AlbertMohler.com – The Subtle Body — Should Christians Practice Yoga?

AlbertMohler.com – The Subtle Body — Should Christians Practice Yoga?.

Someone asked, via text messages Sunday, if Christians should practice Yoga in response to the statement that Christians need to be careful and discerning regarding their practices because everything is Spiritual. As we studied through the church at Thyatira we must be aware of the spiritual darkness and our use of, acclimation to and unintentional practice of things that could be harmful to our spiritual vitality.

I did a talk on this issue several years ago, and at this point, with the change over of the website that particular talk is not up there just yet, but I would say Mohler’s article is about as a concise and thorough examination of that question as there is. So, read the above linked article and comment on the blog. I can’t wait to see folk’s response to Mohler’s thoughts. By the way, I totally agree with him.

8 comments

  1. Hey, Mitch. Thanks for posting Mohler’s article.

    I find it interesting. I’ve never really “practiced yoga” in the sense of going to a class or using it as a deliberate posture of meditation or anything of that nature. I HAVE done P90x, which does incorporate yoga, and I have done the yoga workout therein. I believe I understand what Mohler is saying, but I’m not sure I’m in full agreement with him. To throw out any physical practice that has possessed a distinctly Christian element would seem to say that that particular physical act is irredeemable, would it not? If I were to exercise the physical postures of yoga, all the while reciting scripture and in prayer, not to some strange deity or trying to “channel the divine,” but in communion with the Lord, just as I spend any other quiet time, is that not redeeming the physical postures of yoga in a potentially Christ-centered manner?

    I agree with Mohler, in that the connection between what we do with our bodies and what we do with our spiritual selves. But restricting yoga postures (the physical positions of stretching, balance, etc.) to a dark spirituality seems to fundamentally contradict the nature of redemption and all things being made new in Christ, does it not?

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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  2. D’oh! I should have said “anti-Christian element” here:
    To throw out any physical practice that has possessed a distinctly Christian element would seem to say that that particular physical act is irredeemable, would it not?

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    1. I suppose the question becomes: at what point does breathing deeply, balancing, stretching etc cease to be Yoga and become a workout or whatever. I would say put on some tunes in the ipod and hit some cross fit or some other kind of WOD and you’ll be breathing deeply, flexible, balanced and stronger too. Those over head squats will do the trick with 115 hoisted above your head and all the way down into a full Olympic squat and then back up 15 times for 5 rounds while jumping boxes between sets. Good stuff.

      I agree that physical movements can be and are redeemed just like food sacrificed to idols, which is a real issue for some Christians in certain parts of the world, but just because the physical aspect is redeemed does not mean that Christians should not be super discerning about the spiritual components of certain practices tied to worship practices of other religions. Again, all things are permissible for the Christian but not all things profitable.

      Nothing we do is purely physical because there is a God, named Jesus, who created all things and all things are spiritual and physical at the same time and we must be discerning while being free and not conformed to legal requirement but in freedom exercising restraint on some things for the sake of our own spiritual vitality as well as the vitality of the community.

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  3. Now that, I agree with. I just thought it worth noting that the physical act in and of itself was not the dark part of yoga and that it can, in fact, be redeemed and separated from dark spirituality. Whether or not it is the best practice…a different debate. 🙂 Thanks for continuing to challenge your brothers and sisters, Mitch! 🙂

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  4. Thoroughly appreciated this post. When I was about eight, I remember my dad losing his mind over the fact that my grandmother had sent a yoga book home with me one evening. I remember thinking, “What’s the big deal about stretching?” Flash forward to about a month ago when my own daughter came home with a note that her preschool had practiced their yoga poses in class that day.

    L and I have been praying through whether or not to make a “big deal” out of the once/month yoga class and ask the teacher to provide another activity for our child during this time. I don’t mind making waves, but I definitely want to make sure it’s a worthy battle before I do. Part of our argument to let it lie has been closely connected with Jonathan’s comments…is Yoga something hat is irredeemable by nature?

    Ultimately, in our case, I see God continuing to bring it before us and shed His light of Truth on the subject. Guiding us to parent strictly in this instance, protecting at this time when our child is not old enough to discern for herself the distinction between the physical and spiritual. Mitch – your quote from above is rockin’: “But in freedom exercising restraint on some things for the sake of our own spiritual vitality as well as the vitality of the community.” This is one of the pillars of parenthood, isn’t it? To exercise restraint on things in order to live a life of integrity before our children. Wow….twenty years later, I am now overwhelmed with thankfulness for my dad taking a stand in my life against a power I wasn’t yet able to discern for myself.

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