Friday, October 22, 2010

Real Christians don't do yoga!

I realize this news is a little bit old, but it's personally topical because I had my first-ever yoga class yesterday. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler wrote earlier this month that the way the U.S. has embraced yoga means that Christianity is taking a back seat. Here's an excerpt:

"When Christians practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga. The contradictions are not few, nor are they peripheral. The bare fact is that yoga is a spiritual discipline by which the adherent is trained to use the body as a vehicle for achieving consciousness of the divine. Christians are called to look to Christ for all that we need and to obey Christ through obeying his Word. We are not called to escape the consciousness of this world by achieving an elevated state of consciousness, but to follow Christ in the way of faithfulness."

The Green Bay Press Gazette offers its take here (yet does not give the author a byline! What a joke).

My take on yoga is this: It's stretching. Really, really difficult stretching that feels excellent and is very good for your health. My teacher muttered something about "Namaste" and energy and soul throughout the lesson but really it was about becoming physically stronger and healthier. He's clearly done a lot of research about the history of spirituality of yoga but I think he should actually give it a shot before he passes judgment. Oh wait, this is a Christian leader we're talking about here - reserving judgment is not on the agenda.

This is Albert Mohler. Doesn't it look like he could use some yoga? Or something?


  1. Is there anything evangelicals don't oppose?

  2. Yoga, as seen by many, is simply form of stretching and possibly a way to meet limber women. I've always felt very off about that, considering that yoga is a religious practice, one that Mohler describes very accurately. While I'm not saying practicing yoga is insensitive, I am saying that it's an odd cultural phenomena that affluent American house wives share a common interest with religious Hindus.