Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Too many Christians are getting involved with “Christian Yoga” without understanding that Yoga is Hinduism, which, of course, is incompatible with Christianity.
The July-August 2004 edition of the Areopagus Journal (published by the Apologetics Resource Center) was about yoga, with four articles explaining what yoga is and why Christians should not be participating in it. Below are citations from that Journal issue, which should give you pause for thought if you are thinking about practicing this form of Hinduism.
(For those unfamiliar with my normal practice with citations, the original citations are in blue, while citations within a citation are magenta.)
“[From Integral Yoga Magazine interview with Shri Yogi Hari]: ‘It is the teacher’s responsibility to make the students understand that yoga is a highly spiritual practice. The reason it is spiritual is because you are a spirit.... the soul, the Atman functioning through these bodies. We are teaching yoga so that you will experience your Higher Self. If you want to have good health, if you want to experience happiness, you can only experience that whey you can touch who you are, the Self. . .then they can see that Yoga is not just a physical thing.’
“As one yoga leader said, ‘Yoga without a spiritual component is just gymnastics.’”
From Craig Branch’s article “Veritas: Stretching the Truth?”
“Thus, yoga is historically a religious philosophy and spiritual practice. Accordingly, Robert E. Van Voorst defines yoga as ‘a physical discipline to promote knowledge that the individual soul and the world are one.’”
“It is difficult to separate any yoga practice from its HIndu roots. It can be said that there is no Hinduism without yoga and no yoga without Hinduism. ... Christian Indian citizen and philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi, however, explains that ‘Yoga was never meant to be a fitness regime. In Indian philosophy yoga is a means to salvation or liberation (moksha). The original philosophy behind yoga defined liberation as the soul’s isolation from the body. Obtaining ‘out-of-body’ experiences is still the goal of some popular forms of yoga.’”
From Clete Hux’s article, “What Is Yoga?”
“[Citing Yoga-Yajnavadka] ‘Yoga is the union of the individual psyche with the transcendental Self.’ ...
“[T]he basic assumptions Yoga makes about the nature of God are completely foreign and incompatible with the Christian belief system. The god of Yoga is spoken of as the Absolute, Higher Self, Ultimate, Divine Consciousness and a host of other titles that speak of an impersonal, pantheistic deity that is in all things, though transcendent beyond them....
“In Yoga, as in Hinduism, the great need of man is to rid himself from karma, the cumulative effect of the good and bad things done in a person’s life that are taken with him to the next life when the soul transmigrates into another body.” ...
Pranayamas are the breathing techniques employed in Yoga. Prana is believed to be the spiritual energy that encompasses all things. Pranayama is a means of controlling this vital energy through breathing. The combination of pranayama and asana is intended to induce the practitioner into an occultic and altered state of consciousness. The practice of breathing techniques is an integral part of all Eastern meditative systems.”
From Keith Gibson’s article, “It Isn’t Just Exercise: The Religious Nature of Yoga.”
For additional information, I recommend Dave Hunt’s small book, “Yoga and the Body of Christ.”