Skip to comments.Is Yoga An Anti-Christian Practice?
Posted on 09/22/2010 3:03:50 PM PDT by Willie Green
Warning to Christians: There may be churches that will bless your Blackberry, but your favorite morning workout may undermine your faith.
In a recent blog post, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, examines the argument that practicing yoga may be in direct conflict with the values of Christianity. "Yoga begins and ends with an understanding of the body that is, to say the very least, at odds with the Christian understanding," Mohler writes.
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On a train, in the rain, hey, I’m on to something, I could be the next Dr. Suess!
It would be an interesting study to trace how the “original intent of the “ancients” got so tainted with a corrupt style of thought or ‘impersonalism’ as you describe it. The great Deceiver perhaps feared where adherents of “hatha” yoga went spiritually when they indulged in it and and he therefore sought to corrupt it.
Even the Bible states..”Be still and know that I am God”...and learning to center “down” in his presence is important. Yet strange Yoga contortions are not necessary to quiet oneself before God....just an attitude of humility! Yoga, stripped of its corrupting promises of “inner godhood”(the ancient lie of the garden), might be a good form of exercise as you put it....but it is the HOLY SPIRIT that causes the inner man to shine out in the surrounding darkness of this world! Yoga can’t touch what God brings to the inner man!
Jesus did not indulge in Yoga, if he had, he would have taught his disciples and us to do so.
No, Yoga was never intended by the Indian mystics who popularised it in the 60’s to be merely a exercise program but a way to subtily introduce hinduism and other facets of Hinduisn to the west. They were subtle though in calling it an “exercising of the mind, body and spirit, but in reality it promoted the notion of a unity and oneness of all things, that you are your own God. The guru’s practised their own special version of TAQQAIYAH just like “religion of peace”.
The “be still” part of that verse can be misinterpreted.
The actual language connotation is more closely akin to “cease striving [on your own]”. It’s more of an admonition to not rely on your own strength, wisdom, and efforts, but to turn to God.
This is interesting to me. Just this week a friend of mine, who is a certified Yoga instructor (15 + years) and also a devout Christian, told me she was quitting classes at one of the large, corporate-type gyms in our area. The management there was pressuring her to get more “spiritual” in her classes, like all the other instructors. She refused, and will continue teaching at the Y, where they do not pressure their instructors to conform to the Eastern philosophies of yoga.
You are correct. In traditional Hindu medtitation of all sorts, there is no “emptying the mind”. There is striving to still or quiet the incessant flow of the mind’s desires and selfish thoughts, but only by positive meditation on God’s attributes through various means.
Even Patanjali was very clear about this.
Westerners like “yoga” that is divested of its original intent and have made up their own version. With assistance from various very inauthentic “gurus” who make up their own crap as they go along to please rich westerners with easy virtue!
A few years ago, I spent a week with Thich Bhat Hanh, the Zen Buddhist pacifist monk who became so popular when he came to the USA during the Vietnam War.
There was a methodist minister in my sangha group made a very profound statement. He said “ After all my years at the pulpit teaching Christianity, I can honestly say that I never really understood it until now when I look at it from a Buddhist perspective!”
I’ve done that for many years and have found much truth in his statement.
LOL... I have to laugh. It is not about emptying the mind... it’s about turning it inside out! Even Jesus said, “You must go within to find My Father.
And... Allow me to say that you only empty the mind as it is full of self. Only then do you have room For God! then it is filled beyond belief. That is how I am aware of the thoughts of those around me. This is what “”Dying Daily is all about and the parable of new wine in an old skin.
Living your life looking outward in the senses is like spending your life looking into a bag. It is only when you look within that you take the bag off your head and see/experience God.
“Then I don’t believe there would be any Christian conflict. I do have patients that perform yoga as such and I encourage it.”
I attend yoga class sponsored by the Duke University Medical School. It helps a lot of people.
“Jesus did not indulge in Yoga, if he had, he would have taught his disciples and us to do so.”
Remember, Jesus said to his disciples There are things that I share with you that you should not share with other people. They are not ready for it. Do not give your pearls to the swine lest they turn on you.
For thousands of years, yoga was not taught outside of the ashrams as it was too powerful for the common folk to experience. The spiritual awakening process can cause severe harm to an individual if they do not have proper guidance. I have cleaned up the messes that improper knowledge of yoga has created in people from both Kripala in MA and Himilayan Institute in PA, two of the top yoga schools on the east coast. The number one problem is partial paralysis of the lower limbs from blowing out an energy center. The student loses the ability to walk or stand. Yoga can be dangerous, but like a surgical knife, it can be very, very beneficial. Thankfully most people teaching yoga truly do not understand it and therefor do not have the ability to take it to levels that harm their students.
The key is not in the stretchng and postures, the key is in the focus location of consciousness and the breathework such as in kundalini yoga.
There is a very true saying.. “Never meditate/or do yoga over the septic tank!”
That's all I use it for. A workout.
I don't attach any spirituality to it.
Don’t they also use yoga only for its physical benefits in India as well though? I know it is broken down by different names for different levels such as hatha yoga for the physical aspect. Even there not everyone uses it as an aid to the spiritual path do they?
I don't know about yoga doing that since I only used it to condition and restore my body physically. I could see describing my Buddhist meditation as "turning my mind inside out" as it certainly overturned many preconceived ideas I had. That made the greatest contrast in the beginning when even my most basic views of things began to crumble and seem silly.
And... Allow me to say that you only empty the mind as it is full of self.
I am familiar with self losing its power to make itself appear as if it is mind but there is no conscious effort to empty the mind in meditation practice. That would be something that is specifically said to be avoided. Another tool for the ego to use to assert itself.
Only then do you have room For God!
With no God or gods to contemplate that wouldn't be a consideration in Buddhism.
That is how I am aware of the thoughts of those around me.
My teacher developed that same ability, quite accidentally, when he first began his practice. At first it scared him until a psychic taught him how to control it. (Due to unusual circumstances he could not speak to his Buddhist teacher about it at that time and didn't know any others.) He also found it very uncomfortable as it frightened and confused some people around him.
The last straw was inadvertantly 'seeing' the life of a co-worker (whom he didn't really know she just walked by one evening) that was so gray and horrible that it just filled him with her depression and hopelessness. He chose to never allow himself to 'see' people's lives again.
Living your life looking outward in the senses is like spending your life looking into a bag.
I would certainly agree with that. Ultimately even mind is viewed as just phenomena no different than outward appearances. The absolute, known as Dharmakaya in Tibetan Buddhism, has no describable attributes at all.
Yeah well looking at the history of India until the the British came, they didn’t seem to do very well with their “mathematics”, now did they!
You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious . For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. whom therefore you ignorantly worship, him I declare unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he
is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing,
Seeing he gives to all
life, and breath, and all things;
has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we
live, and move, and have our being;
as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent: Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance unto all men, in that he has raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear you again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
It is not surprising that in the millenia before Christ, men groping for God might receive some muted guidance and blessing from him. The greeks invented the basis of modern geometry for example, indeed felt that the divine could be reached thru the study of numbers and mathematics.
The inhabitants of ancient India were very smart people and there seems to be evidence that India was the home of one of the first supercultures (after the dispersal of the peoples from Babel), perhaps having the power of flight. The sanskrit translations I’ve read of a supposed conflict with another super culture(, perhaps of which the Atlantis legend was born) are hair raising as it describes a battle of psychic spiritual power against an advanced scientific culture leaving both sides wiped out and parts of the Earth devastated. Proto Hinduistic ancients had left us an ancient cautionary tale of what happens to immature cultures unable to wield power and technology in a peaceful manner from some 5000 years ago....Then some several centuries after such a conflict, a certain man name Abram left his Mesopotamian home...and God began his plan to insert himself bodily into our history and this matter universe we live in!
Christ said also that when he went he would “send the comforter who would guide you in all things”.
Matthew 7:6 1Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3Why do you look at the speck that is in your brothers eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brothers eye.
6Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
If you are going quote scripture do so in context...Christ was preaching the “Sermon on the Mount” before multitudes of people when he made the comment about the swine. It wasn’t a secret statement made to the disciples. The things he did tell the disciples, that he admonished them not to share, were things that could only be shared after the Holy Spirit had been poured out so that new converts could know as the disciples themselves knew, in terms of God’s heavenly paradigm! YOGA was not one of those “secrets”!
There are lots of ways to stretch ligaments that don’t have the dark spiritual baggage as YOGA or TAI CHI(just another yoga variant). I hear the PX90 body system offers great results, my brother has lost 30 pounds in 6 weeks.
Stretching is stretching. Although tai chi isn’t really a stretching exercise or related to yoga.
On the contrary, the ancient Indians had a thriving civilization. You even allude to this later in your post when you say that there is some evidence that India was the home of one of the first supercultures. But all civilization decline at some point. I think there is plenty of evidence that the British civilization that overran India is now in decline, and India is rising once again.
The Hindus invented the numbers we use. They invented the concept of zero as we use it in our numbers today. When Fibonacci introduced these numbers into Italy in the 12th century, he was met with tremendous resistance. People did not want anything to do with these pagan symbols. Europeans were particularly resistance to the concept of zero. They were afraid of this pagan concept. Cities in Italy passed laws forbidding people to use the new numbers.
It took 300 years before there was wide acceptance of the Hindu-Arabic numbers we use today. Looking back the superstitions against these numbers look ridiculous. And I think a hundred years from now people will look back on the fear that people have today about yoga and laugh.
I would question the sources of your”info” and put them to the test...Do they agree that Jesus was God in flesh and the only way to salvation? If in putting such sources to the test there is any discomfort or a leading away from or an adding to the truth of Jesus as God in flesh then you need to flee from this “spirituality” and beg God to drive the demonic away from you and to be filled with HIS spirit!
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