can coexist will vary dramatically.

Here are my thoughts on the whole thing.

Over to you! First thing’s first: BE KIND. This is a loaded conversation, so please be sensitive to everyone’s beliefs as you discuss this below 🙂 

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45 Comments

  1. Avatar

    LisaZ

    May 25, 2016 at 5:54 am

    I have been practicing yoga for a little over a year now. I only practice in my home. I’ve never been to a yoga studio. I don’t know about the spiritual side of yoga. I am a follower of Christ, not the best but I try. I don’t have a conflict between practicing the yoga poses and my spirituality. After I yoga I read a devotional. I think that helps me stay centered in my practice of yoga and my spirituality. I wpuld like to learn more about yoga, I just don’t know where to start. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Keep in mind that I live in the country and do not have access to a yoga studio within 25 miles or more of my home.

  2. Avatar

    Amber Worden

    May 25, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Amen Erin! I agree with you completely – yoga can be whatever each person needs it to be, whether that includes the spiritual aspect or not. Personally for me, yoga has allowed me to learn about my body and to find a strength I never knew I had. When I’m on my mat that’s my time for me and I spend it doing whatever it is I need to do on any given day. I’m not worried about any spirits, or anybody else – and definitely not what anybody else thinks! That’s also not to say that I haven’t found a connection with a more spiritual side or a nature side of things because of yoga… Some days I’m in it just for the muscles, and some days I need a little bit more. 😉 Thanks for tackling this topic!

  3. Avatar

    vp_oeno.yogi

    May 25, 2016 at 7:03 am

    As an atheist I’m not very interested in spiritual stuff. christian, muslim, buddhism.. whatever. But I love yoga. When I started with yoga a year ago I didn’t know what to expect. Then, I discovered that my whole life I was using some of the yoga poses to calm myself (some kind of meditation?!). Like modified fish pose when I needed to rethink some stuff and make a decission 🙂

  4. Avatar

    Jennifer U

    May 25, 2016 at 7:18 am

    I totally agree with you Erin! A lot of people think if you practice yoga, then you are Buddhist. And I’m sure plenty of people who practice yoga are, and that’s great. As a Christian, I have never felt a disconnect with Christ due to my yoga practice. In fact, quite the opposite. For example, practicing yoga has helped my ability to focus A LOT! Whenever I would say my prayers at night I would lose my train of thought and get completely distracted (sorry, God). I can use the skills I learn in yoga to help me focus while praying. Also, (this may be kind of cliche) but I feel like my yoga practice just makes me a nicer, calmer person, and I’m pretty sure God’s cool with that! 🙂

  5. Avatar

    Laura

    May 25, 2016 at 7:31 am

    I would say yoga is actually a lovely compliment to Christianity! I was raised in a very conservative Christian church (think conservative Baptist type background) and I was raised to think that Yoga was new age-y and was all about clearing your mind and that was bad. However, I found yoga a couple years ago through Bad Yogi (THANK YOU!) and while I’ve not been great with consistency, I’ve seen it help in many areas of life. It helps with anxiety, calming, focusing, connecting more to myself, and caring for those around me. All of these things fit well with Biblical teachings and have helped me grow in so many ways. I also think that learning about other thoughts, beliefs, religions, and people is a wonderful thing and helps you connect and have a heart for those around you.

  6. Megan Reddix

    Megan Reddix

    May 25, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Most people know my standpoint. I am a Christian and I am a Yogi. There has never been a moment in my faith or in my practice where I personally felt a disconnect between the two. My practice began as a physical one, and slowly over almost 4 years, I’ve developed a more spiritual practice that allows me to delve deeper in my faith through movement, breath, and meditation. That being said, I actually really enjoy practicing Yoga with those who are of a different faith. It is so much fun to share a connection, spiritually or not, with those practicing with me. I learn something knew about their culture, about their lifestyle, and most of the time they teach me something new about myself. It’s a surreal and wonderful experience!

  7. Katie

    Katie

    May 25, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Even if you fall into the first group (you believe you can have yoga without spirituality) that doesn’t mean it excludes Christians. You just put your belief up there and let your yoga connect you to it, whatever it is. Yoga is a philosophy, not a religion. I started yoga for the body feels and then I got all the spiritual feels. I’m not a Christian, nor do I have a god, but I’ve found a kind of connection between people on a universal level that makes everything feel more real. Oh man, that was dangerously close to “good yogi” territory. Bring me back!!!

  8. Avatar

    Esther

    May 25, 2016 at 8:47 am

    I’m not a religious person or practitioner, and most important for me is honesty and goodness of a person religious creed, all of them respectable.

    Practicing yoga is not just a spiritual thing, for me is also a challenge, a test against myself and my abilities, a struggle with balance and strength, my against me. But in the space of my mat, flowing at peace with my breathing Yoga helps me to stay focused, it also gives me confidence in myself to do things that may seem impossible to me. If I am able to do and stay in the Crow Pose, I can do anything. Yoga is personal, intimate, and every practice is different. You do not learn the asanas and you’re Yogi. You only have started a way of life, improvement, understanding yourself and your place in the world … I think Yoga and religion are not mutually exclusive, you can practice any religion, and while practicing yoga.

  9. Avatar

    Amber

    May 25, 2016 at 8:53 am

    I am a Christian and I started yoga about 2 1/2 years ago. I feel that whatever religion, faith group, or even those who do not have any higher power, yoga helps connect you to yourself and if you have a higher power I think centering yourself makes you a better follower. I always find that at the end of yoga where we have that few moments of peacefulness and quiet I will pray and give thinks to Christ.

  10. Avatar

    Kat

    May 25, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I have had to explain to several people that Yoga for me is not a religion and can be utilized by anyone who does follow a religion and/or spiritual belief. Yoga for me is about movement and feels. This all inclusiveness is a great aspect to the practicing of Yoga.

  11. Avatar

    Thessa

    May 25, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I believe in Christ as my deepest truth. For me He is Love of the highest kosmic level. So for me love is my connection with al of humanity. I respect and accept al different religions as long as they respect others to. And for me love is the glue that binds al religions together.
    Still I find it hard to go deeper in some yoga practise and still stay close to Christ in me. Also because I think that is not really accepted in the yoga community. Probably not true. But I feel it that way.
    With love Thessa

  12. Avatar

    Eleonora

    May 25, 2016 at 11:04 am

    I strongly believe that yoga and spirituality are interconnected – and by spirituality I mean your own personal spiritual path, whatever it is – you don’t have to follow a certain religion (e.g. hinduism) in order to practise yoga because yoga is not a religion. Yoga is a science and it can be practised by everyone and anyone.

    I am a spiritual person, I don’t relate to any religion, I just follow my own path.
    And I am also a yoga teacher.
    There are people coming to my classes who are Christians, other who are atheists, and everything in the middle and beyond. I welcome everyone in the same way. As Erin said, Yoga is all inclusive.

    I don’t believe that Yoga and Christianity conflict. At all!
    But, sadly, here in Italy it is common to hear from some Christians and priests: “Do not practise yoga, it’s evil, it comes from the Devil!” I suppose that this idea comes from the other idea that anything that has not Christian origins comes from the Devil…

    Anyway, my 80+ grandparents who have been Catholics for their whole life really enjoy coming to classes and have changed and benefited from yoga immensely 🙂

    1. Avatar

      Unjay

      May 25, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      I love it that you get to teach your grandparents! You are so blessed!

  13. Avatar

    Christin

    May 25, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Great topic! I love the approach of finding teachers/classes that align with what you want to get out of class. As a Christian I find that when I focus any meditative time in yoga on a meaningful scripture and use the time in practice to build body strength and restoration, I am better prepared to be receptive to biblical teachings, and also feel so much more calm spiritually and energized physically! Like you said, I had to find the teachers and classes that aligned with what my goals were…not all of them will! But I have come to really appreciate that there IS a spiritual aspect to yoga, but one that I am able to identify with and make my own. 🙂

  14. Avatar

    Maey

    May 25, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Love all the comments….I am a Christian and I practice yoga everyday. For those conflicted check out holy yoga….an organization out of Arizona whose founder brook boon does a great job uniting yoga and Christian faith.

  15. Avatar

    Holly

    May 25, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Christianity and Yoga! Absolutely! I am a yogi and certified YogaFaith instructor.
    You do not have to be Brazilian to do zumba, you do not have to be Buddhist to practice martial arts, and you do not have to be Hindu or any other religion to practice yoga.
    It is a matter of intentionality with anything that we do. What are you setting your heart and mind to at any given moment. To set you mind, heart, and spirit on the Lord for an un-distracted length of time to find stillness, peace among the chaos to hear His still small voice, or moving and flowing to worship music as you completely surrender with your all and worship with all of your might, all of your being, all of your spirit, and all of your mind. (See Mark 12:30) I do not know how else to translate the word of God declaring so many times that we are to worship with our whole self. In Him we move and we breath and we have our being. Acts 17:28. To experience the Holy Spirit and the powerful presence of God while you surrender and move in Him is very difficult to describe. It must be experienced. It is our worship in action. Prayer in motion. And so much more!\
    Check out YogaFaith.org with Michelle Thielen.

    1. Avatar

      Unjay

      May 25, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Wow, that is a very inspiring way to see the practice!

  16. Avatar

    Miette

    May 25, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to read how many Christians out there are practicing yoga! Yay! I have been practicing for two years now, and have known only a couple of other believers who practice too. Over the years I have heard so much negativity about the “new age” aspect of yoga. It actually kept me from practicing fifteen years ago when I first wanted to…but not any more. Now I am a Believer AND a yogi. I don’t feel that the two conflict at all! It’s truly so very sad that so many people are missing out on the many benefits of practice due to beliefs. I wish I had started years ago when I first wanted to. I guess that too was part of my growing process…learning to not be constrained by other people’s beliefs.

    1. Avatar

      Unjay

      May 25, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      Love your Zentangles!

  17. Avatar

    Vanessa

    May 25, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    I remember reading an article about a Mormon Buddist a few years back. After that I realized that we all need to find something that grounds us philosophy and or religion. I go to church every Sunday, but when I hit my mat it’s my therapy! I worked out my fears of never being able to conceive, then what it felt like to have a little life growing inside, and then when my dad attempted sucicid! My mat has caught more then sweat but my tears as will! I sometimes spend my practice meditating on inner strength and then the next week, presence. I need both in my life and together I am who I want to be.

  18. Avatar

    Joyce

    May 25, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    I too am thrilled of all the born again believers in Jesus who find yoga to be good for the mind. Erin I have you to thank for being such a bad yogi, you aren’t into/or push the spiritual side of yoga. Thank you for making it about getting our bodies in good shape, being flexible and aging well. After all as Christians we are told to treat our bodies as temples for God. Thank you for making yoga about being a better me and not about religion. Love this.

  19. Avatar

    Unjay

    May 25, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Huge topic.
    Firstly, God is by definition infinite and therefore cannot be owned by a person. This is why I never trust anyone who tells me they alone know what God thinks about anything and that my own personal experience is wrong. If yoga takes you to a spiritual place, how dare anyone tell you you are wrong?
    Secondly, yoga DOES come from a spiritual tradition, Hinduism. Its whole purpose was to yoke together (that’s what the word “yoga” means) body and soul. If you are a Christian, you believe God created both. So how can it be wrong to practice a moving meditation on God’s creation in the most personal way possible- God’s creation of your total being? Personally, I grew up in the old school Catholic tradition which was very strong on the body being the home of sin and everything bad and the soul just trapped and held back by the weaknesses of the body. I am still unlearning that misguided, misleading teaching. Yoga helps me to experience- not just theorize or take on blind faith- that all of God’s creation is good, that humans are created body and soul by God and we are grateful for that.
    Thirdly, once you start to look into the Indian traditional yoga teachings, you find something called the Yamas and Niyamas. They are a list of virtues you should practice as part of a yogic lifestyle. Guess what? They are completely compatible with the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. Be truthful. Avoid violence. Avoid coveting and greed. Et cetera.
    So, far from being in conflict with Christianity, I actually believe yoga can deepen your Christian faith and make it more real.

  20. Avatar

    Sarah

    May 25, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    I started my practice here and went on to become a Holy Yoga teacher (Christian Yoga) so, of course, I think they can be combined. I also teach secular classes, so I teach them much like Erin’s classes, without a spiritual intention. Yoga practiced this way is accessible to everyone! That is why Erin’s classes are such a great place for anyone to start their practice.

  21. Avatar

    Sydni

    May 25, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Great question, thanks for approaching it! I love yoga and am a Christian – sometimes I like to just do yoga for exercise, but usually I use it to meditate at least a little and pray to the God I believe in. 🙂

  22. Avatar

    Jen

    May 25, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    I think yoga-asana or yoga posture practice should not be separated from its “spiritual” element – however, I think that the spiritual element can be really flexible. The yoga sutras make it clear that the purpose of yoga is to calm the mind – that’s it! This purpose can be customized to the needs of the practitioner. The spiritual element could simply be calming and nuture-ing yourself and your own body and mind so that you can really “do unto others” in a fuller way. It does not need to be a Hindu spirituality, or even a theist spirituality. Atheists can connect to and shape their own consciousnesses through breath and while that is not strictly spirituality, it does honor the purpose of yoga. Someone else may use backbends to open their heart to their divine presence – to Christ or Krishna or otherwise – and that may lend them the spiritual support they need to calm the mind. But my belief is that to present yoga as only exercise is divorcing the practice from much of its purpose, potential and heritage. I also think that practitioners should be aware of the potential spiritual scope of the practice and its Indian heritage. I am a yoga instructor also and I work hard to make sure people in my sessions 1) are aware that practicing yoga does not have be asana or postures only 2) is a generous gift from India and 3) has an enormous potential to shape their consciousness if they practice in a certain way. Of course, if they want exercise only I will not discourage them from seeking another instructor! It is my own belief that some care must be taken to preserve the power of yoga. Therefore, when I lead practice I always make available a doorway to the spiritual or consciousness shaping potential of the practice. So even though I believe yoga and spirituality – or perhaps yoga and consciousness maintenance is a better phrase – should not be separated, I don’t think this means that there is not room for Christianity. We have yoga Sutras 1.39: [the mind becomes tranquil by]…contemplating or concentrating on whatever object or principle one may like, or towards which one has a predisposition, the mind becomes stable and tranquil. Meditate on Mother Earth! On Christ! On Breath! It’s all good!

  23. Avatar

    Judy (judydoesyoga)

    May 26, 2016 at 1:37 am

    People ask me this all the time, and I’m pretty sure a lot of my Christian friends do Pilates instead of yoga for the very same reasons that you’ve brought up in the Q&A 😀 However, like everything, I think yoga exists on a spectrum. On the one side is hardcore exercise, and on the other, religious beliefs expressed through movement and meditation. The first every yoga class I went to (that wasn’t in my living room with Erin!!) was at an Ashram near my house. Even though all the Swamis there are vegetarians and practice strict fasting and mediation, they are the warmest people ever. There’s a chant and a universal prayer before each class, but I found it calmed me down and I was never pressurized to partake in any way. What I DID like was how the instructors emphasized that FEELING good in a posture was both a mental and a physical thing. If you felt insecure or anxious, they encouraged you to skip the posture and focus on self-love for a few moments, because it was more beneficial in their eyes that you felt good emotionally than the 2-minute physical benefit from a posture that you weren’t able to perform. Every time they did head stands, I just lay in savasana and practiced smiling 🙂 So I’d encourage anyone on the exercise side of yoga to try what might seem like a more “religious” class at least once. You might be pleasantly surprised 🙂

  24. Precious Moments

    Precious Moments

    May 26, 2016 at 4:28 am

    Hi, I was brought up in a Christian household and I would say that we were led to believe that Yoga could not be practiced. However things change and now still a Christian, I, my dad, my husband and our kids all practice. I am really enjoying getting into it and I am intrigued as to where my practice will lead me.

  25. Avatar

    Anni

    May 26, 2016 at 5:02 am

    I was raised as a Christian but I wouldn’t call myself religious. Still, I think yoga and any religion can coexist, because for me, yoga is about myself, my body, my mind. It is about doing something for me that makes me feel better. The Meditation has nothing to do with religion, it rather focuses my mind on how I feel an why I feel that way. So, for everyone that has issues with incorporating yoga into their beliefs, I would suggest to try to think of it as a practice for your body and your mind to focus on yourself and do something just for you.

    1. Avatar

      Turtlemoon

      May 26, 2016 at 3:19 pm

      🙂 I can very much relate to this thought logic. I was also raised in a catholic house: teen groups, prayer group, 2 masses a week, church camp etc … but am not religious. I am spiritual. I feel there are so many different names that all refer back to “religion” or beliefs. Yoga does bring the focus inward, to you, to work on you, to heal you and for you to get to know you. Meditation as well, hand in hand. My beliefs are nature / energy based. While I highly respect the origins of yoga and the belief side behind the practice, because of the flow of breath and energy active in yoga , I feel all belief systems that are not intent on harming can easily be incorporated into a practice. So many religions have similar basic principles (when you really break them down) that I have never really understood the chaos behind the discussion on this topic.

  26. Avatar

    Toby

    May 26, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Thanks for your take on this topic. I too, am a Christian and have practiced yoga for years. I find it easy to separate the two. In fact, when I am in a meditative pose, I will often pray a prayer of thanks for this practice God has created (along with the rest of creation : )

    Amen, Sister!

  27. Avatar

    Valari

    May 26, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I appreciate you Erin. I’m a Holy Yoga instructor and have the opportunity to use the physical discipline of the postures, the breathing, and the meditation aspects of yoga to bring those that attend my class into an open space for God the Father to work. I appreciate your call to find an experience that works for you and I appreciate your openness. As a Christian it isn’t my job to convert others to Christ but to follow Him and get out of the way for Him to do the calling.

  28. Avatar

    Jayson Kriedler

    May 26, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Hi Erin! I’ve been a fan of yours for a couple years now and I appreciate all you do to help us all learn and enjoy yoga. I am a Christian myself and I go to yoga classes 3 times a week and occasionally get to teach a class. I see absolutely no conflict with a Christian practicing yoga. First of all, yoga is a practice, a form of exercise, not a religion. The reason yoga was originally practiced by devoutly religious men was to enlighten them physically as well as spiritually. We all agree that the body is like a temple and we need to maintain it properly. Yoga is a great exercise form in itself and also in conjunction with other forms and practices. Personally, I can see Jesus practicing yoga. I’ve long believed that Jesus was adept at martial arts as well and there are several scriptures that support this theory. Again Erin, thank you for being an inspiration to me and other yogis and yoginis everywhere! : )

  29. Avatar

    Mercedes Franco

    May 26, 2016 at 11:02 am

    No problem in combining both….. What is wrong with getting to be your best self? That comes in all religions and is not exclusive of anyone…. Religions that tell you that their way is the only way… well think if you had been born in Borneo, or in China, or in India, or in … is your chance of being a good person and “going to heaven”a geographic accident?? I don’t think so…

  30. Avatar

    Jen

    May 26, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I appreciated your thoughts, Erin. I am an atheist and “discovered” yoga when I was rehabilitating a torn Achilles. I’ve since grown and deepened my practice. I understand the spiritual nature in the roots of yoga, and I’m with you in the idea that you can bring to it what you will and take from it what you need. I didn’t realize that people were discouraged from yoga because of religion and I find that intriguing. Thank you for looking to unite people instead of excluding them, for looking for what works instead of what doesn’t and for creating this community that is open. I admire you taking on the tough questions and being a forum for learning.

  31. Avatar

    Shannon

    May 26, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Good on you, touching on such a sensitive topic. Though I wouldn’t expect much dissension in the comments, since most people commenting are probably people who do yoga, I am happy to see so many people who are Christian embracing yoga from any direction and finding their own way, sometimes in spite of what they were taught was allowable.

    I recently read an article that talked about how Christians shouldn’t colour mandala drawings because they encourage meditation on a non-Christian spiritual entity – essentially evil, in the way the author told it. (So many adult colouring books are made up of them, I think solely because they offer many small spaces and look pretty.) The article grouped yogis right in there with, basically, “bad” people, and as such the whole thing made me really upset. I only mention this because I always like to hear of people recognizing that meditation, yoga, chanting, looking at intricate designs … whatever! isn’t a wholly “other” pursuit, and can be worked into one’s life in whatever capacity feels right to that person.

    I identify as a pagan, and as such yoga fits quite easily into my world view, but I love to know that the yoga community has become such a sampling of the world’s belief systems. We’re all on the same path, after all, in that we’re striving to Be Kind!

    Thanks again for your insight. Much love!

  32. Avatar

    Rebecca

    May 27, 2016 at 7:54 am

    I am a Christian, and I believe that I am covered by Christ’s grace. This grace brings freedom from legalism, lists of do’s and don’ts, and the freedom to love God, love people, and live life serving both!

    Now what does this freedom have to do with yoga? For me, it means that if I can practice yoga with a pure conscience, caring for the body that God gave me and meditating on his truth, then I will (and I do)! But, if there were a scenario where me practicing yoga would cause a weaker brother or sister to stumble in their faith and their own conscience, then I would refrain from practicing, in order to show love to that person. For me as a Christian then, yoga is a deeply personal choice that stems from my own convictions, but that I am thankful for!

    And if you’re curious about where my Christian yoga philosophy comes from, it really stems from 1 Corinthians 8, substituting “yoga” for “food”. 🙂

  33. Avatar

    Ruth

    May 29, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Hi Erin! Great conversation and good on you for bringing it up.

    I want to direct people towards this book: Light Sitting in Light: A Christian’s Experience in Zen by Elaine MacInnes. It’s an account of a Christian nun learning to meditate from Zen Buddhist masters and reconciling this with her religious beliefs.

    (Zen Buddhist meditation is “Just Sitting” meditiation or silent meditation which we practice in yoga and is a method of quieting the mind and connecting with your true self).

    Namaste,
    Ruth

  34. Avatar

    Heather

    May 29, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Thank you for this! I completely agree with what you’re saying, and that’s actually why I watch you! I never feel uncomfortable in the fact that I’m a Christian. I have taken other yoga classes, and felt that I was “praying” to things I didn’t believe in. So thank you for this Erin!

  35. Avatar

    Jennifer

    May 31, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I am Christian as well and fell that yoga is a wonderful gift. I do believe that it brings it’s best benefits when connected with the spirituality aspect of it, but that is your own personal spirituality and whatever that means to you.

    When I meditate, I connect with God or just use the time to calm my anxiety. After every practice I thank God for the ability to do what I just did and honor the body that He gave me.

    I suffered from Postpartum Depression and PTSD – yoga was an incredible tool for me to get through these difficult periods – I find it hard to believe that God would look down on anything that would help bring happiness in such a natural way.

  36. Avatar

    Dr Sushil Sharma

    July 29, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Namaste to all. Religions are a blot on humanity and they do no good but divide humans and create conflicts among them. Hindu or hinduism are words invented by people who invaded india be it British or muslim invaders. The traditions that are from india are not religious but Dharmic, and all the traditions teach about ultimate freedom to humans in the form of moksha following righteous path that is Dharma. And these traditions are so many in numbers like sankhya, jain Buddhism vaishnav etc that Dharmic people have wide concepts like that of karmic cycle and Vasudev kutumbkam etc where the entire world is considered to be one family. Difference of opinion are debated and not forced upon. For a dharmic person there is no problem in accepting Jesus or Alah to be God as these traditions give individual right to practice , for example even in a single family one will come across worshiping different forms of Supreme without any conflict as no one forces their opinion on each other. But it’s difficult for a christian or muslim to do the same as there is no concept of individual freedom. Fundamental concept of Dharmic tradition is that we are all divine pure, blissful and capable of attaining everlasting bliss and moksha which is in direct conflict with that of fundamental concept of christianity which believes that we are all sinful. Yoga is a practice to attain that bliss divinity and that oneness of the supreme Brahman. Every posture, every mantra has its own significance, as through body we train mind and through sound of mantra we awaken the hidden power of non coding 98%DNA which the west had considered to be junk. These mantras are specific and they have their own auditory properties. All humans are same and if you believe this fundamental thing then you should accept the fact that is never only jesus is true or Alah is true and real. In religion you are programmed to believe whatever is taught to you with the emphasis that if you don’t believe that you will burn in hell. But Dharmic traditions we are taught to be seekers and not believers and that’s another fundamental difference. Now practice of yoga is for the entire humanity and one should use ones own intellect to reason through religion free lens. No Sage or Rishis have ever told is only for indians. But rather is the other way round , ever other day either some church , father or muslim cleric saying that it is devil saitanic etc etc,, and poor humans already caught up in the dogma of religion obey them out of fear. But with revolution in information and technology facts can not be kept hidden. 2 billion people are doing yoga and that’s what threaten the Abrahmic religions so what can not be banned by church is integrated in their teaching but with after being derooted from the parent source like holy yoga christian yoga etc. I am sorry if I have hurt anyone, but I just want to request everyone just be humans and follow the righteous path or way of living. Have healthy peaceful, blissful love that is full of freedom to choose what your heart days right. Shed all that which you think is rubbish. Delete those files from your brain which you have not installed but others. Love the creation of rah and every creatures. Love a non violent life.

  37. Avatar

    Dr Sushil Sharma

    July 29, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Sorry for some typing mistakes

  38. Avatar

    Café

    February 4, 2018 at 9:07 am

    I am a Christian and a Theology student. I do yoga daily, and am going to do the teacher training classes. I am strongly involved with the church, I have a Street ministry as well as volunteer with a Christian human trafficking outreach. I believe that nothing can separate you from God in Christ Jesus. Like you said, we can pray during chanting time or use a Christian mantra ( Jesus is Lord…). I get some controversy from Angelican and Catholic Christians frequently. But I am opposed to many of their practices, as well. Yoga has changed and benefitted my life in so many ways. I love Jesus, and I love yoga. My strong faith has opened the door for other followers of Christ to come to try, and continue in their yoga practice. And I love seeing the positive changes happen in their lives. Thank you for this post.

  39. Avatar

    Monica

    April 6, 2018 at 12:00 am

    I am about to embark on a new journey with yoga, by taking a teacher training class, my upbringing also shunned yoga as a new age practice. To me yoga has helped calm my anxiety, create awareness, strength, balance and flexibility, Yoga can be anything to anyone but simply going to the gym did not do these things for me. Yoga can be practiced for long term. I am not grounded in my faith with Jesus but hope to be one day, and I am sure my yoga will not interfere with that relationship since it is not a religious experience for me. Simply a mind and body connection.

  40. Avatar

    Clara

    July 17, 2018 at 11:54 am

    A lot of very thoughtful, intelligent Christian responses here.

    I’ve never done yoga but my daughter has and she loves it and we are both Born Again Christians, (Baptist and Nazarene background).

    I’m curious about yoga and I might give it a whirl myself. Particularly interested in stretching my 60 year old joints and becoming more flexible.

    As far as the spirituality of it, well I look at it like this: I’m a Christian, I firmly believe that everything under the sun belongs to the Lord.
    If a type of exercise includes training your mind to focus, think clearly, relax, etc., it is no different than any other neutral physical discipline. If it improves my focus, my prayer life– if my fellowship with Christ is improved through this discipline, I would look at it as a blessing.

    Put more simply: The movements of the body, a discipline to clear thought are not innately sinful, nor is it a betrayal of one’s Faith, anymore then regular, relaxing walks in a forest make one a Druid. God judges us by our hearts.

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