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Is it safe for Christians to Do Yoga?  –


Christians who practice yoga run serious spiritual risks despite the practice’s well-established physical and mental benefits. These risks must be recognized, and we must proceed cautiously when engaging in the practice. This article explores yoga’s spiritual origins and implications, using biblical scriptures to shed light on some potential spiritual pitfalls, and offers our biblically proven recommendations.

Understanding the Origins of Yoga

Yoga originated in ancient India and is profoundly intertwined with Hindu philosophy and spirituality. The word “yoga” means “to yoke” or “to unite,” referring to the union of the individual self with the universal consciousness or divine. Traditional Yoga includes physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), and meditation (dhyana), all designed to prepare practitioners for spiritual awakening and enlightenment.

These practices are rooted in Hindu beliefs and aim to align the practitioner’s body and mind with spiritual energies and deities. Even when Yoga is practiced solely for its physical benefits, its spiritual origins remain inseparable from the practice itself.

The Dangers of Christians Practicing Yoga

1. The First Commandment and idolatry.

The First Commandment, found in Exodus 20:3, commands, “You shall have no other gods before me.” This commandment emphasizes exclusive worship and allegiance to the one true God. Engaging in practices that originate from other religious traditions, such as Yoga, can unintentionally lead Christians to honor other deities or spiritual principles, thus breaking this commandment.

2. Spiritual Syncretism

Yoga can result in a mix of Christian beliefs and non-Christian spiritual practices, known as spiritual syncretism. This blending can dilute the purity of the Christian faith and lead believers away from exclusive devotion to God. The Bible warns against syncretism, as seen in Deuteronomy 12:30–31, where God instructs the Israelites not to adopt the practices of other nations in worshiping their gods.

3. Opening to Unseen Forces

Yoga’s meditative practices can open individuals to spiritual influences outside God’s protection. The Bible explicitly warns against engaging with spirits outside of the Holy Spirit. In Deuteronomy 18:10–12, God condemns divination and consulting with spirits, similar to Yoga’s spiritual aspects.

4. Diverting Focus from God

Yoga often emphasizes emptying the mind or focusing on oneself or nature rather than on God. This inward focus can divert a Christian’s attention away from their relationship with God, diminishing their reliance on Him and potentially leading them to seek spiritual fulfillment elsewhere. Colossians 2:8 warns, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

Biblical Warnings Against Idolatry

The Bible is replete with warnings against idolatry and examples of God’s judgment on those who engage in it:

  1. The Golden Calf: In Exodus 32, the Israelites created and worshipped a golden calf while Moses was on Mount Sinai. God’s anger burned against them, leading to severe punishment, including the death of about 3,000 men (Exodus 32:28).
  2. King Solomon: Despite his wisdom, King Solomon’s heart turned away from God because of his foreign wives, who led him to worship other gods. As a result, God tore the kingdom away from Solomon’s lineage (1 Kings 11:9–11).
  3. Israel’s Exile: Israel’s persistent idolatry led to their exile. Despite repeated warnings from prophets, the Israelites continued to worship Baal and other gods, resulting in God allowing their captivity by Assyria and Babylon (2 Kings 17:16–18).

Christian Meditation vs. Yoga

Christian meditation is fundamentally different from Yoga, both in its purpose and practice:

  1. Focus on God: Christian meditation centers on God and His word. Joshua 1:8 instructs believers to meditate on God’s law day and night, while Psalm 1:2 speaks of delighting in and meditating on God’s word.
  2. Prayer and Reflection: Christian meditation includes prayerful reflection on Scripture, seeking to understand and apply God’s word in one’s life. Philippians 4:8 encourages believers to consider whatever is true, noble, correct, pure, lovely, and admirable.
  3. Christ-Centered: The ultimate goal of Christian meditation is to draw closer to Jesus Christ, understand His will, and experience His peace. Colossians 3:16 urges believers to let the word of Christ dwell in them richly.

God’s Desire for Exclusive Worship

God’s desire for exclusive worship is evident throughout Scripture.

  1. Isaiah 42:8: “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
  2. Deuteronomy 6:14–15: “Do not follow other gods, the gods of the surrounding peoples; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.”

These passages from the Bible underline the exclusivity of God’s worship. They remind us of the importance of our faith and the need to steer clear of any practices that might dilute our devotion to Him, including those that honor other spiritual entities.

Our Recommendation:

“Any person who considers themselves Christian and has a desire to go to heaven must cease the practice of yoga immediately and never look back. This is due to the dangerous spiritual harm it poses to the souls of those who believe in Christ, even if they may explain it away as a form of exercise.”

Conclusion

While Yoga may offer physical and mental benefits, its spiritual implications pose significant risks for Christians. Practicing Yoga leads to idolatry, spiritual syncretism, and exposure to non-Christian spiritual influences, all of which are contrary to biblical teachings. The Bible consistently warns against idolatry and emphasizes the need for exclusive devotion to God.

Christians are strongly encouraged to seek alternatives that align with their faith, focusing on practices such as prayer and meditation on God’s word. Churches are responsible for guiding their congregants towards these biblical practices and away from those that might lead them astray. In doing so, Christians can remain faithful to God, avoiding the spiritual pitfalls of idolatry and maintaining their commitment to the one true God.



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International Christian News publishes reports on the mission field, specifically focusing on the persecuted church and providing daily gospel news. The organization aims to fulfill the Great Commission, edify the global Christian community, and bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.