When you picture a yogi leading a class through their asanas, very seldom does it also conjure up images of Jesus Christ at the same time. It’s a very well known fact that yoga is deeply rooted in Hinduism. Yoga was to be used as a way to reach a state of nirvana. Even today, yoga is as much a spiritual experience as it is a physical one.
For Christians, performing yoga knowing the history of it may make them feel a little uncomfortable. Since the Bible makes no mention of yoga, and yoga is rooted in Hinduism, does that mean you are practicing a different religion when you go to yoga class?
For concerned Christian Yogi’s, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Not only is it perfectly acceptable to be a Christian and do yoga at the same time, it may even deepen your connection with God. After all, yoga is a deeply spiritual experience. If you choose to connect it with your own God, it can only deepen your relationship.
In recognition of this growing need, many yoga studios are opening up that are specifically geared towards Christians. These classes take that same sense of spiritualism and focus it accordingly.
If you are struggling with this, you are not alone. Many pastors have spoken out against yoga, calling it a form of Hindu worship and nothing more. One Catholic Church even went so far as to ban a yoga class previously welcomed in their halls out of concern for it being mistaken as Hindu worship.
Rebecca French from YogaLondon offered a wise answer in reply to this. “If I was to kneel down does that mean I’m praying – or am I just kneeling?”
There are many Christian traditions we have with religious ties rooted in paganism and other religions. Easter itself was evolved from the worship of the goddess Ishtar. Early Christian monks accepted the pagan traditions of the time, and transformed pagan holidays most beloved to us into some of our most beloved and spiritually fulfilling holidays.
Christianity is about living a fulfilling life that brings us closer to God. Yoga is a very spiritual experience, and it can help us get closer to God, and achieve a better sense of self control.
It’s up to you to determine whether Yoga will bolster your faith or weaken it. That’s a decision only you can make, but for many, it’s a strong encourager of their faith in Christ. If you’re interested in learning how to obtain better focus, a stronger and more flexible body, while still staying centered in Christ, look for yoga classes designed for Christians.
Not only will you be surrounded with people who have similar views, you’ll also look and feel healthier too. There’s no reason not to take yoga, so get out there and give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.
“When you own your own breath, nobody can steal your peace”.
Cheers! Monique Stephanie