So what’s the deal with yoga? I’m a Christian and all things are permissible to me, right (1 Corinthians 10:23 CEB)? So why can yoga be such hot topic among Christians? It’s just exercise, right?
Hmmm… Well, that depends. Let’s look at it from a scriptural standpoint.
When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.” You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it. ~ Deuteronomy 12:29-32
God has set a standard for what is right and good and He wants us to stick to that standard (Deuteronomy 6:18). He has set a standard for how we are to worship Him and when we alter that standard we are doing what is right and good in our own eyes. How foolish (Proverbs 12:15)! This is what those evil nations did and it is what Israel was warned against before they went into the promised land.
So how does this apply to yoga in a Christian’s life?
Yoga came to our western culture from an eastern religion. I don’t know all of the history or purposes of yoga in its original form, but I’m pretty sure that the Sun Salutation was not intended for worshiping our Lord and Savior. Sadly, however, I have found myself in a little trap. I have been attempting to blend this wordily practice with a Godly one. In an effort to negate the mystic eastern religious aspect of yoga I try to worship God with it. I lie and tell myself, “Well, if I pray while I’m doing the Sun Salutation then doing yoga is perfectly okay.”
Oh, boy. When I read Deuteronomy 12:29-32 the other day I realized how wrong I was and how foolish I have been. I realized I’ve been offending God. This type of behavior is exactly what the Israelites were warned not to do. I’m not worshiping God through yoga, I’m altering God’s standard and doing what is good and right in my own eyes. This is foolish and worse, it’s an abomination! The verse above specifically tells us, “you shall not worship the LORD your God in that way.”
I’m not saying that yoga as an exercise is an abomination. I’m saying that if you are trying to worship God with yoga, as I have foolishly been doing, then your worship is an abomination. If you choose to practice yoga for its exercise benefits then it is permissable. However, using yoga for anything else – especially worshiping God – is not beneficial and needs to be stopped.
Everything is permitted, but everything isn’t beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23a CEB).
I hope my thoughts help you understand how some Old Testament scripture can be applied to our modern lives, but don’t just take my word for it. Dive into The Bible yourself, pray, and ask the Lord to reveal His truth to you.
Have a question or a thought? Please feel free to leave a comment.