Is Yoga for Christians?

“For life is more than meat, the body is more than raiment.” Luke 12:23-31

I had a weird day yesterday. They are mostly weird since I gave my life over to Christ. But yesterday was notable. So I’m noting it here.

Yoga Class and a Funeral

I imagine my yoga teacher wonders what I’m doing in her class, besides trying far too hard. I feel only pain as my yoga teacher talks about energy moving through the body.

As I’m going through my awkwardness, a lovely young girl in front of me starts to fascinate, as lovely young girls are in the habit of doing. She stretches her body into poses and accomplishes feats of strength and balance that I thought impossible. She also has an intricate pattern of scars on her shoulder that make me curious.

I started thinking about this old Sage Francis song: Inheirted Scars. I always think of this song when I see girls like this.

How do people deal with the pain life brings? With this girl, I that for years she sliced razor blade through her skin to yoke the mental confusion, the emotional hurt, to something with taste and flavor, tangible, like blood she could see and know…

After yoga class I went to a funeral for a friend of mine. He had been suffering with cancer for years. It has been a honor to watch him fight a battle that was intensely personal and to hold space for him to let him be with the truth of his pain.

He struggled in his body at the end. To the point where it was hard to know what to pray for him. He talked about his thoughts, about wanting to die. He looked upon those thoughts as an enemy: subtle, baffling and powerful. His body was weak, unruly and full of pain, but he didn’t trust the part of himself that yearned to be rid of it. He spent a life of glory, completely disregarding his flesh for a life of the mind. And his mind was pristine, washed with the clarity an engineer, who must make things work, must have. He regretted the neglect of his body at the end though. It suffered hard before he was able to slough it off and be free. 

I can’t know and am afraid to inquire if the same pain that caused that girl to cut herself is the same pain that my friend neglected and stuffed until it was manifested as a cancer in his body. Whose’s fault is it that they suffer? That we suffer? Is there this demonic pain body driving us all insane, like Ophrah and Eckart Tolle keep chatting about. It’s enough to start me pulling my hair out. But this is when Jesus saves me.

Jesus and his disciples coming across a boy born blind.

His disciples asked him.

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. (John 9:2-7)

In Bible study the next night, the pastor taught a lesson focused on why people aren’t coming to the church.

“Why are they doing to yoga?” he asked as he made funny pantomined gestures to exaggerate how silly he thought it was.

Well Jesus healed the sick, fed people, preached and taught this good news: that God loved us so much he came down to be with us and has a much better kingdom for us than the one we stay blind to… a kingdom of love with all that we could ever need.

I told the pastor, people will gather where they are healed and fed, then they listen when they are preached and taught the good news of God’s love and have a reference for the experience of God’s love. 

Yoga Ceremony 19/6/2018

A couple of weeks later I went to a yoga ceremony. A new studio was opening up. The founder of the style of teaching practiced there was in town to hold a special ceremony to consecrate the space.

I have to admit I had some trepidation. I can read the signs. There was some Native American symbology on the flyer. I’m open-minded. I had a “let’s see” attitude.

It’s strange to be a Christian in a yoga class. I feel torn. The Hindu gods and godesses,  Buddha statues worry my concern about incuring the wrath of a jealous God. 

Let me make this clear:

I really like yoga. As a modality, to tame the flesh and harness bodily energies, I find yoga amazing. It makes so much sense to me as a Christian to make use of any modality that makes me more like Christ. Yoga and meditation do that for me. I have a reference point for peace and it gets deeper and deeper the more I practice. There is a phrase in the Bible where God says in the midst of a battle (particularly a spiritual one) “Be still and know that I am God.”

In the stillness created space between stimulus and response, I can know God enough to choose Christ. Like asking, “What Would Jesus Do?” Choosing Christ over the will of my own flesh is not a default, I’ve have to work out my own salvation daily and many times throughout the day with fear and trembling.

At the start of the ceremony they begin invoking spirits…

The ceremony is lead by a man and woman. The male leader starts off insulting Christ by saying this ritual he was about to perform was around before Christ’s manifestation as Jesus. They start by separating themselves from Jesus Christ, not a good start with me. I got to tell You, check out the Bible and read what God thought about this. He is a mighty jealous One, my God.

In the flesh, I want this to work out. I love my yoga teacher. She is amazing. She transmits as much as she verbal instructs… And that’s saying a lot because she is one of the more talkative yoga instructors I’m worked with. I’m also starting slowly to feel a sense of community in this yoga class. So I’m try to go along to get along. I try to make it work. It’s not my best self, but in stressful moment I’ve been known to revert to old character traits. I start swaying with the music… and pretend I’m cool. Then they start doing their corners, shouting out to the East, South, West and North, with the four elements as well: Fire, Earth, Water, Air and I’m like, “Oh no… Not again… Okay, I’m going to just keep praying, ‘Jesus!’” And then He says it… He says, “these methods have been used in shaman and witchcraft ceremonies for centuries.”

And I’m like, “I outta here.”

Not on a verbal level of thought mind You. I was post-verbal by this point. Some scriptures popped into my head and started reading themselves. Something about God being pissed off about His people whoring around with other gods. I had been thumbing through some scriptures earlier, looking for guidance on an unrelated topic and these scriptures came back during the ceremony. They were my refuge, everywhere my thoughts went outside of these scripture was turmoil.

“Maybe I stay,” …turmoil.

“Maybe I just keep praying through the ceremony,”…turmoil.

But I had peace as I stood up from the circle, walked out of the room and drove home, all the way home I had peace. I had peace the next day and today until I had to write this all down.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I love me some witches. Some of my best friends are witches. I just don’t do witchcraft… no, no, no, not no more… not never no more. I’m eternal: I don’t have time to repeat mistakes. I have time to wake people up to the kingdom of heaven.

“It’s at hand,” says Jesus. “Within us,” He says.

That is why I was there. I was pretty sure that I was discovering the kingdom of heaven within.

Unfortunately the these folks holding the ceremony called the exploration of Hindu knowledge and philosophies witchcraft. Which bums me out. The bible is pretty clear that those who do witchcraft and divination can’t come into the kingdom of heaven. I had been pretty involved with a lot of this in the past before I was converted. I am pretty clear on the concept this time around. It’s a mistake… a sin. It’s of nothing and goes nowhere.

I really did want to backslide that night and enjoy the revealing of mysteries… yet again.

I really wish they hadn’t had said that.

I really wish I could have stayed. Since then I’ve read and studied and understand more about what the bible says about chakras and spiritual energies experienced in the body… Not much unfortunately. It’s difficult for me because I’m not getting much guidance from my pastor on this either.  I think he doesn’t know. I’m probably the one with the most experience light on the subject. I have yoga on Tuesday mornings and bible study on Wednesday evenings.

I’m gathering resources for the discussion:

I’m still looking for fellowship, community, sangha… I seem to be in this weird in between space.

I’m dicovering a small community of Christian yogis. I’d like to write more about the history and principles of this movement interweaving my own experiences. I’d be happy to hear from You.




Recovering Dharma Addict.

DharmaAddict (at) RomancingSamsara (dot) com