I remember the conversation I had with my mother when I first started to do Yoga. Specifically Bikram Yoga. I had practiced yoga off and on for years via videos and classes at the local community center. But when I mentioned that I was starting to practice Bikram Yoga, she was concerned. She was concerned that I was worshipping other gods because I practiced yoga - an eastern development.
It is a common question that has been posed in Christian discussion the past decade or so. Because of the origins of yoga many Christians wonder - is this glorifying to God or worshiping another? Is yoga against God's commands? Kind of a silly question to someone who knows the differences in yoga schools but is a serious concern to the majority of Christians who in fact don't know anything about yoga.
A lot of the concern is based on an old knowledge of yoga, not what yoga has evolved into here in the 21st century west culture.
Many people do not realize the vast amounts of varying kinds of yoga schools and practices that are all bunched together under the term "yoga".
Yoga encompasses over 20 plus different types of thoughts of yoga, which include yoga styles focused on the spiritual awakening, moral character, wisdom, as a means of worshiping (Hinduism) and the physical practice of yoga.
I have always and only practiced secular Hatha yoga, with no spiritual or worshiping philosophies. Bikram Yoga which I practiced for a year before my son was born is a type of Hot Yoga. An exhausting and completely physical practice of yoga. Going through the poses only for physical benefits.
However, one thing I love about yoga is that it is an hour/ hour and a half of focusing yourself and letting go of everything that goes on during the day. It is a way to quiet your mind and get connected with yourself.
Contrary to public belief majority of yoga classes now do not have an instructor spewing Hindu or Buddhist passages, and I am most careful about making sure I go to a class that is completely secular. I do this because my yoga time is my time to focus in and worship God. When we would take deep breathes in between poses or relax after a hard yoga session - I would listen to my breathing and give praises to God.
And remind myself with each breath that I was letting God's love, peace, mercy, compassion enter and letting the worlds hate, anger, and depression go. Just let it flow right out of my body and soak in Gods truth to replace it.
Even now as I practice Strala yoga, which focuses on the importance of breathing, daily meditation and doing what makes your body feel the best, I use that time to focus on God's truth and goodness.
**Breathe In God's Glory*
*Breathe Out the Worlds pain*
*Breathe in God's love*
*Breath Out the worlds hate**
On and on and on. Telling my mind God's truths to replace all of the things that cloud my mind.
There are types that I do avoid because of their emphasis on a spirituality contrary to Christianity and am very careful not to place myself in that situation. But it I stick with Hatha type yoga styles then I have the power to glorify God with my body and through my yoga practice.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him Colossians 3:17
And despite some peoples concerns, I practice yoga with confidence because my mind goes into it Glorifying and giving it to God -- and with that I am glorifying God.
But my friends, the point of all of this yoga talk is to point toward a concept that goes way beyond just whether or not yoga glorifies God. Anything that is neutral can be used to glorify or hurt God, whether its yoga, doing the laundry, or eating Chinese food as Kirk Cameron explains haha.
All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16: 2-3
When we do things, lets do it in the name of the Lord so we may Glorify him!