Yoga has two benefits: it improves health and unifies the spirit with the physical body. You can achieve it by combining Asanas (or postures) and breathing/meditation practices.
This raises many questions in the Christian community. I was surprised by the Christian apologists’ views on yoga and the practice of it during my research for this article. This viewpoint has caused me to hesitate in writing this article. This question and the Christian community’s stance on the matter merit reflection.
Yoga’s history dates back more than five thousand years to the dawn of human civilization. Yoga is a relatively new discipline. It is believed that it originated in Mehrgarh in Afghanistan, a Neolithic settlement. Scholars believe that it is a result of Stone Age Shamanism. Yoga was an early resource for the community. Its efforts to find cosmic order through inner vision and then apply it to everyday life made it a valuable resource. Yoga evolved into an inner dialogue in later years that allowed the Yogis to seek their own salvation and enlightenment.
Stone seals from the Indus valley were the first archaeological evidence to support the existence of Yoga. It featured figures in many Yogic Asanas (or postures) and officially placed Yoga in the 3000 B.C. time period. It also connected yoga to the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization. This period was modern and efficient.
The Indus-Sarasvati civilization produced the Vedas, an ancient collection of texts that are the oldest known scriptures. The Vedas, a collection that includes hymns that praise higher powers, contains the oldest known history of Yoga teachings. The Vedas required that the practitioner transcend human limitations and reach a higher spiritual level. Later, texts called the Brahmanas were created to explain the Vedas’ rituals and hymns. The Aranyakas texts outlined the Yogis’ practice of living in solitude in the forest. This was the birth of Ayurveda, India’s medical tradition. Yoga became a way to live, harmony in the spirit and health.
According to the Christian view, if one opens their mind to clearer thinking and inner sight, then they can open the spirit up to demonic possession. Yoga practice is considered occultism. It is believed that yoga practice is dangerous and contrary to everything Christianity teaches. Christians believe that yoga practice is similar to Hinduism. It is impossible to separate Hinduism’s philosophy from Christianity, despite the many health benefits of yoga.
This is something I disagree with as a Buddhist practitioner. This seems to me like narrow-mindedness and tunnel vision. The Christian must open their hearts and minds to Jesus Christ and follow the lead of the Lord. They should rely on their blind faith and accept the Word of God as the only truth. This would seem absurd to a thinking person. On the one hand, Christians warn against Yoga because it opens the mind to demonic possession. But on the other, they preach that the heart and mind must be open to accepting Jesus into their lives. It is the act of opening one’s heart, mind and soul to see into oneself or accept Jesus into your life. How can Christians open their hearts to Christianity if, as Christians say, we are willing to be demon-possessed if we examine ourselves and allow all possibilities to enter our minds? Does it seem like there is a gatekeeper that decides which path we should follow? It doesn’t seem so…
My family was a Christian home. My father was the deacon at a small Baptist church in our farming community. My father resented my mother, who taught our children to question everything. She moved from the Baptist community into the Assembly of God churches and was expelled. My mother resentful of my father’s narrow-mindedness was something she believed until her death. My mother believed that life is a choice and that we don’t have to act under the illusions of blind faith. She believes that each person has the right to make their own decisions. It is why I follow the Noble 8 Folded Path. It’s a matter for you to make the choice and ask questions about everything
Yoga is something I consider a positive thing. Yoga can bring us great health benefits, clarity of vision, and harmony within our souls. What else can we ask for in this modern age? We can’t disrespect the thoughts and feelings of others, whether they are Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, or Christians. Nor should we try to force our opinions on other people. Harmony is the only way to live.