How it began
I sat down one evening and just wrote out my thoughts on the matter of yoga and Christianity. I started my Instagram account just over a year ago as a way to keep myself accountable and track my fitness progress as I finally decided I needed a healthy lifestyle change. Very quickly I found the yoga community, or it found me, either way we found each other and have been close ever since! There are so many inspirational people on Instagram whom I follow. What originally started offline as a 30day health challenge 30days before my 30th birthday quickly turned into a new found love of “yoga”.
I must admit I never tried yoga before. I always shrugged it off as the “old lady” exercise. Et voilà Instagram and my eyes were opened to a whole new world! This was very exciting for me and I instantly fell in love with it. The amazing core strength it requires to press into a handstand, the total body strength for arm balances, the feeling of getting upside down on your head, and the flexibility for those splits and other stretches my gymnast sister did growing up.
I have been completely self-taught with what I am able to do. Well IG taught. I would see something on Instagram and try it myself or watch a few you tube videos then try it or read a few articles etc. The nice thing about being self-taught is I was able to leave out the mumbo jumbo and work on the asanas (the poses or postures). I do believe there are so many health benefits you can reap from yoga. Not just the different stretches and poses and what that does for you physically but also the mental side of it where you are working towards a goal of a pose or where you must overcome fears and failures. Where you will learn to accept some days you have it some days you don’t. But this same mental side comes with any form of fitness… runners who push their boundaries for that marathon or even to finish a 5K; lifters who are overcoming their fear when working towards that PR clean & jerk weight etc.
As I said before I follow a number of people most of them are yogis. Some of them claim to be believers (Christians) probably more of them do not. Here’s where I fall on that spectrum…
I love God first and foremost.
I have been born again, covered by the blood of Christs sacrifice to pay my penalty. Through God’s grace and by faith. I do not deserve this gift of everlasting life of sin covering atonement but it has been given to me freely and I love God and wish to serve Him above all else because of this.
So enter the yoga community and there is a lot of rubbish out there. Sure I still like nice quotes about peace and calm and focus etc. But none of that is going to make your life better. Sure there are temporal things which may seem to make your life better or bring you fleeting happiness. But we are not temporal beings.
We are eternal beings.
Whether your eternality is in Heaven with God or in eternal torment in hell; we are eternal. We are also beings created to worship. So often we get this wrong. A quick read through just about any book in the Old Testament and you will see where we human beings have failed to worship correctly. And we still do. We now have the internet and resources untamed at our fingertips. There are apps that you can get on your phone to read the Bible wherever you go, or listen to it, that give you too many different translations to count! There are apps you can listen to sermons and pod casts and even apps to be able to quickly translate the Greek or Hebrew text so while reading you can be a Berean and search down the meaning of the text. We have so much available and yet we know so little.
We fail to put our time and effort into what matters and put our time and effort into what doesn’t.
Which is exactly where Satan wants you to be. If he can keep you there in your lostness worshiping the moon or the earth or yourself and he can keep you content in that he will. He doesn’t want you to see the truth! So sure maybe you are a happy person. But are you a lost person? Are you going to be a happy lost person up to the gates of hell then your eyes will be opened to the truth when it will be too late? I see so many yogis on IG, who claim to be a Christian, fall prey to this silly nonsense.
The biggest point I want to talk about is our worship. It’s what you will see so much of in yoga in relation to spiritually. Let me put this disclaimer out there that the “American Christendom” is not the true way. In America I live in a society where people will easily say they believe in God and therefore call themselves Christians. But they don’t know the gospel. So you are left with people who call themselves Christians and can even speak christianese (since most of these people have “gone to church”) but are so far from the truth. And that blurs the lines for all those onlookers. In yoga there is much practice and talk about self.
Everything is wrongly rooted in self.
Even where yogis look beyond self to a higher power it’s directionally off. I recently heard a yogi talking about the moon phases and about gravity and “imagine if it does this stuff to the water and the earth what it does to us” and basically praising and fearing the moon. Don’t get me wrong moon phases are cool. And I love science. And the moon phase t-shirts, tattoos and jewelry all appeal to me because I think, again, the moon is pretty cool. It’s big and beautiful and my God created it. My son had a little section in his 5th grade science learning about the pull of the moon and the tides. It’s pretty cool stuff look it up if you’re interested. But stopping at the moon with our worship is just silly. Why you ask? Because who created the moon? The one and only God did. He is the Alpha and Omega (Rev 1:8, 22:13) the beginning and the end. The Creator and Sustainer of the universe (Col 1:17, Ps 135:6-7). Why would we let our worship center and focus on the created instead of The Creator?
I think the biggest error in yoga practice is all those that are getting swept up with the created instead of getting swept off our feet by the Creator.
Here are a few things I know about myself. I do not have power. There are those famous rich pastors out there who love to preach a prosperity gospel. “Health, wealth, happiness” however this kind of teaching doesn’t line up with scripture. No matter how much I visualize something I cannot make it happen. Heck I cannot even stop myself from getting allergies or a little cold even though I wash my hands and use the cart wipes when I go to the store. If I can’t even prevent myself from getting a little sniffle why would I be disillusioned to believe I have the power for these great amazing things? God has the power. Through the Holy Spirit in me God can do a great work not for my glory but His. He is the point. He is the point of his creation and for all of his created beings to worship him, bring glory to him and enjoy him forever. But we get confused and lost and worship other things. Don’t let your focus be stopped at the creation (which includes self) that’s just where Satan wants it to stop.
What my “yoga” practice kooks like.
That one night when I sat down and wrote out everything, all my feelings on Yoga and Christianity I didn’t share them right away. I feel like I may have just gone on a rant and I did not want to do that. This is not about a rant, or about being holier than thou. I asked on my IG for people to share any questions they have. I am more than happy to address something specific if someone wants to know what it looks like for me in my practice. How I do not compromise on my beliefs. Some practical things… I don’t Om. There is no power in that word. There is power in the name of Jesus so that will be the word my lips proclaim. I do not use malas or pray repetitive prayers or sit in yoga meditation. I pray to the one true God. I pray Scripture back to him. I meditate over the Word that God has given us to grow in my relationship with Him, to know him more, to love him more and to serve him more. Essentially I don’t do yoga. I like to stretch and do inversions and arm balances. In yoga its called a wheel pose, in gymnastics its called bridge pose. In yoga its called boat pose, in gymnastics a v-sit etc… I don’t call what I do yoga anymore because it is really just stretching, working on body weight movements and balances and inversions! If you are interested in what my practice looks like currently or have any other questions please reach out to me.