Yesterday I told that Albert Mohler, a Southern Baptist theologist, wrote why yoga should not be performed by Christians. I have read some of his articles on his website to get to know more about why he actually says this and to read a bit more of his opinion. I definitely disagree with him, as I already wrote yesterday, when he says yoga is not compatible with Christianity.
There are several points in his articles where you can see that there are misunderstandings and where he does not have the right information about real yoga. Nevertheless he has understood one thing that I also often mention, both in my diary and in person in workshops and seminars:
‘…a significant number of American Christians either experiment with yoga or become adherents of some yoga discipline. Most seem unaware that yoga cannot be neatly separated into physical and spiritual dimensions. The physical is the spiritual in yoga, …’
I absolutely agree on this point. Mohler has received thousands of mails in which people tell him that they never do meditation, they do not do any spiritual practice and they do not think about yogic philosophy but they practice hatha yoga, merely physical exercise. I would also say, if you do this, then you are not really in yoga, you are just working out, doing training for your fitness.
Why do people who do yoga write like this? Are you afraid of the judgment of a minister or religious leader? I can assure you that God will not be angry with you if you do meditation! God will not punish you if you do yoga! If you have accepted yoga in your life, why are you so fearful or confused? You do not need to give a justification for what you are doing or, more importantly believing in. Yoga is food for the unity of body, mind and soul and how is this something wrong? You should not justify why you, as a Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jew or Hindu are doing yoga or not. Don’t be afraid of the judgement of a priest, preacher, guru or bishop or minister. Yoga is not something that you have to confess in church on Sundays. Be confident about what you do. If you feel yoga helped you on your way, that is it. If you feel yoga brought you even closer to your religion, then keep on doing it. I have met many Christians who told me that after accepting yoga in their lives, they felt more connected to Jesus. Don’t lend your ear to those who say that this is wrong, listen to your heart.
In any way, there is no reason to justify your yoga practice by saying it was only physical. Yoga is more than just movement of body and you know that! Your feelings and experience tell you whether yoga is right for you as a Christian or not. Enjoy, feel and feel free.