I have seen so many health fads over the years and have even jumped on some of those bandwagons myself, such as the Autoimmune Protocol and a Paleo diet. Yoga studios have become as common as Starbucks in the groovy hipster parts of town.
There is a certain stigma about Yoga and if it’s acceptable for Christians to participate. I’d like to dive into that and see what options are available for believers.
I have Autoimmune Disease and many times over the last 5 years have found myself to be “exercise intolerant.” When you struggle with insomnia, chronic fatigue, and brain-fog, the mere thought of exercising drains you. I have had several natural minded practitioners suggest Yoga, but I shrunk back as if the mere word itself was sin.
Let me explain.
In January of 2005 I became a believer in Christ. I was in a
church cult, that had a very skewed sense of what Ephesians 2:8-9 meant. Everything was works, the world outside the church doors was wicked (but not inside), and anything not done with your church family was sin. For ten months it was ingrained into my very soul that anyone who had a cross symbol as a necklace charm or a wall piece was committing idolatry.
We were also taught that wall hangings in your home that were painted by unsaved people could bring spiritual terror into your life, massage therapists could “massage their sin” into your body, that chiropractic manipulation was witchcraft, and if you participated in Yoga you would stretch your way to hell.
Thankfully my time there was only ten months before the Lord opened my eyes and I was out of there. The effects of the indoctrination have taken the last 14 years to shake off.
Out of desperation, in 2016 I sought out a chiropractor and earlier this year an acupuncturist. Still struggling to find relief for my ailments, I started to ponder the suggestion of implementing Yoga into my daily routine.
But, can a Christian do Yoga?
I admit, I didn’t know much about Yoga itself, but I have met some Yoga-obsessed people before. It was intriguing, but I was always afraid I’d invite some sort of spiritual evil into my body through words or chants.
I started to ask my Christian friends about it because I felt like doing stretches instead of rigourous exercising would be more beneficial for me. That’s when I found a Christian Yoga YouTube video. I sat and watched it for the full 30 minutes with my critical ears tuned to the words she was saying more than the poses she was doing.
And I didn’t find anything concerning. Nothing that seemed like the instructor was inviting spiritual danmation into her body through her breathing.
There were no chants, moans, or om’s and she didn’t talk about worshipping idols or yourself. So, I tried it. Still truly skeptical and ears perked for anything heretical, I started with the Christian Yoga Morning Flow: Gentle 12 min. Warm-Up, however, it was not morning – it was evening.
Afterwards I felt pretty good and wanted to know more, so I looked at Caroline’s other Christian Yoga video options and looked over her website for any weirdness. So far I have found nothing contrary to God’s Word.
In her sessions she talks of Jesus and reads some Scripture and shares some thoughts about the Bible. She encourages prayer and even prays during some of the poses, and although she is very sweet and flowery in her words and personality, I haven’t found it to be anything that conflicts with my worldview.
The Yoga poses were not too difficult to do, however I am still browsing through the beginner videos. I wasn’t sure if I really got a workout or not, but the next day my muscles felt as if I went to the gym the previous day, so I guess that means it worked.
If you are wanting to reap the benefits of Yoga but are unsure of the spiritual aspects, I encourage you to check out Caroline Williams’ Christian Yoga videos or seek out a Christian Yoga instructor. You will want to listen and observe before participating to make sure it’s not hokey or something that will displease God.
Discernment is key to anything that we do with our mind, soul, or body. If you are in the Word daily, you can identify false teachers and New Age religious influences.
Using these Christian Yoga videos after dinner and before bed have helped me ease into my bedtime routine and have contributed to improving my insomnia. I encourage you to pray about it and do your own due-diligence. For me, an ex-legalist and extremist, I have found it to be relaxing and beneficial for my body and I am not under conviction that it displeases the Lord.
Remember, if you are convicted about Yoga and after prayer still have those convictions, you should abstain. Romans 14:23
You may agree or disagree with me on this and that is just fine. I can assure you I disagree with all sorts of things that I see other Christians do. For me, the stretching and mild exercise that I have discovered in Caroline’s videos is helping me to get some normal function back to my body and to relax at night. I am not worshipping an idol or chanting anything.
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Carrie Fernandez is the founder of Homeschool Giveaways and owner of Daily Skill Building. She has been homeschooling for over 18 years, has two girls and works side by side at home with her awesome husband. She has been saved by grace, fails daily, but continues to strive toward the prize of the high calling of being a daughter of the Most High God.