Benefit Of Yoga The Christian Viewpoint

Benefit Of Yoga The Christian Viewpoint

The benefit of​ yoga is​ twofold - increased health and unification of​ the​ spirit with the​ body. it​ is​ accomplished through the​ use of​ many different aspects,​ but mainly through the​ combination of​ Asanas,​ or​ postures,​ and breathing/meditation practices.

This raises many question in​ the​ Christian community. in​ my research for this article,​ I was very surprised at​ the​ viewpoint of​ the​ Christian apologists,​ and their take on​ yoga and its practice. I have hesitated on​ writing this article because of​ that viewpoint. However,​ I feel that this question and the​ stance of​ the​ Christian community warrants reflection on​ the​ subject.

Yoga has a​ history dating back over five thousand years,​ to​ the​ beginning of​ the​ civilization of​ man. Little is​ really known about Yoga. it​ is​ believed to​ have originated in​ Mehrgarh,​ a​ neolithic settlement in​ what is​ now Afghanistan. Scholars believe it​ has grown out of​ Stone Age Shamanism. in​ this early period of​ civilization's beginnings,​ Yoga was a​ community resource,​ because of​ its attempts to​ determine cosmic order through inner vision,​ and apply it​ to​ daily living. in​ later years,​ yoga evolved into an​ inner dialogue through which the​ Yogis sought to​ develop their own salvation and enlightenment.

Archaeological evidence of​ the​ existence of​ Yoga first appeared in​ stone seals excavated from the​ Indus valley. it​ depicted figures in​ many Yogic Asanas,​ or​ postures,​ and officially put Yoga in​ the​ time period of​ approximately 3000 B.C. of​ greater import,​ it​ also linked yoga to​ the​ great Indus-Sarasvati Civilization,​ a​ period in​ time that was considered modern and efficient.

From the​ Indus-Sarasvati civilization came the​ ancient texts known as​ the​ Vedas,​ the​ oldest scriptures in​ the​ world. the​ Vedas are a​ collection of​ hymns that praise a​ higher power and contains the​ oldest recorded history of​ Yoga teachings. the​ Vedas required the​ practitioner to​ transcend human limitations,​ and reach a​ higher spiritual plane. in​ later years,​ texts known as​ the​ Brahmanas were written to​ explain the​ rituals and the​ hymns of​ the​ Vedas. Following this came the​ Aranyakas texts,​ which outlined the​ practice of​ Yogis living in​ the​ seclusion of​ the​ forest. This led to​ the​ beginning of​ India's medical tradition,​ known as​ Ayurveda. All in​ all,​ Yoga transformed into a​ practice of​ health,​ harmony of​ the​ spirit,​ and a​ way of​ life.

The Christian viewpoint is​ thus - if​ one opens the​ mind to​ clearer thinking and inner vision,​ they open the​ spirit to​ demonic possession. it​ is​ felt that Yoga practice borders on​ occultism,​ and that opening one's mind and spirit to​ the​ benefit of​ yoga is​ both dangerous and against everything Christianity preaches. Christians believe that studying yoga is​ akin to​ practicing Hinduism,​ and one cannot separate the​ philosophy of​ Hinduism from their Christian beliefs,​ regardless of​ the​ health benefit of​ yoga.

As a​ practicing Buddhist,​ I take issue with this viewpoint. to​ me,​ this smacks of​ tunnel vision and narrowmindedness. a​ Christian is​ expected to​ open their heart and minds to​ Jesus,​ and to​ give in​ to​ the​ spirit of​ the​ Lord. They are expected to​ rely on​ blind faith,​ and to​ accept the​ word of​ God as​ the​ only truth in​ the​ world. a​ thinking person would find this hypocritical,​ for on​ the​ one hand Christians preach that Yoga must be avoided because opening the​ mind to​ clearer vision encourages the​ possibility of​ demonic possession,​ yet on​ the​ other hand preaches that one must open the​ mind and heart to​ accept Jesus into their lives. Opening one's heart and mind is​ exactly that - whether it​ is​ to​ look into one's self,​ or​ to​ accept Jesus into their lives. If,​ as​ Christians preach,​ we​ are open to​ demonic possession if​ we​ look inside ourselves and open the​ mind to​ all the​ possibilities,​ how then can we​ safely open our hearts to​ the​ concept of​ Christianity? is​ there a​ gatekeeper who makes this decision when we​ do so that determines what path we​ are to​ follow? I think not...

For the​ record,​ I was raised in​ a​ Christian household. My father was the​ deacon of​ a​ small Baptist church in​ the​ farming community where we​ lived. My mother,​ who taught us children to​ question everything,​ moved from the​ Baptist community to​ the​ Assembly of​ God churches,​ and was ostracized by my father. I think that to​ her dying day,​ she resented my father for this narrowmindedness. Life is​ a​ matter of​ choice,​ and my mother believed that we​ are not required to​ operate under the​ illusion of​ blind faith,​ but to​ do what is​ right to​ us as​ an​ individual. And it​ is​ why I walk the​ Noble 8 Folded Path. it​ is​ simply a​ matter of​ choice,​ and questioning everything in​ this universe.

I believe that the​ practice of​ yoga is​ a​ good thing. it​ provides us with great health benefits,​ clearer vision,​ and harmony in​ our souls. And in​ this day and age,​ what else is​ there? Whether we​ be Christians,​ Muslims,​ or​ Buddhists,​ we​ must not disrespect the​ feelings and thoughts of​ others,​ their rights to​ practice as​ they wish,​ or​ try to​ push our views down other people's throats. to​ live in​ harmony is​ exactly that...

To find out more about the​ benefit of​ yoga,​ visit my website at​

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