Am I misleading people by practicing and teaching yoga? I run a wellness studio, and yoga is a practice I teach for physical fitness. I teach students how to calm the nervous system through breathing and visual imagery. In no way do I encourage the original religious associations yoga carries, although the philosophy in many ways is biblical -- I am compelled to be around other practitioners because they have so many of the qualities Jesus offers, and they strive for all that is good. I want only to be an example for Jesus Christ and make disciples. I do enjoy yoga, and how valuable it has been in creating a habit of stillness so that I may pray. -- Alice (Northern Virginia)
As far as yoga is exercise, I am all for it. And as far as its techniques create peace and calm, so that people may pray and meditate on the word, I think this is a great thing. And I agree with you that we need to be careful not to inadvertently point people to eastern religions, since this easily leads to spiritual destruction (the loss of the concept of sin, a metaphysically incorrect notion of self, the rejection of the judgment day, polytheism, etc). I would not be too quickly impressed by the "spirituality" of those gurus and yogis who often promote yoga, since this sort of 'spirituality' is not Christian.
Those who truly strive for what is good seek God's word and his kingdom and his righteousness. But apart from that one qualification, no, I see no problem with what you are doing. We live in such a fast-paced world that authentic meditation -- filling the mind with the word of God (Joshua 1:8, Colossians 3:16, the opposite of many eastern forms of meditation) -- is all but impossible. As Psalm 46:10 reads, "Be still and know that I am God."
This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only. © 2005. Reprints or public distribution is prohibited without the express consent of Douglas Jacoby.