Practical Faith Life

Why and When Is Yoga Considered a Sin?

In this article, we explore the question of whether yoga is sin (or not). But much more one should ask oneself with this topic: When is yoga sin? Because the answer is – once again – not as black and white as one would often like it to be.

Whoever does yoga and sees nothing more in it than a few stretching exercises is not committing a sin. But whoever accepts the spiritual philosophy behind it will eventually contradict the Bible. But anyone who already has a strange gut feeling about yoga should take this as a sign that it is a sin.

How yoga can be sin

One thing is important to understand: Yoga is not just a fancy name for “stretching exercises”, but a term that describes a certain spiritual direction. A “real” yogi shakes his head when yoga is understood as mere sport exercises. For him, various energies flow through the body and divine actions are performed.

For people from the “western world” this background is missing. They often see it as a nice change to bring more movement into their everyday life – there is nothing wrong with that in itself. Those who want to stretch regularly can do so at any time without a guilty conscience.

With yoga, however, one often comes into contact with concepts of Far Eastern religions. Often, even the leaders of these classes don’t understand what they are saying – without thinking, words like chakra, energy or inner center are used to explain what the exercise is doing and why it is so good.

The problem: these are concepts foreign to Christianity. Granted, something like penicillin isn’t in the Bible either, but it’s not a problem. Why? Penicillin has no spiritual meaning (unless you take atheism as “spiritual”) Yoga, on the other hand, has an “inherently” spiritual background that contradicts the principles of Christianity.

Yoga is therefore a sin when the non-Christian background creeps into the stretching exercises and it becomes “more” than just sporting activities.

At what point is yoga clearly a sin?

Obviously, this line is fluid and not always precisely definable. There are Christians who can easily tune out the esoteric stuff and focus purely on the stretching exercises. Maybe this person is even in a group where yoga is just a fancy word for certain stretching exercises.

But as soon as spiritual concepts foreign to the Bible are introduced, the line should be drawn. For one, it starts as soon as incense sticks are set up or a poster of Buddha hangs on the wall. These are often the case with Christians who come from an esoteric background. Such Christians should not continue to participate in this group and seek out appropriate exercises on YouTube.

Others can ignore such design elements as they do not trigger the past. These should regularly check whether “their” yoga is still only stretching exercises, or whether a Far Eastern philosophy is introduced.

The rule of thumb should be: Those who are unsure should pray and wait for an answer from God. Otherwise, a bad gut feeling is often a sign of the Holy Spirit, where you should look closer or leave it directly.

Is Yoga a sin according to the Bible?

So let’s go to the source with which you can safely look whether something is a sin or not: The Bible. As you might think, there is nothing special about yoga!

The concept of yoga or stretching as a praise of God is foreign to it. Therefore, you have to look at what the Bible says about certain other things. For example, it says that one should test everything in order to keep the best.

At this point we should agree to say: stretching exercises in themselves are not bad and can be helpful to physical fitness. (And the Bible invites us to make our bodies our subjects). However, as we know, yoga is not just stretching.

The spiritual component of yoga must be consistent with the Bible. These are not just some sayings that promote a positive attitude towards life (which could be found in the book of Proverbs), but concepts that reject Jesus as the sole solution.

And those who do not see Jesus as the sole solution to God-connection (in yoga, it is energies and chakras) are without a doubt contradicting the Bible.

Therefore, it can be said that the Bible says something about yoga in that it calls Jesus the only way, while yoga does not!

Sometimes it can be very simple.

Is yoga also a sin for Catholics?

For Catholics the same applies as for every Christian: Jesus must remain the center of faith. In this respect, yoga has no place in the Catholic faith either – even if Catholic Christianity is “freer” in some things and knows different kinds of worship.

Yoga contradicts that Jesus is the only way and introduces various concepts that are incompatible with Catholic tradition. Therefore, the same recommendation should apply to Catholics (and Protestant Christians) as described above.

Arguments against yoga from a Christian point of view

So let’s summarize again at this point, so that you don’t have to search for the arguments against yoga in a complicated way in this text.

  • Yoga often has a spiritual component
  • The root of yoga is esoteric and far eastern
  • The border between sport and faith is blurred
  • The leader of the course is strongly decisive about the expression of yoga
  • The basic idea of yoga is the spiritual connection with the universe (and not with God!)
  • In yoga, the focus is more on feeling good than on truth
  • The claim of Christ to be the sole ruler contradicts yoga

Is Yoga a sin – Yes or No?

The question of whether a Christian may do yoga or not is not always answered by the question of sin. Sometimes it is also a matter of taking precautions not to sin by mistake. In general, there is no prohibition for Christians to do stretching exercises. If the relevant course refers to it, there is usually no problem. However, the above points are quickly introduced. Those who do not have the gift of discernment of spirits should stay away from it as Christians.

Conclusion: Is it a sin to do yoga?

Yoga can be called occult in most cases and should always be eyed critically by Christians. Those who do yoga for the stretching and breathing exercises are not committing a sin for the time being. However, those who stay with it longer run the risk of coming into contact with the corresponding Far Eastern occult and esoteric concepts and to adopt them consciously or unconsciously.

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