Is the Yogi going to throw off his Yoke? Ask Paul’s Timothy

(Identities have been changed for confidentiality).

My friend, Andrew, and I have a mutual friend, CY, who does Yoga.  He says he only does the physical part, the Hatha part. Hatha Yoga is purification of the body, and so its focus is on exercises and breathing, which are intended as the preparatory stage for meditation.

A few months ago, CY said that he doesn’t go into the spiritual side of Yoga – that side, he said, is reserved for Jesus. Having practised Hatha Yoga and meditation myself as a young man, I remarked: “When you do the breathing exercises, you feel very relaxed and at peace.” Yes, he said, and I find that this peace is a great opportunity to witness to my non-Christian Yoga friends.” CY said he tells them that the peace they feel (when they do Yoga) they can have more deeply if they knew Jesus.

Many Christians claim that Yoga improves their Christian faith. My view is that Yoga breathing exercises are not merely physical. CY proved it with his claim that these breathing exercises open the door to inner peace. The Lord Jesus says much about peace. I don’t, however, believe that Yoga peace and Christian peace are compatible, because the peace found through Yoga creates the impression that the answer to life’s problems is all about finding peace, which is not the core of the Gospel. The Christian Gospel is about sin, repentance, Jesus Christ as a substitutionary sacrifice who pays the penalty for the believer’s sin, and obeying God’s commands.

A few months have passed since my conversation with CY. My friend Andrew and I have been praying regularly that CY will come to realise that Yoga and Christianity are incompatible. So, when CY told me that he wants to share  something “on my heart,” my first thought was that he had “seen the light,” and had plucked up the courage to renounce Yoga. When he read the following passage to me, I was sure that he was about to do what  I and others have been praying for these past few months:

[1] I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: [2] preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. [3] For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, [4] and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:1-4 ESV).

(My thoughts, while he was reading the passage) – “CY has seen the light; he’s going to return to sound teaching, and turn away from listening to myths; he’s going to confess that he has accumulated teachers to suit his own passions; what great courage. What a relief.”

But nothing of the sort. “What, I wondered (as any wondering Jew would),  was that about?“

Later in the day, I told my friend, Andrew, that I was disappointed and wondered why CY read that Bible passage to me. I could only conclude, I said to Andrew, that CY felt inspired (by God) to warn me that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

I said to Andrew that CY seemed to be warning me to watch out for any sign of an itch or tickle in my flapping ears. Now, of course, all Christians must be on their guard about wandering from the truth of the Gospel. My point here is that CY is  (in my view) deceived (by [physical] Yoga).  My disappointment with CY, however, was eclipsed by Andrew’s reaction to my interpretation of the situation.

Andrew said he didn’t see it my way at all. He said that CY’s sharing of the Timothy passage showed that “God was working in his heart;” that CY had made the first step – a giant step – to giving up Yoga.

I await CY’s next giant step towards throwing off his unsweet Yoke.

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8 thoughts on “Is the Yogi going to throw off his Yoke? Ask Paul’s Timothy

  1. Do you know that there are people who take their training for events like the Ironman so seriously to the detriment of their families and marriages? Or how about those hard-core business people, or money focused wealthy TV evangalists?

    Yet, there is nothing wrong with training for a physical event, or business, and of course, we’re told to evangalise…

    Some Christians think that herbalists are bad.. after all, we have the Xhosa traditional healers that pray to their ancestors and use herbal remedies.. yet God speaks in his word of fruit for eating and leaves for medicine (Eze 47:12)

    Is it not a worse thing to publically point a finger than to head an exercise class? Did Jesus not have more to say about Judging than excercising?

    I dont think that this form of Physical Exercise is bad if one’s first love is God. .. I understand your concern that Yoga can be associated with other eastern religions but i assure you that CY doesnt practice other religions. The Fruit CY has produced through witnessing inthe workplace over the past year has brought searching people to church to hear the Word of God.

    Business, Evangalists, Herbalists and event training can all be associated with unGodly things. Internet, emails, books, TV… evil and unGodly things can be found in all sorts of media, excersise, etc etc.. God judges the heart and since we cant see into eachothers hearts I think we should leave the judging up to Him. 🙂

    “But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another” (Galatians 5:15)

    • Besides the impossibility of separating physical yoga from spiritual yoga, the name “Yoga” is associated with a spirituality that contradicts Christianity. So, it would be wise not to collocate “Yoga” with “Christian.” As for “Pilates,” it does not have any unChristian associations.

  2. So, if your friend still does Yoga to earn a living but says he believes in Jesus Christ, is a Christian and wants to come to your church – one must tell him that he will not be accepted until he gives Yoga up? What if your friend has brought people to God through his witnessing in his workplace? Does that count?

    “he tells them that the peace they feel (when they do Yoga) they can “have more deeply if they knew Jesus” – How True.. and this has encouraged seeking people to find the true peace giver in Yeshua, our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps God has a plan to use your friend in the circumstance he is in?

    Perhaps you should carefully look at what your friend is doing before making any judgements. I dont think your tone in the blog is very nice at all & I would ask, WWJD? – I dont think it will produce any Good fruit do you?

    I would encourage your friend that when one shares the Word with people who ridicule you for it, not to lose heart but to rather keep on the same road because its a narrow road and not many will go through. As for me – any morsel of Gods Word will be devoured.

    That passage that your friend shared has gone a long way – ive shared it with a couple people already. Its a treasure that is to be taken in and passed on – rather than a pearl to be trampled on.

    I hope this friend of yours continues to study Gods Word – In the meantime Raphael, as a separate thing – have a study on what God has to say about this kind of harsh Judgement on others which can only cause damage. Its never too late to set things right;)

    If your friend concerns you, keep him in your prayers and get to know him properly; keep patiently on at him if this friend is sinning in a certain area, using Gods Word as a guidance. Discuss this with your friend – but keep in mind that we are all starving wretched people in the same boat.. This will help the approach to be more humble, sincere and caring – i.e to come from the right place. Thats the way to handle things. Then be patient because we need to trust God.

    • God chooses both the means and the ends. The means – for a Christian – is the Gospel, and only the Gospel, which cannot be reconciled with Yoga – of any kind. If you think I’m being harsh and unloving, read Galatians 1:8.

      • Ah, well if your friend is preaching something conflicting with the gospel then he must be corrected. Pray, for interest sake, what exacterly did your frend say? Is he a teacher of the Word and is he preaching something else to people? .. You didnt mention what the friend was teaching to others. .. Other than the fact that one can find a real peace that comes from Jesus Christ. This is true and right..

        If this friend has rejected all other associations with Yoga, but the physical poses – and is directing seeking people to the Lord then what of it?

        • Here is an excerpt from http://www.cbn.com/health/fitness/bagby_yoga-alternative.aspx

          “Clearly, with this understanding of yoga, Christians should think twice before heading to the local gym for a yoga class. But if you are a Christian who thinks it’s all right to attend yoga classes because you think you are strong enough not to fall prey to the spiritual deception that’s being taught and you enjoy the physical benefits, Laurette pleads in all seriousness that you to please consider a younger believer or weaker Christian who is watching your lifestyle. If you go to a yoga class, chances are they might be inspired to go also, and they could fall completely off track in their walk with God.”

          And this from John Macarthur
          http://solasisters.blogspot.com/2010/08/yoga-deception.html


          Two comments from Indians:
          I am an Indian. Yoga has close connection with Hindu rituals and beliefs and many yoga postures are themselves forms of Hindu ritiuals. One cannot saparateYoga from Hinduism and practise it just as a non-religious exercise. Those who claim otherwise try to deceive people.They have their own interests to keep and they are ignorant.

          Yoga is not just a exercise. its combination of physical exercise, opening/cleaning of kundalini chakras on soul, meditation and spirituality to take us closer to God. Its for both mental and physical health, It is form of Worship, its part of Hindu Religion. Calling it Christian Yoga etc is Rip Off and Misinformation. Dont do it if your faith doesnt allow it but dont steal knowledge of other religions.

          Thank You. A hindu from india

          The term “Yoga is so overladen with Hindu Spirituality that it is dangerous for Christians.

          “The Encyclopedia Britannica on the world-wide web describes the Sanskrit word yoga (meaning union or yoking) as one of six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy. The practitioner of yoga seeks to yoke himself to God through a complex, ancient science of self-purification and development. Yoga ‘s basic text is the Yoga-sutras by Patanjali (c. 2nd century B.C.), a sublime treatise on the science of yoga and the ascent of the soul. Through the practice of yoga, one attempts to free oneself from the bondage of karma, or the law of cause and effect which burdens the soul with the effects of sin and keeps it tied to a cycle of rebirth. The purpose of liberation is to return to a once-possessed state of original purity, consciousness and identification with the Supreme Self or, as others believe, to union with the Transcendent God.” http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/dissent/yoga.htm

  3. Lets only moved by what the scriptures say ~ Im not particularly impressed by much outside information. We live in the information era & one can be pulled this way & that – I read a horrific article the otherday in a PE magazine, saying that Satanists are misunderstood (???? is the world going mad??)

    Ecc12:12 (NIV)
    12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
    Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

    Raphael, from what I can summise – your point is that it is dangerous for a christian to be associated with Yoga? But you didnt answer my last questions.

    ..what exacterly did your frend say? Is he a teacher of the Word and is he preaching something contrary to scripture to people?

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