Albert Mohler rejects the idea of 'Christian yoga'

"In an episode of his podcast 'The Briefing' that aired last Friday, Mohler described the origins of yoga, which hail from Hindu and Buddhist practices and philosophy. 'It is deeply based in both Hinduism and Buddhism and the traditional meditative practices that are inseparable from yoga as physical movement involve those traditional Buddhist and Hindu teachings'" - CPost

1761 reads

There are 17 Comments

WallyMorris's picture

Many SBC churches have exercise classes called "Holy Yoga". Our local YMCA offers yoga exercise classes. More examples of the influence of secular culture on supposedly Bible-believing Christianity.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

T Howard's picture

Is Christian yoga really much different than taking taekwondo, judo, or Brazilian jujitsu?

Mark_Smith's picture

there is a difference between exercise that involves body movements with poses like Down Dog, etc... but involves no meditation of any kind. This is common. I have seen it all over. I have no problem with this. In fact, I have done it in the form of DDP Yoga as an exercise. Look it up for a thrill (DDP was a wrestler... yes, a TV wrestler that I used to watch as a young man. He started an exercise/wellness business upon retirement.) It is a workout, brother!

"Christian Yoga" seems to be trying to add prayer/meditation to the process.

But I could be wrong.

Mark_Smith's picture

T Howard wrote:

Is Christian yoga really much different than taking taekwondo, judo, or Brazilian jujitsu?

I tried doing community center Karate with my son one summer. We did 3 weeks of classes that were fun, with stretches and kicks. I thought, maybe we can continue after the program. The first "real" class started being more "spiritual" in nature so I dropped it.

In my experience Karate required more exposure to Eastern philosophy than exercise yoga. But that is my experience.

WallyMorris's picture

Points to Consider: In order to use yoga, you have to strategically sort through and eliminate all of the philosophical/religious elements in order to distill yoga to only its physical exercise components. Is this possible? Is it wise to involve yourself in something so openly based on Hindu/Buddhist beliefs? Aren't better alternatives available that don't have the Hindu/Buddhist baggage? Seems like another example of Christians straining to include themselves in popular culture.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Kevin Miller's picture

John Piper does a good job of describing the worldview roots of yoga and tai chi in this article. https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/is-yoga-sinful

I'm still up in the air about this. If someone has no knowledge that a particular set of movements is associated with a religious practice, then can they really be affected by the worldview of that religious practice? To most people, "yoga" simply refers to a set of exercise positions and not a religious practice.

G. N. Barkman's picture

Don't ask, don't tell.  If nobody knows, it makes no difference.  If somebody tells, don't do it around that person.  They must have a problem with it, and you don't want to cause them damage.  As for yourself, you know that an idol is nothing, and exercise is a good thing, so go ahead and exercise to the glory of God.

G. N. Barkman

WallyMorris's picture

Two Quotes From Previous Posts:

"If someone has no knowledge that a particular set of movements is associated with a religious practice, then can they really be affected by the worldview of that religious practice?"

"Don't ask, don't tell.  If nobody knows, it makes no difference."

My Response: Many people during the Tribulation, who accept the antichrist, may not know, at first, that what they are involving themselves in has religious implications. But God will still hold them accountable.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Jay's picture

If someone has no knowledge that a particular set of movements is associated with a religious practice, then can they really be affected by the worldview of that religious practice? To most people, "yoga" simply refers to a set of exercise positions and not a religious practice.

Which is exactly why I have no issue with yoga so long as the participants avoid the religious/spiritual component.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Kevin Miller's picture

WallyMorris wrote:

Two Quotes From Previous Posts:

"If someone has no knowledge that a particular set of movements is associated with a religious practice, then can they really be affected by the worldview of that religious practice?"

"Don't ask, don't tell.  If nobody knows, it makes no difference."

My Response: Many people during the Tribulation, who accept the antichrist, may not know, at first, that what they are involving themselves in has religious implications. But God will still hold them accountable.

So are you saying that a believer who does yoga positions solely for exercise is going to be "held accountable" by God for some "religious implication"? I don't really understand that train of thought. Would placing the body in certain specific positions lead a person to commit a sin, or is just doing the positions sinful in itself? By "religious implications," are you referring to something other than a sin that God would hold a person accountable for?

WallyMorris's picture

Quoting Mohler:

"It is deeply based in both Hinduism and Buddhism and the traditional meditative practices that are inseparable from yoga as physical movement involve those traditional Buddhist and Hindu teachings"

"the mainstreaming of yoga in the United States was driven at least in part by groups such as the Transcendentalists and New Thought, and they were intentionally trying to create a spiritual practice and spirituality that would serve as a clear alternative to biblical Christianity."

"at the very least we have to understand that there really is no such thing as Christian yoga. If it's Christian, it's not yoga. If it's yoga, it's not Christian."

So, Yes, that would be the implication of what Mohler is saying since "placing the body in certain specific positions" (your words) in a yoga exercise class is directly associated with yoga. Our local YMCA advertises one of its yoga classes as helping to provide "balance and peace" in life. Dangerous and Unwise.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

WallyMorris's picture

By the way, I don't care who or how many "like" or "dislike" my posts or anyone else's posts. Irrelevant. I am amazed at the number of people in this forum who defend yoga or, at the least, are open to practicing it. Astounding.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

T Howard's picture

I've never taken yoga, but my son and I have spent years learning Taekwondo. In fact, after my old body dropped out, my son continued on to earn his black belt in Taekwondo.

Here were my initial concerns:

  • At the beginning and ending of each class we had to bow to our instructors. At first, i wondered if bowing to someone was sin. I learned bowing in eastern cultures is a sign of respect, not worship.
  • We were required to fast and meditate as we progressed in our belts or gups / dans. To earn his black belt, my son had to fast for 48 hours and meditate for 12 hours. At first, I wondered if this meditation was opening us up to eastern mysticism. In reality, the meditation consisted of sitting in a dimly lit room silent and still. We were not required to "empty our minds" or meditate on anything in particular. We just had to sit on the floor and not speak. If anything, this practice taught my teenage son discipline and self-control.

Therefore, my son and I could participate in taekwondo with a good conscience before God and man.

josh p's picture

I took Japanese Jujitsu for about 8 years and my experience was similar to T Howard’s. As I prefer grappling based martial arts I would now take Brazilian Jujitsu which has no spiritual element at all.

Jay's picture

I also took a martial art in Junior High / High School and we never, ever, ever touched anything spiritual.  I don't remember if it was Tang Soo Do or Tae Kwon Do but I do remember some of the basic forms and movements. Smile

Also, here's the obligatory "Kung Fu Fighting" mashup link.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mark_Smith's picture

I do exercise. Some of which are stretches....I do it to stay healthy. And not be fat. Things like that. I don't care about what some fool Buddhist thinks some pose does to his katra or whatever. There is nothing "mystical" about the Down Dog position, where you hike you butt in the air while pressing back on your toes after starting in a push-up position.

I do DDP Yoga. Website here: https://ddpyoga.com/

There is no mediation or anything like that. Just good cardio exercise. How's that?

pvawter's picture

I find it hard to believe, based on the book of Revelation, that anyone in the tribulation who follows the antichrist will do so without realizing the religious implications of their action. The very presence of the false prophet as a tool of the antichrist indicates that people will follow him for religious reasons, and John indicates specifically that the masses choose the mark of the beast in rebellion against Christ. I don't think the comparison to performing physical movements apart from knowledge/intent to worship false gods is valid.