In the community of yoga lovers mostly in western countries, yoga continues to trend despite many Christians frowning upon it. Surprisingly, western yoga differs in some ways from the traditional yoga which started in the east. It is a product of the westerners’ efforts in separating many Yoga exercises from classical Hinduism’s practices. It is these people’s belief that a neatly separation in terms of spiritual practices and beliefs is possible and necessary. Since most of the people from the west are Christians, one of the ways they could think of to make yoga more “personalized” and close to their culture is by incorporating the practice with contemplative prayer and Christian music, thus the name Christian Yoga.
Christian Yoga vs. Hindu Yoga
Basically, Christian Yoga is just traditional yoga with an adopted context of Christianity.
To date, Christian Yoga is dominating the churches in North America. However, its link to Eastern mysticism triggered commotions among Christians.
Christian Yoga focuses on connecting the body spiritually through prayer. It allows Christians to unite their bodies and minds with the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of them. It works on three key components: breathing, meditation, and physical posture with a belief that a balance in human’s body, spirit, and mind is vital as it is natural in humans to be attached to their spiritual longings, feelings, thoughts, and body experiences. Christian Yoga is derived as Christians’ way to serve Jesus Christ while practicing yoga.
Meanwhile, Hindu Yoga centers at uniting the body and the mind, the inner self and the outer world, and the human being and the divine. The practice entails a variety of practices and goals, e.g. devotion or also known as Bhakti Yoga, knowledge (Jnana Yoga), action or Karma Yoga, royal way or Raja Yoga, and inner concentration. For Hindu Yoga, holiness and health should be coming from the same source. It also follows the doctrine of Incarnation where the physical health and the spiritual holiness in the human body have to be united.
Christian Yoga takes inspiration from Bhakti Yoga which is Hinduism’s yoga of devotion. It aims to facilitate a bond between Christian Yoga practitioners and the Supreme Being by performing devotion routines. It is a great method of connecting and being immersed in the Holy Spirit.
Is Christian Yoga allowed in the bible?
Although many Christians do not agree with Christian Yoga’s principles and practices, Christian Yoga holds a strong biblical foundation in terms of unification through these chapters and verses:
- John 17:14-20 – In this verse, Jesus Christ prayed for His followers and believers to be unified in Him and in each other. Paul, one of the Apostles, supported it by pushing the unification of the members in Christ’s body.
- Colossians 3:14 – In this verse, love was identified as the key virtue that can perfectly unify everyone together.
- Ephesians 4:3-6 – In this verse, it is said that there is only one Lord, one spirit, one body, one baptism, and one faith. Christians are given the responsibility to make all efforts to unify and keep the unity of the spirit via the bond of peace.
Unity is one of the core priorities of Christianity and this is why Christian Yoga is ideal for everyone that belongs in this religious group. Its physical aspects are something that a lot of Christians are following. Like other types of Yoga, Christian Yoga also incorporates meditation, relaxation, and breathing.
Using Rock Christian Music for Christian Yoga
Traditional Christians used to be judgmental with regards to using rock music for Christian Yoga. To them, the acts of playing and listening to rock music are evil. However, over time, it has been revealed that even rock genre can effectively help members connect emotionally and spiritually. So, it ends with the agreement that for as long as the intention of the Yoga practitioner is good and they continue to glorify God, share His love and intimacy through Christian Yoga, there should not be a problem.
The Components of Christian Yoga – Discussed
Breathing is a common component in most types of yoga. However, in Christian Yoga, it is required under the belief that the presence of God is in our breaths. It takes inspiration in the book of Acts 27:25, i.e. God provides breath and life to all things.
Deep breathing facilitates deeper union and meditation with the Lord. It can lead to a lot of spiritual realities. For instance, when we inhale and exhale, it indicates that we are alive, healthy, calm, and free from stress. An intimate experience with the Lord is created. With that said, if a person does not breathe, they don’t have vitality, energy, or life.
In other words, Christian Yoga practitioners see breathing as an important routine for inhaling the holy spirit, God’s power and His gift of freedom, and exhaling what hinders positivity, strength, and everything that is not of the Lord.
This key component is a classic spiritual discipline that has been present in Christianity and other religions throughout history. It is, nonetheless, the most practical and basic act of connecting with God. In Christian Yoga, it is done through two best ways:
- Positive contemplation – where a prayer is uttered with proper breathing from the heart while the mind thinks of the Lord; and,
- Yoga breathing – breathing along with uttering short scriptures and words from the Bible.
The last key component of Christian Yoga is posture, under the belief that for a practitioner to perform proper breathing, he needs to be following proper posture too, i.e. sitting comfortably with hands on the knees and eyes closed. Also, the breathing has to be done through the nose; not the mouth.
Once the right posture is met, deep, long breathing can follow with the purpose of getting the most volume of air.
One of Christian Yoga’s teachings is to recite the phrase “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” while trying to inhale and exhale deeply. For a better connection, the words “Jesus Christ”, “Holy Spirit”, and “God” should be used.