Why yoga “moves” aren’t spiritually dangerous

 

Twice in the past week, I’ve been contacted by women who want to join Fit2B Studio’s online Tummy Safe™ video library, but they’re concerned about “the yoga part.” One wrote:

“Hi- I found your site this morning through Wise Woman Builds Her Home. I am a homeschool mom of 6 also in the Pacific Northwest (greater Seattle area). I am a writer for [a really BIG homeschooling magazine – name removed to protect identity]. I am working on an article about Physical Education that will come out in [an upcoming] issue…  I would like to include your site, but I want to be sure that it meets the reader’s needs, especially since so many Christians shy away from yoga because of the connections with Eastern Religions. I personally do not have an issue with yoga as long as there is no eastern meditation.”

It’s a sticky issue, and you can read one other blog I wrote about why I do think Yoga moves {like any type of move} can become a channel for powerful worship of my Creator, but I wanted to get more personal with these ladies and try to sum up once again why I think it’s okay to do yoga moves as a Christian.  I hope you’ll read all the other links in this blog, and not just categorize this site as a hippie, pagan, karmamojowoowoopoopoo site because I utilize yoga in a few of my workouts. Here’s what I wrote to “N.”

Dear N- 

Thank you for your interest in Fit2B Studio’s workouts. Many of our members are homeschooling parents (as am I) … [then I addressed some other questions she had before going all “yoga is okay” on her] Now I’m going to copy some info that I recently sent to another blogger with a similar concern…

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I want to be clear that my workouts do contain a few yoga poses. I normally use the english translations of the words, but I strongly believe in taking our thoughts captive for Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the Holy Yoga movement, but they are an organization that certifies instructors to teach yoga moves while leading people to Jesus. While I am not “holy yoga certified” my work resonates with theirs, and I have audited one of their courses. They spend more time in God’s word than in anatomy! 

However yoga isn’t my focus. I pull from many schools of movement to help my members make a healthy start, including pilates, weight lifting, physical therapy moves, even a little tai chi. Quite a few of my members are christians, but not all. I do not practice any mind-emptying in my videos, nor do I subscribe to hinduism. The way I look at it, a move is a move is a move. Yoga happens to have actually named many movements with better terms than western cultures. Sitting cross legged or “criss cross applesauce” or “indian style” or “potted palm”… It’s all the same position. But I like “Potted Palm.”

I also love the symbolism behind the lotus pose, because the lotus represents holiness the way it blooms in mud but doesn’t let a piece of dirt stick to it. We don’t stop sitting cross legged because the yogis gave it a different name. We don’t stop doing lunges because the Indus call them warrior poses. And we don’t stop doing kegels because Sanskrit calls it mula bandha (which means “root lock” which is much different than a kegel and much nicer around little ears… [If we stop doing kegels – or at least stop doing hundreds of squeezes at stoplights – it should be because, when done wrong, they shorten and tighten our pelvic floor – not what you really want.]

In short, if you are at all uncomfortable with yoga, even just the movements, or if you feel your readers might raise a stink, this may not work…. I’m anything BUT new age [although I did cloth diaper, and I recycle, respect the earth, and listen to Enya and other flutey hippie music]. And the yoga doesn’t get big promotion or attention. 

Anyway, N- I hope that helps… The workouts containing yoga moves are clearly marked, and the other blogger decided to start the free trial and “just try it.” Here is what I got from her just this morning:

“I just joined and already like the workout I did! I just did totally transverse and the Chair Pilates. I feel all warm inside after doing the chair Pilates. I can tell I did some good stretches!”

I realize there is concern with some about the “roots” of yoga, but in my mind we don’t refuse to do Pilates because Joseph Pilates wasn’t a Christian [or was he? I’m not sure! Never checked! That’s my point!). We don’t avoid Step Aerobics because the founders wore thongs over spandex. We don’t avoid avoid weightlifting just because the earliest recorded weight lifters were Celts who were pagans in kilts, tossing logs and rocks in fields 😉 LOL!

Fit2B Yours,
Bethany Learn

So anyway, blog readers, I’d love to hear constructive comments from those who have figured out how to combine their faith into the movements of Yoga. I’m always researching ways to help women find health and better alignment and a flatter tummy…. and more sleep! LOL! Some would argue I’m not even really doing yoga because I’m not breathing right (we do our breaths differently for diastasis purposes) or incorporating the hindu aspects of it, or because I simply don’t capitalize it all the time. Believe me, I’ve heard it all! Check out the amazing comment thread we had a while back on our Facebook wall about this topic, too! Click!

In respect of 1 Corinthians 8 we have also created a new section that categorizes all our Non-Yoga routines together. Click here to see our Non-Yoga workout section

Why YOGA "Moves" are NOT spiritually dangerous - Fit2b.us

8 thoughts on “Why yoga “moves” aren’t spiritually dangerous

  1. Lori says:

    I guess my point of view would be to say that every good and perfect gift (one of those gifts is exercise) cometh down from above, and that we need to remember that that the world has infused with evil many of God’s good gifts. If we stop to remember the REAL source of the gift, one can exercise in good conscience, knowing that like you said: a move is a move is a move. Thanks for your article.

  2. Lacie says:

    I used to be someone who looked down on yoga as well as anything else that did not have a christian point of view. However, I have been doing a lot of re-evaluating, well everything, in my life for the last year and have really changed my mind on a lot of things. For instance, I agree with what both you and Lori above said about yoga being just moves and stretches. Another is that I have also been reading a lot about meditation and I realize that meditation in and of itself is not bad or “anti-christian.” The definition of Meditation is “a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.” (from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Meditation) Basically, you are taking the time to relax yourself and be in the present moment, not necessiarily strictly as a religious practice. Yes, there are many ways meditation is taught and it is primarily promoted by eastern religions, but that does not make it bad. It’s what YOU do with it that defines whether it is “bad” or not. To me, I like to think the word Meditation is really just a different way of saying you are in deep thought or deep prayer.

  3. Leslie says:

    Most Hindu believers will say you can’t separate yoga from Hinduism. Yoga is a spiritual form of worship. I’d compare your style of yoga with kneeling before an idol, lighting a candle, and praying to Jesus. I don’t think “going to Hell” is the issue here, or even whether or not it’s “sinful”, but I think it’s dangerous. It’s putting your spirit in a dangerous position. The spiritual world is dangerous and real, and there is a real battle going on, and we need to guard our hearts.

    • Beth Learn
      Beth Learn says:

      Leslie, if moving my body in a certain way such as doing plank pose which is essentially the start of a pushup position is putting my soul in danger, then I need to lay in bed and never move again… But wait! That would be “corpse pose” in Yoga, and therefore I would still be in danger. The language of movement used by the Indus people is more descriptive and less inflammatory than most other western names, in my opinion. Consider “potted palm” vs. “Sitting Indian Style.” Which one is more offensive?

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