Balancing my love for Christ and yoga

As a believer of Christ, there are some concerns with practicing yoga – even the asanas. During my preparation to baptism, there was a checklist on acts of worship you partake in which included yoga. Intrigued, I went to research more while considering whether to start YTT – to further deepen my understanding and ensure I wasn’t acting in a way that didn’t honour Christ. (1 Cor 8:9, NIV: “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”)

Yoga –

  • Rooted/started out in other religions e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism.
  • Has poses, sequences, chants, mantras that worship deities e.g. sun salutations – to worship the Hindu god Surya. These are gods other than the God we believe in.
  • Meditation requires you to clear your mind which may allow you to be more susceptible to spiritual attacks, when we could be focusing our mind on Christ.

Fellow believers did ask me about whether it’s alright to practice yoga, especially as I’m on the journey to be a yoga teacher – they said that learning and teaching the different yoga limbs, mantras etc. would mean practicing these which could possibly affect my own relationship with God and being a stumbling block to other believers.

Amidst these concerns, and after much prayer and deliberation, I still decided to continue on this yoga journey. Here’s why –

  • It only has as much meaning as you accord to it. E.g. if I’m performing the sun salutations, it doesn’t mean I’m worshiping the Hindu god Surya if I don’t have such an intention. So long as I just treat this as an asana sequence, there is no further meaning to it.
  • While we are to clear our mind in poses e.g. shavasana (corpse pose), Christian yoga practitioners can still use this time to focus their mind on God and use it as quiet time.
  • In all that you do, seek the Holy Spirit to guide your actions. Then you don’t have to be afraid 😊 (Gal 5:16, ESV: “But I say, walk by the Spirit.”

Religion aside, there are so many health benefits to yoga and it has helped keep me calm even in uncertainty and negativity. One word advice for you who might be considering yoga: constantly evaluate what you’re doing – ingest the information and digest it yourself – and come up with what works for you. If yoga isn’t affecting your walk with God, then why not!