I heard the Hindus want their yoga back.
All forms of yoga are spiritual and aim to experience union with ‘God’, Brahman or universal consciousness. In the West, yoga is considered a means of physical exercise, a way to strengthen the body, improve flexibility, heal or prevent a variety of ailments. Hatha Yoga is a common form of yoga practiced in the West. Most believe that it is purely a form of physical positions and breathing techniques. Iyengar Yoga is the most popular form of Hatha Yoga in the U.S.
Besides having the potential to be physically harmful, yoga can be mentally harmful. Breathing exercises can cause injury to the brain and yoga is capable of endangering one’s sanity through the intense meditation. Most importantly, to a Christian, yoga could be spiritually harmful as it promotes the desire to attain godlike stature.
As a Christian, yoga is utterly incompatible with my beliefs. it is impossible to separate yoga philosophy from yoga practice. Yoga is merely the means of helping the yogi toward a union with ‘God’. As a Christian, I do not believe that my problem is ignorance. The ignorance that can be corrected through meditation, chanting and posturing. My problem is sin. My enlightenment is Jesus. I have salvation for free and cannot earn a positional union with ‘God’. Practicing yoga has the potential to be physically, mentally and spiritually harmful to Christians.
“Physical yoga, according to its classical definition is inherently and functionally incapable of being separated from Eastern religion metaphysics”. ~Dave Fetcho~
Stretching can probably be separated.
Breathing and posturing cannot.
It is best for Christians to choose an exercise program with physical benefits similar to yoga, but without all the negative spiritual issues. Christians should consider low-impact or water aerobics, water ballet, or simply stretching. These programs can be just as beneficial for the body, without potentially endangering the soul.
Additionally, it is offensive to Hindus that Christians use a part of their religious belief as ‘just exercise’. Yoga has a religious connection to Hindus. Just as communion and baptism has a sacred connection to Christians. Exercising/stretching and posturing of yoga are elements of the overwhelmingly spiritual practices of Hinduism. As a Christian, I believe that practicing yoga can be a very dangerous, slippery, slope.
Do your own research before you consider yoga as an option for stretching and exercising. I am so thankful to my very dear friend that brought this to my attention and asked me to do the same. I am so grateful that she did. God bless her for caring about my spiritual well-being.