Is Yoga and Christianity Compatible?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Kiffin, Aug 30, 2001.

  1. Kiffin

    Kiffin
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    A popular form of exercise that many practice today is Yoga which has it's origins in Eastern Religion. I have heard of Churches offering Yoga classes. While much of it has been Westernized I wonder if one can separate Yoga from it's Religious origins? Karate and other martial arts also have similar origins and you hear about "Christian" Karate clubs. I don't think I have heard of "Christian" Yoga classes but can such Eastern Exercises as Yoga and Karate be compatible with Christianity even if one takes away the Religious aspects of such and make it only for physical fitness?
     
  2. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kiffin:
    A popular form of exercise that many practice today is Yoga which has it's origins in Eastern Religion. I have heard of Churches offering Yoga classes. While much of it has been Westernized I wonder if one can separate Yoga from it's Religious origins? Karate and other martial arts also have similar origins and you hear about "Christian" Karate clubs. I don't think I have heard of "Christian" Yoga classes but can such Eastern Exercises as Yoga and Karate be compatible with Christianity even if one takes away the Religious aspects of such and make it only for physical fitness?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    No! Please see
    Yoga at Watchman.org [​IMG]
     
  3. War_Eagle

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    Hi, Kiffin,

    I don't really know a lot about yoga but I practice Tai Chi which is used by some in Eastern philosophies to the same ends as yoga.

    The brand of Tai Chi we do has all of the religious aspects removed and, as we practice it, is nothing more than stretching and breathing exercises.

    I haven't been doing it all that long but I've already seen good results. I'm skating faster, I have better puck handling and I recover more easily form hard hits.

    I know people here won't agree but the way I see it, it's not the object itself that's good or bad rather, the purpose you use it for. I would imagine the same principle would apply to yoga.

    About six years ago, Chuck Norris became a Christian. Although he's not the greatest actor, many consider him one of the greatest martial artists ever. He was world champion for many years and is member of several different halls of fame.

    Anyway, a few years before his conversion, one of Chuck's friends (his name escapes me) became a Christian and became uncomfortable with many of the "Eastern" aspcets of the martial arts and sought to create a Christian alternative.

    Chuck Norris has jumped on this bandwagon and is helping to spread this new discipline.

    I'm not sure how relevant that is but thought you'd find it interesting.
     
  4. Mike McK

    Mike McK
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    It's funny but after reading that last post (it was me, under a different name) I remember the benefits I had when practicing Tai-Chi.

    Now that I've stopped, I do see that some of the benefits have faded a bit.
     
  5. Amazing_Grace

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    One subdivision of Raja Yoga is hatha yoga. This is the most popular form being practiced today in the West. Hatha Yoga is divided into eight stages: (1) body purification; (2) postures; (3) mudras (postures that produce psychic/prana/chi energy); (4) breath control; (5) stilling the mind; (6) concentration; (7) meditation; (8) union with God-Shiva (Ibid).

    This is an excerpt from the webpage listed in an earlier post.

    I have practiced some yoga in the past, and I can confidently say that #7 and #8 never occurred. Yoga is just a bunch of stretching. The DVD I have never mentions any gods or goddesses, only to concentrate on your breathing. It is a great way to strengthen the body. The idea that it is not Christian to stretch and tone your body is silly.

    Muslims pray five times a day. If I pray five times a day, does that make me unChristian because someone from another religion does that too? No, it just means I pray five times a day.

    Calm down! If it is done without the religious context, I see nothing wrong with it.
     
  6. qwerty

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    Stretching and toning exercises for the body are not what is in question here. The context is yoga, and what do the specific positions mean in the context of yoga.

    Yoga comes from a 5,000 year old Eastern tradition. It comes out of a religion. The different poses have meaning. They are to help the person interact with the unseen world.
    -------------------------------------

    Most westerners are naive to the religious origin and nature of yoga. Many practitioners, who do, merely presume that the exercises are harmless if they are not practiced with a spiritual intent.

    Yoga is a series of exercises and postures (asanas) which are advertised as a way to tone up, reduce stress and experience tranquility.

    Yoga though is an intrinsic part of Hinduism. Swami Vishnudevananda, well known authority of Yoga, in his book The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga explains the purpose of Yoga, "It is the duty of each developed man to train his body to the highest degree of perfection so that it may be used to pursue spiritual purposes... the aim of all yoga practice is to achieve truth wherein the individual soul identifies itself with the supreme soul of God."

    Hinduism, as do most new age groups, teaches that the ultimate reality is consciousness or energy (God-Brahman). Each individual soul (Atman) has seven energy deposits known as chakras or meridians in his body along the spinal column.

    The yoga positions are designed to align these chakras, for the energy to merge with the ultimate cosmic energy and to experience "Atman is Brahman."

    There are various schools or forms of yoga: Karma Yoga (spiritual union through right conduct); Bhakti Yoga (union with the Absolute by devotion to a guru); Juana or Gyana Yoga (access to God through esoteric knowledge); and Raja Yoga (God-realization through mental control) (Larson's New Book of Cults&lt;./b&gt;, p. 475).

    http://www.watchman.org/na/yoga.htm
    ------------------------------------------

    If you want to do your own research, go to a good search engine like:

    http://www.google.com/

    and search for yoga, yoga positions, yoga positions meaning, etc.

    Please gain some understanding of what yoga is and that it is intended to be part of a religious experience. Then, if you as a Christian, want to participate in yoga, you can do so with the full knowledge that you are interacting with demonic spiritual forces. Then you won't be surprised at the results that will take place in your life as a result of interacting with the demonic.
     
  7. Mike McK

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    So then, qwerty, there are some stretching exercises and breathing exercises that are demonic?

    May we ask which ones are bad and what makes them demonic?

    As for Larson's Book of Cults, this is the same Bob Larson who excuses his behaviour and his doctrinally unsound statements by saying that the Devil has an exact clone of him who runs around the country saying and doing these things in his name. You need to take that into account when you get your information from him.

    He also talks extensively about being attacked by incubi and succubi and claims that he has first hand knowledge of ritual satanic child abuse and molestation but refuses to explain why he's never gone to the police with this knowledge.

    I'm not so sure he's the most credible resource on this subject.
     
  8. qwerty

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    smoke_eater,
    You may have a good reason to bring up Bob Larson, but I am not including him in this topic. Feel free to bash him if you want to. I really know very little about him. If bashing him makes you think you have credibility in your position, so much the better for you. :(

    Yes, there are some, what you call stretching excercises (positions), that attract the demonic.

    When done in the context of yoga, which is from the Hindu religion, the purpose of the stretching positions are to interact with the spiritual world. If you are really an honest inquirer, then you can easily do your own research, and find very quickly that the positions in yoga have religious symbolism. At that point, you will have to ask whether you want to participate in a false religion. If your Christian foundations are very weak, you may well not have any problem with interacting with a false religion.

    One of the issues I have with much of the Body of Christ today is their tolerance of many things that are of false religions. And most of these that interact with false religions have no idea what they are doing. But the results, even though they take time to come to maturity, will eventually surface.
     
  9. Mike McK

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    qwerty,

    you said,

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> You may have good reason to bring up Bob Larson but I am not including him in this discussion. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You're the one who brought him up in the first place. You listed his book, Larson's Book of Cults as one of your references.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Feel free to bash him if you want... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    qwerty, I'm not bashing anyone. I'm merely stating what is common knowledge about Bob Larsons behaviour and teaching. It is entirely appropriate to ask ourselves if someone who mangles basic Christian doctrine, lies continuously, has been shown to have committed fraud and may have committed mail fraud and tax evasion (both of which the law takes a dim view of) is a credible source to turn to for answers to questions of doctrine. This guy is a false teacher of Benny Hinn size proportions and should be dismissed as a false teacher and a fraud by the church.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> If bashing [Bob Larson] makes you think you have credibility in your position...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    qwerty, my credibility doesn't come from Bob Larson. It comes from the fact that I have practiced tai-chi and many of the same stretching a breathing excersises associated with yoga since my teens. I also studied martial arts for about ten years.

    I think that should count as sufficient research.

    Like anything else, it has only as much religious value as you choose to put into it.

    I will ask you again: which stretching and breathing exercises, or positions, are demonic and why?

    [ November 28, 2001: Message edited by: Smoke_Eater ]
     

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