Here we go again: Another Christian warning us that yoga is sinful.
In his blog, Pastor Mark Driscoll from the Mars Hill Church in Seattle, says that “yoga is a religious philosophy that is in direct opposition to Christianity”. Because of this, he believes that “yoga cannot be simply received by any Christian in good conscious”.
Not that this is the first time we’ve heard such rubbish about the conflicts between yoga and religion, but for the last time, can someone please tell these people that yoga is not a religion?
But even if we did tell him this (and other people have), the good Pastor refuses to believe it. In fact, he says yoga is downright demonic and he compares it to being as bad as adultery–which is nothing but a huge stretch (pun intended):
There is nothing wrong with stretching, exercising, or regulating one’s stress through breathing. But when the tenets of yoga are included, it’s by definition a worship act to spirit beings other than the God of the Bible. By way of analogy, there is nothing inherently wrong with intimacy, sex, and pleasure. But when the tenets of adultery are included, it’s a sinfully idolatrous worship act. A faithful Christian can no more say they are practicing yoga for Jesus than they can say they are committing adultery for Jesus.
Pastor Mark goes on to say that we just don’t understand what yoga really is. To which I say, do you, Pastor? Have you ever tried it? Have you experienced the true goodness that can come to your mind, body and spirit when you start flowing in some of the awesome poses and vinyasas? Doubtful, because he believes that we simply cannot get down on our mats while “ignoring the religious aspects of the practice of yoga”.
Yes, some people choose to incorporate spirituality into their practice, which is completely fine. To each yogi, her own. But since when does spirituality equal religion? Can’t we just open our hearts and our minds to the possibility that we can express gratitude and thanks and creativity and acceptance without a particular religious belief being a part of that? I, for one, have never had a yoga teacher quote from the Bible or any other religious readings during class, but even if I did, I’m pretty sure I’d be OK with that.
Yet Pastor Mark still rejects the idea that we can grow spiritually without church. In fact, he says the only real way to do so is through Christianity.
I say we all get down on our mats today and send some hearty “OMs” to the good Pastor.