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Posted by Sumair Mirza in Christian Living, Reflections

Christian Yoga = oxymoron

“The Outstretched philosophy is simple: we believe God will bless our sincere efforts at deepening a relationship with Him. He wants our fellowship and appreciates creative approaches to seeking His face. This is why Outstretched is dedicated to a Christ-centered pursuit of physical healing and spiritual growth through a practice of yoga.

This Christian approach to yoga simply allows us to combine these two essential goals: becoming physically healthy and spiritually healthy. We become more spiritually healthy through the yoga practice by calming our minds and quieting ourselves to the point that we can tune out the world’s frequency and tune into God’s frequency.”

The above text is a direct quote (emphasis added) from the first Christian yoga site that appears when I use Google to search “Christian Yoga”. As you read it, how do you feel? Apathetic? Troubled? Dismayed? Frustrated?

My reaction occurred in rapid fire succession as I read the aforementioned text:

  • “Sincere efforts” – sounds like the post-modern emphasis of sincerity being a supreme virtue above God’s objective Truth, doesn’t it?
  • “Creative approaches” – does this really work on Christians out there? Has God called us in accordance with Scripture to utilize creative approaches to seek Him or has He already delivered how we can accomplish this?
  • “Christ-centred” – Seriously? Is this really Christ centred? Isn’t it as self-centred as Hinduism and Buddhism gets? Isn’t it about the “god” in ourselves? (notice the quote located on the book above). It also reminds me of a bumper sticker I once saw expounding Hinduism’s self-deifying precepts: “May the Divine in Me bless the Divine in You.”

Perhaps you feel I am arguing semantics and you fall into the category of “Christian” that agrees with this quote from Christian Yoga Magazine: “So, the bottom line is this: If you’ve been thinking about trying out yoga but are concerned about the alleged “spiritual dangers,” forget about it. The people who prattle on about that have rarely stepped inside a yoga studio in their lives. What you’ll find is probably people exactly like yourself — stiff, overworked, semi-arthritic, stressed-out modern men and women — who are trying to ease the kinks out of their tired bodies and souls. And that is a good thing. Namaste!”

“Alleged ‘spiritual dangers,’ forget about it.” – since when was that the command? What is the rationale to just move past the heritage of Yoga and its pluralistic origins founded in Hinduism and carried on in the self-focused Buddhism? What about the real and present danger of emptying mind and interfacing with the evil entities of the spiritual realm?

Ironically, I am afforded the luxury of even being able to appeal to the Hindu American Foundation to make clear that Christianity and Yoga are NOT compatible –It is a sad irony that some churches seek to exploit Hindu pluralism, and its gift of yoga, to increase their own legion of churchgoers.” Sad indeed! Irony indeed! Disgraceful that a Hindu organization calls this out while some Christians remain blissfully ignorant!

Curious to learn more? Perhaps you will find this link a good read (Thanks Neil for sending it my way).

Other suggested resources:

This is me sharing about what is running through my mind…