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Yoga? Christian yoga? Or not yoga at all?

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ICDFPerson was signed in when posted
03:54 AM ET (US)
Thank you for participating in this discussion. The topic is now closed.

Diane Hobelaid
05:40 PM ET (US)
One of the difficulties I see in using the healthful principles of the physical practice is in teaching it from a Godly spiritual context. If I introduce the movements and even if I include the biblical context, there is no guarantee that I am not creating a vulnerability for someone should they seek the exercises elsewhere. From that perspective, it is perhaps a danger to bring that redemption of the practice to just anyone, who might not be as wise and choosy about where they practice. A lot of my own practice is possible because of the lack of connection with the spirituality from the Hindu perspective - so I can be in my own prayerful state before God, in Christ, protected by Him as I do it.

I love doing cara mayan, but the short coming of it is the lack of foundation in building movement from the essentials of alignment and developmental principles and working from that.

Re: the chakra thing - I wonder if the word means something different - I thought it just referred to different levels in the body - that of the head, the chest with the seat in the diaphragm, the pelvis, the feet - does anyone know if there is more to that than I am taking from it?
Annette Richards
02:28 PM ET (US)
Greetings to all. I am a counselling psychologist and as such I attended a Workshop for Therapists on how to treat children using Play Therapy and yoga. The yoga session was one was of particular interest as being a Christian I wanted to have an understanding of it from a point of knowledge.
I agree that as in many disciplines there are elements of truths (theologically it is believed all truth is God's truth) however what I found was that there were elements of the interaction that was tainted/interwoven with conflicting ideas. My late grandmother always spoke about "the danger of the mixture of truth and falsehood " I therefore came to the conclusion that truths gained from that forum could be useful for example the importance of breathing and alignment in exercise .However I found that there was a time in the presentation when the various "Shackras" were introduced and the various levels of it and how it connected the whole process in what appeared to me to be going into an anti- Christ dimension . I realized too that it seemed there was a diabolical plot to use various means such as exercise , coloring books and other child friendly means to pass on these practices to the young generation and adults too who are vulnerable/ non suspecting.
I believe research is important and understanding of the roots, tennets and foundational pillars of any practice or belief is critical in these times to see whether they line up with God's plumb-line. These are the last days and we as Christian dancers and therapists / practitioners need to examine everything that has the potential to be "a little leaven". We most definitely should check the origin of yoga and other concepts and be like the Berean Christians. I have found that there are a number of” God things” or ideas or Knowledge that were originally pure but have become distorted or tainted over time. As Christians we have the responsibility to redeem and restore these things unto the Kingdom. Acts 3:21 says Christ will be received up until the restoration of all things. I think our task now involves unmasking the lies so the truth of God is revealed. In all things we must examine and separate that which is of the Kingdom for its benefit to the body of Christ and humanity. We therefore must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves discerning the spirits operating in or through the various disciplin
Fredrick IbemgboPerson was signed in when posted
03:39 AM ET (US)
I have not really tried yoga because I have always thought it to be "unchristianly". The positions, hand gestures and etc. I learnt it to be a form of meditation and could communicate with spirits etc.
Well, When most people want to pray, they would knee down, put their hands together, close their eyes and focus on God, may be speak in tongues and it seem your spirit living your body sort of.
I thought yoga could be likewise manner for evil spirit etc.

All these is subject to the christian both the trainer and trainee, if he/She could be mindful of most of the practice in yoga and convert them to God's glory, fine.

God can heal people, satan can too(imitation) so at all times we need to be mindful of the source of everything we acquire. My personal opinion: yoga shouldn't be a christian practice.
Diane Hobelaid
03:43 AM ET (US)
This is a timely discussion for me, simply because I have recently become involved in a yoga class. I went to it because it was being taught by a woman from whom I have taken dance for many years who recently trained in yoga. She offered a free class, and we had talked in dance class about some aspects of yoga. She herself is not a Christian, and got into yoga because of some body injuries, and found it very helpful. She had brought some aspects of what she was learning to our class, and we had incorporated them into part of our warm up and cool down. What I was finding was that the moves tied right into what I already knew, as an occupational therapist, about proper alignment, coordination of breath and movement, and many aspects of development of movement in the human body from infancy to maturity. In the class, we weren't asked to empty our minds, but breath was used to become mindful - a legitimate Christian practice in contemplation upon scripture, or in prayer, seeking the presence of God. Some of the nomenclature had Indian names - based upon the language in which the practice had been developed - but I found nothing that took my attention from God.

Who is it that you seek? This is a daily part of my own prayer discipline - with the answer - I seek the Lord my God, with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. As a dancer, and in my interactions with all aspects of the arts, I have learned to seek what God has to say to me through paintings, movement, music - and realized that whether something is Christian or not is not defined, necessarily by the subject matter, nor by the religion of the artist. As God used unbelieving people's to discipline and/or to bless His people Israel, God can use anything to speak prophetically into the world - let us not forget even Balaam's ass! God is not limited by human religion, politics or belief. His desire is to bless us, and draw us to fullness of life in Him.

So how did yoga play into this? The class itself had some elements that didn't work for my body (and age), and many that did. While I ended that first class thinking - no this doesn't really work for me - the next day I awoke to a body free from chronic pain that has been a steady part of my life for at least two decades! I brought my own worship and seeking to the mindfulness exercise. And I continue to find that the movements have worshipful elements, which lead me to contemplate God at a deeper level, and to allow him to put His plumb line to my body in aligning it correctly, and thereby creating more freedom of movement through increased flexibility and strength.

Were I with a different teacher, who had a spiritual agenda he/she pushed, I might find that more difficult to discern the voice and breath of God working in or through me. I haven't availed myself of that situation. But I am finding a particular approach to yoga is working well for my aging body, and helping me to bring my body to worship through movement with strength and agility, and to hone it as an instrument of His glory and praise.

I'd be interested in hearing others' experiences.
ICDFPerson was signed in when posted
02:07 PM ET (US)
The majority of Christians that I talk to don't feel comfortable going to a yoga class. Admittedly some yoga classes seem to have no spiritual content, but does that make them harmless to a Christian?

Christian yoga classes exist and so do Christian *alternatives* to yoga.

What makes a class that's like yoga, not yoga?
  • Is it just that we pray at the start and maybe use some Bible verses in the class?
  • What about changing the yoga names for poses? Or changing the poses altogether?
  • Is there a problem with the breathing technique in yoga and any instruction to empty the mind? And is it important that Christian alternatives focus on Bible verses instead?

Lastly, how much do the beliefs of the teacher themselves make the difference?

If the teacher is established on the solid rock of Jesus Christ and his atoning death as the only way into union with God and into life and peace then do all the above details matter very much?

We would love to hear your thoughts, questions and experiences...

Facilitated by Sharon Ereaux
ICDF Network for Fitness, Wellbeing and Movement Meditation
Edited 02-23-2017 09:48 AM