I am a Christian…is it ok for me to do Yoga? A few years ago, I posted a response to an article by Albert Mohler about Christians doing Yoga. At the time, I was doing exclusively Pilates and so I listed several reasons why Pilates was “ok” for Christians.
Times have changed, I am now a certified Yoga instructor and I practice Yoga on a regular basis. But Mohler’s article still runs through my head. In a nutshell, here’s how I think about it :
God created my body and all of the “poses” or shapes it makes. I’m not going to let some ancient god or goddess “take” that from me. Whose to say that “x” pose is in honor of a goddess?!! Not the pose…it is up to me to say to whom I “give” my body. When I do anything, Yoga, Pilates, running, or just running errands, I have a choice–I can submit my life “practice” to God or I can offer it to myself or the universe, or whatever. I choose to offer my body to God, to present myself to Him. Any exercise I do can become an idol, it doesn’t have to be Yoga. We are not “safe” from being swept into putting ourselves on a pedestal just by staying away from yoga. In everything, we can choose to put God first, to do things for His glory. This is the great privilege of our faith!
Of course, we must all be sensitive to how others’ faith will be impacted by what we do. Scripture tells us that we should not do things that cause others to stumble. If my participation in yoga or if I attend a class might cause someone to be confused about my Christian faith, I need to either discuss this with them or not do the class. But this goes for anything…I must constantly ask myself if the things I do on a daily basis glorify God and further His kingdom. This is a work in progress…I am not perfect at this.
I do not pretend to know all the answers, but I do know that God continues to work on me, in me, and through me. I know also that I am not the only one who thinks about this and is working on it in their own faith walk. Here’s an interesting article by clergy woman Darian Duckworth about why she practices and teaches Yoga.
Read the article here