(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:
“ 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:  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  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,  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.