There’s nothing better than the spiritual connection one makes with the body and mind during a yoga session. Well, maybe getting into heaven.
Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler is asking for Christians everywhere to avoid yoga because of its spiritual attachments and Eastern roots, which he claims isn’t the pathway to God.
If you have ever tried to tell a yogi that yoga is just strengthening and stretching the body, you were most likely met with gushing about the spirituality and mind-body connection of it all- but not one word mentioned about religion. Yoga is, in fact, derived from Eastern religions, but does that mean it’s “un-Christian”?
Mohler said he objects to “the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine….That’s just not Christianity.”
As you can imagine, many yoga enthusiasts are not pleased with this proclamation. A 2008 study by the Yoga Journal showed that an astounding 15.8 million, or nearly 7 percent of adults, claim to practice yoga. To put that in perspective, about 6.7 percent of American adults are Southern Baptists, according to a 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center Forum on Religion & Public Life. There’s some definite overlap there.
Mohler penned an online essay last month where he explained his controversial view. He claims that Christians who practice yoga “must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga.”
This isn’t a new stance. Many Christian leaders have preached against practicing yoga because it conflicts with the teachings of Jesus, calling yoga “really spooky” and a “false religion.” In addition, Muslims are banned from practicing yoga in Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia for similar reasons.
People practice yoga for a variety of reasons. Some practice yoga as a means of promoting physical and mental healing and strength, some practice to relieve stress and pain and some just love a good workout. Because of this, and yoga’s growing popularity, yoga has been “watered down” in many studios and yoga classes with the elimination of chanting and religious ties.
What do you guys think? Can you practice yoga and still be a good Christian? What is your definition of spirituality?
Via Yahoo News