Yoga is an ancient meditative practice in a number of Eastern religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. In essence, it’s a practice that teaches one to control all of the body’s functions and unite them towards one central focus.
Here in the United States, while some practice Yoga in accordance with it’s history and purpose, it is more frequently becoming simply a good workout.
Albert Mohler, though, sees something devious in Yoga.
Mohler said he objects to “the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine.” “That’s just not Christianity.”
On this point, I think Mr. Mohler is incorrect. Luke 10:25-28 tells us:
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
In addition, Paul often talks about how the body is the new ‘temple’ in which Christ resides.
The body is a vehicle to reach consciousness with the divine. Loving God is to be with our entire being…our minds, our souls, and our strength (body).
Another main focus of Yoga is teaching yourself to be still, focus, and concentrate on the nature of the object you’re meditating on. In Psalm 46:10, we are commanded to “Be still and know that I am God!”. The Hebrew word used here comes from the verb (רפה) rapha, meaning to be weak, to let go, to release. In essence, we are to let go of ourselves, of all that we think we can control, and focus on the nature, the power, the majesty of God.
In Yoga, this concept is expressed as follows:
Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the sense organs from external objects.
Dharana: Fixing the attention on a single object.
Dhyana: Intense contemplation of the nature of the object of meditation.
Paul even talks about something similar in Col 3:2 – “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”
If Mr. Mohler wants to make the point that, in Yoga, there is no messiah, no savior, then he would be correct that Yoga is not Christianity. Outside that, however, there is nothing to suggest that the practice of Yoga is incompatible with Christianity. In fact, as has been shown, there’s a number of scripture verses that support Yoga-like practices as being part of everyday Christian life.
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