Should Christians Practice Yoga?

(Photo by Anupam Mahapatra on Unsplash)
More Americans are looking for a little peace of mind in an increasingly frenzied and stressful world. A recent report by the National Center for Health Statistics reveals the use of meditation and yoga have risen substantially in the US since 2012.

Meditation has been around for millennia, and is practiced in almost every religion on earth. An increasingly popular form in the US is called mindfulness, which has roots in Buddhism. But most people do not know which forms of meditation are actually found in the Bible. More about that in a minute.

Yoga, on the other hand, has been condemned by many pastors and churches across the country. Still, some churches claim to have converted yoga into a Christian exercise. But is that really possible?

The Yoga Debate

As CBN News reported in November of 2018, Missouri-based megachurch pastor John Lindell reopened the yoga debate among Christians after telling his 10,000 member congregation that practicing yoga "at any level" is "opening your life, your home, your situation to the demonic."

"Every single body position has a meaning," Lindell warned. "Let me say this, yoga positions were not designed by your local fitness instructor. They were designed and they were created with demonic intent to open you up to demonic power. Because Hinduism is demonic."

Yoga originated in ancient India and is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions. "Yoga" is a Sanskrit noun meaning "yoke" or "join" in English. Oftentimes the practitioner is trying to unite to a higher power.

Some Christians who practice yoga say they don't focus on its pagan origins, they just focus on Jesus. Yoga often times includes some kind of chant, but Lindell says even chanting "Jesus" while doing yoga still opens your life up to the demonic.

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