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Should Christians do yoga? What about Holy Yoga or other “Christianized” forms of yoga?

Before I give my answer to this question, I’d like to ask a couple of questions.

Have you ever heard anyone ask the question, “Should Christians do aerobics/zumba/spinning?”

Ever heard of Holy Weight Lifting, Christian Calisthenics, Redeemed Running or another “Christianized” version of a particular form of exercise?

There’s a reason for that.

If you’ve ever participated in youth or Christian school activities with a dress code, a rule of thumb that’s frequently used to help kids determine whether a particular outfit is too short, too low-cut, etc., is, “If you have to ask, it’s probably not appropriate.”

I think the same thing could be said about yoga.

The reason the question “Should Christians do yoga?” is even being asked is because there’s doubt in the minds of the Christians asking the question that yoga is kosher with God.

That’s a healthy doubt because yoga is a Hindu worship practice.

Hindu Swami Parham on the Hinduism of yoga and why Christians shouldn’t participate

Now, before we go any further, let’s just let that sink in a minute. This activity is used by a pagan religion for worshiping false gods. Would you, as a Christian, participate in any other pagan religious activities used for worshiping false gods? Would you participate in Mormon baptism for the dead? Have a shrine to Buddha in your home? Take part in the fast of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam?

No? What if the water the Mormons use had some special property that soothed your eczema? What if the kids started behaving better every time you set up the Buddha shrine? What if you lost weight while fasting during Ramadan? Would those benefits make participating in pagan religious practices OK even if, in your heart, you were only doing it for the benefits and not actually worshiping those false gods?

No, it would not. Neither is participating in yoga for the health benefits. Not convinced? Give the Old Testament another read.

Time and again, the Israelites were chastised and judged by God for idolatry. And not just full-blown idol worship, but all the steps leading up to it. It was not OK with God that they participated in a “Judaized” form of golden calf worship. When Israel entered the Promised Land, God told them to utterly destroy every last vestige of idol worship. It didn’t matter that they had no intention at the time of worshiping those false gods. Israelites were not to marry foreigners lest they be tempted to idolatry. God didn’t give any special permission to marry foreigners to those who promised not to worship the pagan gods of their spouses, He just said “don’t”.  The first two – one fifth – of the Ten Commandments are prohibitions against idolatry. And there aren’t any instances in the Bible of God being fine with his people “Christianizing” idol worship.

This is not a God who’s OK with His people dabbling in paganism.

This is the God who loves us so much He sent His Son to be tortured to death for our sin so that we might be clothed with His righteousness, be saved from an eternity in hell, and inherit eternal life.  Doesn’t He deserve better than sons and daughters who want to justify their involvement, at any level, in a religion that, ultimately, worships Satan? Doesn’t He deserve our highest, unsullied loyalty- a devotion that says, “I’m willing to give up anything that doesn’t please You, no matter the cost to me.”?

Yoga isn’t the only game in town. Let’s choose something else. Something that allows us to exercise, and worship God, with a clean conscience.


Additional Resources:

What is the Christian view of yoga? at Got Questions

What is holy yoga? at Got Questions

The Subtle Body – Should Christians Practice Yoga? by Al Mohler

“Christian” Yoga? at Sola Sisters (several additional resources included in this article and on this site- type “yoga” in the search bar)

Yoga at Christian Answers for the New Age

Yoga at Berean Research (many additional resources here)

Holy yoga – What is it? at Compelling Truth


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