Even up to this time, Yoga is still one of the controversial practices, especially among Western Christian. Yoga and Christianity did not receive a friendly welcome in the Christian community and this may have something to do with wearing those yoga pants in public.
However, just recently, a Catholic church located in India has released a statement that rejects the idea that yoga and Christianity are compatible. This then creates a question of whether Christians who have been engaging in yoga is a complex one, and this is because there are different people who do yoga in different ways and with various cultural contexts.
A Glimpse of the Yoga and Christianity Controversy
A Catholic church in India mentioned that even if yoga was able to bring out positive benefits, it is not a way of uniting a person and also establishing a closer relationship with God.
The report further stated that there is an underlying danger when it comes to the interpretation of the results that have been obtained which revealed yoga practice as spiritual benefits. And that they do not agree that yoga is a separate field apart from the Hindu religion.
It was also mentioned that yoga has main traits that deviate from Christian beliefs and this type of experience is when the practitioner is one with God and nature, but still, it was Christianity who claimed that nature and God cannot become as one.
In recent years, the practice of yoga has created confusion and controversy for faith groups all around the world, not just in the United States or even yoga’s birthplace, India.
One article said that there was an incident wherein children were taught yoga at first, however, the school has been receiving complaints from parents who are against this activity thus ending up in the cessation of such teaching because they said that they did not want to have their children exposed to the form of exercise for religious reasons.
Furthermore, the same article said the parents in San Diego who are under the impression that yoga is a distinctly Hindu religious practice, thus ended up suing their school district by reason that these elementary schools were teaching their children yoga as a form of exercise. However, the parents lost their lawsuit and even the appeal.
What is the Essence when it comes to the Following of Eastern Religions
When yoga is being taught, it is authentically taught using ancient Indian texts, and there are three major religions that have stemmed from those texts. Starting from a Hindu perspective, they view yoga as an important part of attaining its ultimate goal, and this is unity with God and freedom from the life and death cycle.
It was explained by the Hindu American Foundation that the use of ancient Hindu texts is that yoga is consisting of four types and are translated to devotion, knowledge, action, or concentration. There are four types of yoga but only one has special access to these things
Out of the four, the meaning of concentration has the most that are in common with yoga as what is being understood by most people today.
What Makes Concentration Yoga Important in Relation to Hindu Faith?
The Director at HAF said that concentration or being present is one that allows the Hindus to focus inwards on the Divine self, this will then enable you to focus on making every thought and action selfless thereby making your actions worthy to the Divine that is said to reside in all of us. However, the Director further pointed out that there still lies a fundamental disconnect between the teachings of yoga and Christianity.
Essentially the main reason for the disconnect here is that that is between Christianity and Eastern religions happen when the complete, physical, and spiritual practices of yoga are being followed.
In the book of Joshua Chapter 1, Verse 8, it was mentioned that the Book of the Law shall not be departing from your mouth and that you still have to meditate during the day and night, thus making you be too careful and not doing anything
The Bible further teaches God’s people in offering their whole selves in worship, however, the offering should be made to God alone, and not just themselves.
In the book of Romans, it urged a lot of people to follow God’s margin thereby offering bodies as one type of living sacrifice. This is indeed viewed stickers and can now be pleasing to God’s.
It was even further taught by the Holy Bible that to focus on the renewal of the human mind by being able to renew and get to know God better.
The Significance of Yoga to the Christians in the West
Most of the believers who keep asking the question as to whether it is right for Christians to practice yoga, affirms that it is incorrect to focus on just making every thought, word, and action selfless and thus, making it as worthy offerings to the Divine that is inside all of us.
There are even a lot of Christians who enjoy the unique stretches that yoga has and there are some who meditate on God’s Word or His Holiness while doing stretches. However, the Hindu American Foundation explained that this is not really yoga but asana.
There is more recent writing, but remains to be ancient, explains yoga as one that consists of six parts of limbs, and each one of these is called asana, referring to the poses that are involved when doing yoga.
At this moment, yoga is becoming misunderstood to be and is even practiced primarily as an asana or just physical posture. But, even just doing asana practice can still provide a lot of healthy benefits. Those who are practicing asana for improved health has been held to be perfectly acceptable even if it is not the real goal or purpose of yoga.
The HAF further affirms that the importance of the practice of asana is the most common aspect for Western people who are taking steps and are adopting Eastern beliefs.
More Exercise Tips