How should a Christian view yoga?

Yoga is an ancient Hindu practice in which the participant seeks to unite him or herself with the "infinite Brahman" which is the Hindu God-concept. Unlike Christianity, the Hindu god is like a spiritual life force that exists in all things, in the universe and in nature. The Hindu belief is that everything is god, including the person practicing yoga. By focusing inward, yoga encourages a person to meditate on that connection between god and the self, seeing that there is truly no distinction between the two. The ultimate goal of yoga is pantheistic—becoming one with nature.

What most people practice is called "Hatha yoga" and is the aspect of yoga that focuses on the physical body. Through postures, breathing and meditation, one seeks relaxation and "centeredness" along with a general strengthening and flexibility of the muscles. Many people in the West treat yoga as nothing more than a work-out routine.

That said, yoga's origins are in a spirituality that is antithetical to Christianity, teaching people to search for healing and well-being and peace within themselves. This is ultimately futile—the only source of lasting peace and joy is a connection to the true God, the Creator (Galatians 5:22–23).

Some Christians find that they can separate the physical breathing exercises and postures from the spiritual worldview that accompanies them. As such a one performs yoga movements, rather than focus on false spirituality, his or her mind can focus on God and on whatever is peaceful—as we are encouraged to do (Philippians 4:8). Yet if a believer finds him or herself drawn to the philosophy behind yoga, or is uncertain about it, it would be wise to avoid the practice. Satan often tempts us away from God through seemingly innocent means (2 Corinthians 11:14). Everything we do should be to God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Many who seek the physical benefits touted by yoga have found Pilates to be a useful alternative exercise program.

Related Truth:

What do Hindus believe? What is Hinduism?

Does the Bible say anything about karma?

Is reincarnation biblical?

Why should a Hindu consider becoming a Christian?

Is it okay for Christians to practice Pilates?

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