Is yoga for Christians? Let’s take a deeper look at a well-known practice in yoga, namaste.
Let me begin with saying that I’m a fully sold-out follower of Christ and I used to advocate for yoga. I thought the same as many of you “it’s just stretching” or “as long as I’m not doing the chants or meditation, I’m good.” Or, my personal favorite “I’ll just swap all the wording and stuff to honor Jesus.”
Boy was I deceived!
My job is social media marketing. So, I do a ton of research to write social media and blog topics for various companies. Twice, I had to write for yoga or meditation studios.
Let me tell ya…when you have to dig to be authentic, you find it some stuff! I learned that yoga was MUCH MORE than stretches. Let’s start with a simple one “namaste.”
What’s in Yoga’s “Namaste?”
At the end of a yoga class, your instructor may bow to her class with palms together saying, “Namaste” meaning “I bow to the divine in you.”
That’s problem #1. We shouldn’t bow to anyone or anything other than Jesus.
I used to think saying “thank you, Jesus” fixed that problem. Nope. That brings me to problem #2, mudras
What are Mudras?
“Mudra” is the gesture you do with your hands at the “namaste” part of the practice.
According to the Yoga Journal:
“Mudra means ‘seal,’ ‘gesture,’ or ‘mark.’ Yoga mudras are symbolic gestures often practiced with the hands and fingers. They facilitate the flow of energy in the subtle body and enhance one’s journey within.”
Yogis do this practice with palms together at the “heart chakra” to increase the flow of Divine love. It’s also known as the Prayer Mudra (Anjali Mudra in Sanskrit) and “the heart seal.” Many Eastern religions use prayer mudras for worship.
Also according to Yoga Journal in the same article linked about it says this:
“For a teacher and student, Namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection. If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.”
Personally, I’d rather be sealed by the Holy Spirit of God and only bow to the one true God, Yahweh.
“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:21)
The Bible is also pretty clear about what and what not to bow to. Exodus 20:5 says,
“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
Is Yoga for Christians?
In short, no. Yoga is not for Christians. And there’s no such thing a Christian yoga either. I know I’ve heard of this being a thing. But, renaming the poses, changing the intent, or adding Christian worship music doesn’t cleanse the practice. The fact is none of those things will change that it DOES have spiritual impact. To be frank, it cracks the back door for the enemy.
Namaste is only the tip of the iceberg, though. Other poses are outright worship to Hindu gods. Stay tuned. This may turn into a series on the truth about yoga!