Friday, April 20, 2012

Yoga

 

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while might have picked up on my passion for physical fitness.  My physical fitness regimen consists primarily of a daily workout with Tony Horton and the crew of P90X.  It was through this workout system that I was first introduced to yoga.

I still do yoga, and I enjoy it very much.  Why?  Because it's a killer workout.

However, I have discover that yoga is a very controversial topic in the Christian community.  Is it just a series of harmless moves?  Is it a pagan philosophy that will corrupt its practitioners?  Should Christians even do yoga?

To answer the first two questions, it's both.  Yoga is an exercise system which often comes laden with tons of spiritual baggage.  I haven't studied (nor do I plan to) the religion of yoga, but I know it's bad karma.  No, I don't believe in karma.  Teehee...

To answer the third question, I believe that Christians may do yoga.  Obviously, because I'm a Christian, and I do yoga.

But why?

I do yoga simply for the workout.  Christians should be self-disciplined stewards of their body, whatever that looks like for each individual believer before God.  I see yoga as one application of this principle of good stewardship.

I see the spiritual aspects of yoga as falling under the category of the idols of 1 Corinthians 8.  In this passage, Paul talks about how believers may eat meat sacrificed to idols because the idols are nothing!  We know that there is only one God, and we are not somehow spiritually wounded because we ate meat that someone else sacrificed to an idol.

So it is, I believe, with yoga.  Are the moves in yoga sinful by themselves?  Of course not.  Take that hamstring stretch in the picture, for instance.

Do the moves become sinful when labeled as "yoga"?  I don't believe so.  Like with the meat offered to idols, I do yoga simply because it's a good workout.  I do it in faith and with thanksgiving to the True God of Scripture- not the mystical spiritism of yoga.

Then comes the argument "but what about the weaker brother?"  It is true that Paul brings up this very important consideration, and for a long time it was something that made me hesitate to publicize the fact that I do yoga.  Then, however, I realized that Paul did not hesitate to reason with believers about their superstition over meat sacrificed to idols.  Thusly, I desire to do the same over the issue of yoga.  

Needless to say, at our house, when we do yoga we separate the physical category from the spiritual.  We don't bother clearing our minds, meditating, chanting, or any of that other demonic stuff.  Sometimes we talk, sometimes we recite Scripture (yoga really is a great opportunity to meditate on God's Word), and- well, usually, I'm working too hard on properly performing the exercise to be concerned about much else.

So I am in no way arguing for the philosophy, spiritism, religion, or anything besides the physical exercise of yoga.  That's all garbage and anti-Christian.  I am arguing that we as Christians should be educated, knowledgeable, and Biblically-grounded in our views of things like this- things that can appear scary on their face.

We have not been given a spirit of fear.  We serve the God Who reigns sovereign over all the earth- both the physical and spiritual realms are subject to His Word.

There's no reason for us to be superstitious.

22 comments:

amy said...

I was just wondering when you were going to post again and then I saw that you had. This actually runs randomly along the lines of something I was thinking about today so that's cool. Since I'm on my phone in Greece right now I shan't bother to be long winded here but I enjoyed (skimming) your post. (I'll read it furthermore completely later)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hey Amy! I look forward to hearing your further comments! :-)

(Yeah, it has been a while, and I know consistency is key to keeping readership up, so I wanted to get another one out there...)

amy said...

Furthermore completely? That sounds silly. Whoops.

*shall comment later* :-)

Daniel Romanowitz said...

And we thought you were controversial before. jk :D

Moriah R. Hudelson said...

Wundrfell, darlink. I zeenk zat you hav hit ze nale on ze head. =)

I agree copletzly, and await furzer pozzzts.

Wiz all mi rezpect,

The one who admirezs you mozzt.

Pinecone said...

Stretching is evil. Therefore, I do it every morning. :)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Daniel- heehee...

Pinecone- do I detect sarcasm? ;-)

Dear one who admirez me mozzt, thanks for the smile. :-)

Corey P. said...

Good, thought-provoking post, my friend - I don't do yoga myself, but I also don't object to it as mere exercise. It's the funky mystical mumbo-jumbo that creeps me out. :D

David Terry said...

Ok Gabe,you provoked me, I'll bite.

"Im a Hindu that likes to practice Christianity. Its contraversial in the Hindu community. Can a good Hindu practice Christianity?

I dont beleive or go for the spiritual stuff or their philosophy. I just do the workouts...go to church,feed the poor, and nothing builds muscle mass like street preaching.

I do Christianity simply for the workout. I believe that Hindus may do Christianity. Obviously, because I'm a Hindu, and I do Christianity."

Websters 1972 dictionary defines Yoga as..." A Hindu ascetic philosophy"

You are on good ground with your understanding and practice...bravo! And you might be doing a "Yo" or a "ga" workout. But is it false advertising to call it "doing Yoga"?

Yes, you should post more often.

Thanks for letting me pull your tail a little bro.

Everyone wonders...could the Apostle Paul touch his forehead to his knees?

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Heehee, Mr. Terry, you are so fun! Thanks for stopping by.

Someone made the distinction between Yoga and yoga on Facebook... I just do the yoga, not the Yoga, if that makes any sense. :-D

David Terry said...

Well since you saw it on Facebook I guess I will have to back off...if it had been from Twitter I would continue to try and...."Convince....with all longsuffering" 2 Tim 4:2

Keep pressing on Gabe...Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity
1 Tim 4:12

Marjo.....B. said...

Wow. Thanks for explaining! I never thought that the stretches and exercises of yoga would be fine for Christians to do! Personally, I do a lot of stretching outside, and sometimes worry that I look ''yoga-like''. I know why you think much of those types of stretches/exercises from a fitness point of view. And as Christians, we can pray to the TRUE God while we do so!
Thank you for explaining.

Marjo.....B. said...

Hello! On Saturday, our family had the pleasure of attending the premier for the Sons of Georgia movie, here in Missouri!
We thought the movie was great, very well done.
I really enjoyed the music! That's neat that you were involved with writing the score! Which parts did you write?

Racheal said...

I haven't commented yet, partly because I haven't had the time, and partly because I had to think about this.

My initial reaction was "What? He doesn YOGA??" So anyway, I'll grant you your position is pretty sound. Stretching in funny ways is not evil in and off it's self :)

In reality, if I were you I would be more hestiant to tell non-believers that I do yoga than believers. Why? Because of all the philosohpical/mystical mumbo-jumbo associated with it. I wouldn't want to 'give the appearence of evil'. Pagans are always looking for a way to mock us and calls us hypocites (I don't know about you, but I fall in that hypocite category daily.)

Anyhow, that's my two cents on the subject. And no, I'll probably never do yoga ;)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Mr. Terry- thanks for the encouragement. :-)

Marjo and Racheal- glad you two agree! :-)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard the quote: “There is no Yoga without Hinduism and no Hinduism without Yoga."?

Gabriel Hudelson said...

No, I haven't heard it, and I don't agree with it either. :-D

Jordan Strang said...

Hi Gabriel.

I came across your blog as a fellow christian musician... I feel I must comment in here just to warn you of the dangers of Yoga. I don't want to be superstitious, but I do feel this must be said:

The quote that Anonymous left on here can be found at: http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Yoga_and_Hindu_Philosophy.htm

In the same paragraph we read: "The country of origin of Yoga is undoubtedly India, where for many hundreds of years it has been a part of man's activities directed towards higher spiritual achievements."

I don't think either of us can argue the point that this is the final aim of yoga.

I have read a very good book on this subject by the Guru turned Christian, Rabi Maharajah. He grew up as a hindu and practiced yoga as a young child. Later in his life he did become possessed by a demon, and only the power of Jesus Christ cast it out of him.

In closing, I don't want to indite you or anything like that... I just feel I have to say that to a Christian brother!

Thanks!

Great blog BTW!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hey Jordan! Thanks for your concern.

While I realize the strong association between the two, I still maintain that the practice of yoga exercises is meat sacrificed to idols, and I plan to enjoy said meat with much thankfulness. :-)

At any rate, though, thanks for stopping by!

I enjoyed checking out your blog in return. Stay in touch!

Marjo.....B. said...

As I think furthur on this topic thought, I am wondering if it is necessary to do YOGA though. If the routine is so good, couldn't you just invent a new workout with just as strenuous content? Because it IS true that Christians should not do anything that would confuse the world...

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Marjo... we could do that, perhaps, but I don't think it's necessary. Yoga is already invented and it's a great workout. I'd love to invent a Christian workout system someday (which will probably include a Yogurt session instead of a yoga session), but I don't believe that it's an issue that we should really be worried about.

Marjo.....B. said...

Yogurt session? Haha. :) Can't wait.