We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Christian Yoga"?!?

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.”


Anonymous said...


Thank you!!! for posting this topic. Far too many Christians are engaging in yoga, sometimes justifying it by calling it "christian" yoga (little c intentional, as it can never be Christian). It's a very disturbing and concerning trend. Very timely post.

As believers, aren't we supposed to pursue sanctification, not the ways of the world? God is never pleased with syncretism, and tells us plainly to stay separate from unholy things. Engaging in yoga is provoking Christ.

1 Cor 10
21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?

Caryl Matrisciana has some helpful information on her website, as she grew up in India. Sola Sisters also have some good posts (search their site under "yoga"), including information from former new ager, now sister in the Lord, Marcia Montenegro (of CANA).

Excellent post, you have done well to inform - and warn - the saints.


ali said...

It would seem with all the information on yoga the church would see their error and repent.

Discernment - a thing of the past for millions in the body of Christ today.

Richard Ferguson said...

Just because my life isn't complete when I'm not poking a bear ...

The same arguments are used by those who consider Christmas a sin. Why reject the arguments in one case and accept it in another?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


It is a FACT that Yoga is Hinduism. It is a FACT that Yoga is a Hindu spiritual exercise. It is a FACT that without the spiritual exercise part of it, then it isn't Yoga.

Christians are not to worship false gods, and Hinduism is the worship of false gods.

Christmas, on the other hand, is not a pagan religious practice, nor is there any pagan spirituality involved with it, nor is it worshiping false gods. Those who TRY to make such arguments for Christmas cannot make their case from Scripture, or history. They almost always resort to Alexander Hislop's book -which has been roundly denounced by scholars for decades - to make their "case."

The two issues are in no way similar.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn, if I may, I'd like to share a thought. And this comment can be just for you if you so choose, I don't want to derail your blog or pick a quarrel or have everyone off on a rabbit trail.

You are absolutely right, yoga = Hinduism. It is a purely pagan spiritual practice, no questions about it at all. Every posture is a worship pose to a pagan deity. There's no room for other interpretation, and it has ZERO place in the church.

Christmas - this is how my husband and I have come to approach it:

The holiday is in some ways an amalgamation, though no true believer in Christ is worshipping false gods. The joyful nativity of our precious Savior is Biblical truth, and I believe that is the intent of what all true believers are seeking to celebrate. Nothing pagan there.

However, the date - is not from Scripture, so we do need to admit man chose that date. And unfortunately it does coincide with a pagan festival (not referencing Hislop). That festival, like most pagan festivals, was a time of raunch and revelry (which of course Christians have no part of).

To most of the world, it's a day when people spend a lot of money (sometimes unto debt) on gifts for other people, and eat a lot. Some Christians can get caught up in the worldly aspects, just as we can get caught up in other worldly things from time to time.

The name of the holiday - is catholic, Christ Mass.

Personally, my husband and I rejoice in our Savior, thank God for His Son - His miraculous birth God incarnate - and for His atoning death at Calvary - but we don't pay particular attention to Christmas as a holiday. We do try to be gracious with other believers with regard to this issue.

Grace and peace to you, in Christ,


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Carolyn,

Since every day belongs to the Lord, and we don't know when Christ was born, there is really nothing wrong with choosing any day of the year to celebrate His birth. There are actually some really good discussions about when Christ was born - some claiming summer and others claiming winter. One of the most intriguing commentaries I read was that late summer was the birth, meaning late December was the conception!

While the vast majority of Christians have no idea the origin of choosing the day, the few who do THINK they know the origin try to paint those who celebrate Christmas as following paganism. However, from my research, there was already a tradition of celebrating Christ's appearance in late December, which made it easy to transfer a Saturnalia celebration to a celebration of Christ.

Whatever the origin, the point is that we can choose any day because all days are the Lord's.

The unfortunate this is the worldly celebration of "Clausmas." Too many Christians join in on this revelry and to the pushing off of what the celebration should really be about.

Again, the name origin being in Romanism is no big deal, because not many people understand the etymology. If we picked apart the names of the months and days, we'd have even worse things to worry about!

You might take a look at an article I wrote about Christmas:

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,

Thanks for the follow up, I appreciate it. I looked at your article as per your link. As we both understand, unless something is explicitly in the written word, we have to do our best to make a judgment based on Scripture. With regard to the exact date of Christ's birth, we both are in agreement that anything anyone comes up with is conjecture. I've also read all sorts of discussions of when Christ was born. Some said the fall- during the Feast of Tabernacles (from Lev 23), because Christ is God tabernacling in human flesh with us. Since the OT Scriptures are these which testify of Him (John 5:39), that seemed like a plausible explanation to us. But again, we can't be dogmatic because Scripture is silent on the issue.

We also read that the holiday tradition commenced with Constantine and the amalgamation of the Roman Empire with the Christian Church. But again, since Scripture canon was closed before that juncture of time, we're left having to judge the records of fallible secular historians. The only infallible truth we have is the written word.

I agree with your input regarding Romans 14, which ultimately is a passage on Christian love one to another. On disputable matters, absolutely we are to be willing to give up our liberties in love. Romans 14:5

Regarding Christmas, I appreciate when Christians openly acknowledge that the chosen day of Dec 25 was picked by man, recognize that the holiday is a tradition (not a command such as baptism), and are willing to discuss the history civilly. As you said, some Christians will accuse Christmas celebrators as engaging in paganism; the opposite is also true, where Christmas celebrators will accuse those who do not celebrate the day as being sullen, joyless, legalistic, etc. My husband and I, who do not celebrate Christmas, were joking ridiculed by a fellow believer as being Jehovah's Witnesses. An aside, our decision was based on a rabbit trail study we did several years ago, that branched off from a study on the spiritual gifts. Our conclusion was that we'd try to just do what is expressly in Scripture, as in Acts 2:42, Gal 5:13. Since God didn't tell us to celebrate Christ's birth specifically, we try to rejoice in the Lord each day, for each day is His, as you so wisely said.

We do know when Christ died - Passover - because He is our Passover (1 Cor 5:7). He has fulfilled this Feast, and brought us into the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:13). The Feasts of the Lord, the shadows of the substance in Christ (Colossians 2:16-17). He was slain for our sins, to bring unholy people reconciled to God through faith in Christ's finished work (Romans 5:10). And God has definitely given us a way to remember His death (past) until He comes (future) - every time we break bread (1 Cor 11:26). In this, we can rejoice because one day we will all be together, in His presence, forever, united, perfect, and sinless. Now that is something to celebrate!

Thanks again for the discussion - and for letting me practically post a blog in the comments. Which again, if you want to keep this a personal comment, I will take no offense. It's your "home" on the internet, not mine, and I'm your guest.

In Christ,


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I always allow the comments as long as they address the issue of the post. Since a commenter brought up the issue of Christmas - trying to compare the celebration of it with the practice of yoga - then the followup to demonstrated the difference was germane.

What I won't post are comments which are nothing but ad hominem attacks, false teachings, or links to false teachings. And since you've never done any of that, I accept your comments :oD.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Glenn, and I appreciate the spirit in which your blog is maintained. You are willing to discuss challenging subjects, even allowing differing views as we all do our best to understand God's word, but things never are allowed to descend to ad hom attacks or blog-battles.


Ed Hird+ said...

Your thoughts and feedback are most welcome,

Ed Hird+

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

You did as many do - tried posting your comment several times without it showing up. It doesn't show up until I review it - comments are moderated.

Thank you for the article, and I think you did an outstanding job of explaining the history, etc behind Yoga, except I disagree with your explanation of 1 Cor. 8 as having to do with saying grace at the meal - no such thing is even intimated.

For those of my readers who want to read Mr. Hird's article, I recommend it; however I have to caution that Mr. Hird is an Anglican priest and will therefore have some teachings which those evangelicals such as I will have great disagreement with.

Also Mr. Hird was past president for Alpha Canada - and the Alpha Course has been exposed on my site and many others as being rife with false teachings; whether he promotes this course on his site I couldn't tell.

I just want to make it known that while I can recommend Mr. Hird's article about Yoga, I cannot recommend anything else on his site because I don't have time to examine it.

Mr. Hird, I only give this caveat because the link will allow my readers to access more of your teaching which I have not examined, and therefore I want them to know I am not recommending anything else.

Anonymous said...

The yoga craze is in public schools, too. Christian parents in San Diego, CA sued to have yoga stopped. One parent did not like the sun salutations according to a CNN article. The judge ridiculed the parents as he ruled yoga is only exercise. At least one newspaper reporter openly ridiculed the Christian parents as well as commenters on the article calling Christians horrible names. (I thought yoga/new age people were all about love, peace, unity, tolerance?)
I started reading directly from yoga/Hindu websites and they make it clear that yoga exercises are specifically designed for worshiping Hindu gods. The sun salutations are poses to the worship the Hindu sun god Surya. Shiva (the destroyer) is the god of yoga and the one that is active in bringing about the kundalini serpent power as the chakras are opened with yoga. Each chakra has Hindu gods working to open it on the way to the main goal of the kundalini awakening. Yoga/Hindu websites even have warnings about kundalini yoga - if not done properly it can bring about very painful debilitating physical symptoms.

Our schools are teaching kids to worship Hindu gods, and now Christians are jumping on the bandwagon. Incredible.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

You are so correct. The government schools (indoctrination centers) will not allow anything Christian to be mentioned, all the while the inculcate our children in humanism, Hinduism, Islam, Evolutionism, and the occult!