Christians Hate Yoga
In the last hour three different people (one of them was my sister) sent me this article about Christianity and yoga. Apparently, Albert Mohler in Louisville, Kentucky has decided that yoga is not for Christians, and yoga is apparently completely against Christianity.
Mohler said he objects to “the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine.” “That’s just not Christianity.”
I’m a little confused here. I was raised Southern Baptist, not far from Louisville in a tiny little town in Tennessee called Rockwood. Our preacher, “Preacher Wayne” was a very charismatic–scary preacher. He would shout, and sweat, and walk through the pews by walking over the pews causing us poor scared folks to move out of his way. Ours was not one of those super conservative Christian churches where they drink strychnine and handled snakes–but let me tell you folks it was strict!
I didn’t know much about yoga back then I had never even heard of yoga. It WAS made clear to us that astrology, ghosts, and witches were absolutely taboo! (but every year we had a Halloween celebration–dressed up in costumes and gave out candy) Again- confusing!
My introduction to yoga (However not hatha yoga) was due to my very fortunate discovery of the Hare Krishnas in Dussen Park on Lake Houston. The devotees were dancing and chanting and playing instruments in the park and has a young girl of nine I was enchanted!
I’ll never forget my mother’s reaction to my reaction to them. As a good Southern Baptist woman my mother was horrified! She pulled me back and told me to stay away! I never understood why, they were so happy and so sweet and their energy so attractive! But I digress…
What I did learn during my Southern Baptist education, was that God created us. He created our body in his own image. Our body is a Temple, and we should take care of that temple–because that’s where God lives- inside of us.
So, if the body is not a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine then I have to ask what is the vehicle?
Is the vehicle the mind? The mind resides within the body. Is it prayer? Do we not pray with our hearts? The heart resides within the body. I think you see where I’m going here… what the hell is this guy talking about?
Some Christians have started to mix yoga and Christianity. I am aware that some yoga people are disturbed by this. I find it a little strange that they would change what is a tradition older than Christianity, by adding Jesus into it to make it more palatable for them. That seems to be more about money than about doing yoga.
Quite frankly, I don’t really care what Christians think about yoga, just like I don’t care what yogis think about Christianity. If you want to practice yoga as a simply physical practice, go right ahead. But I’m here to tell you friends–your physical practice is going to change your spirit. You better believe it! And that is a very good thing!