Earlier tonight I happened upon a blog that asked the question: “Should Christians do Yoga?” I will only presume that this was based on a short imported video featuring Dr. John Macarthur of Grace Community Church and a Mr. Doug Daggit, also a pastor at a church in Minnesota.
First I thought of just espousing my position on religious fanatics, albeit Christians or Muslims, or Hare Krishna’s for that matter. I believe that extremism is never okay. As one has passion for their beliefs and way of living is quite okay; however, when it comes to offending others none of it is any good if it drives people away, like the Ruby Ridge tragedy.
However, after reflecting I decided on a more calm approach. The following is my reasoning: Most people in the West, DO NOT associate yoga with any semblance of religion, spirituality, or theology. Seriously, why should they? I have a couple of hypotheticals to run past anyone who reads them:
Yoga, as I understand it is a discipline that involves the entire musco-skeletal arrangement of our bodies; in addition, as I understand yoga there is also a mental discipline that is very similar to meditation.
Base upon this understanding, I find it ludicrous to remotely think that the practice would not be in harmony with Christianity. Consider if you will: Christ asks us to pray, pray, and pray. Prayer from the ancient Greek language means the same as meditation. Moreover, when Jesus left the “gang” behind that was his time; furthermore, Jesus mentions the notion of meditation to his disciples.
The only other notion I have is in the area of health. The jury went out, deliberated, and has since come back with a verdict: Research data clearly supports that in practicing yoga one is in better physical condition and their bodies are better off than before they started. This is the same notion that I bring forth with folks joining a gym or working out. In fact, many runners feel that “runner’s high” which is really the releasing of dopamine, interferons, and other naturally made protein based substances within our bodies.
Not even religious fanatics will argue against going to a gym or on a run to stay in shape. My belief system calls for me to maintain mental discipline while I focus on the word of God and especially in prayer; indeed, throughout the New Testament, the apostle Paul continues to remind us about the race, fighting the good fight, all the while keeping our minds and bodies focused on the prize. Now if yoga somehow gets in the way of this—then I’d agree that it’s against my beliefs. However, as I see it, we are encouraged to engage in natural things that make us better believers.
Just one more thing: If people do not readily ascribe yoga to any religious connotation how then could it possibly be wrong? Comments, Suggestions, All-Comers Welcome!