Frequently Asked Questions

Regarding Christian Yoga

If you love me, feed my sheep.

from John 21:17

 

Side Bend Posture

In this document I will refer to the type of Christian yoga that I teach as "Scripture Yoga", since I recite scripture verses throughout the class.

1. What physical condition is necessary to do the Scripture Yoga class?


This type of Christian yoga is very gentle with 25 minutes of full body stretching before beginning any yoga posturing. Senior citizens and individuals with chronic diseases such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and Lyme disease have attended and done well in these classes. Even participants who are out of shape can perform this gentle yoga class. Of course, if you have a physical ailment you should consult your physician before performing a Scripture Yoga class. These yoga classes are beginner to intermediate level and are recommended for almost anyone.

2. What are the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga?


This type of Christian yoga can benefit you physically through stretching and positioning, and spiritually, through the transforming power of God's gracious Word.


Physical benefits of yoga include:

  • improved flexibility and posture
  • reduced stress
  • strengthened and toned muscles
  • enhanced physical fitness
  • improved concentration
  • better coordination and balance
  • increased range of motion in joints
  • improved circulation.

Spiritual benefits of Scripture Yoga include:

  • experiencing God's peace (Isaiah 26:3)
  • drawing closer to God (James 4:8)
  • giving God your worries and cares (1 Peter 5:7)
  • invoking Godly wisdom (Proverbs 2:6)
  • resisting sin and temptation (Psalms 119:11)
  • becoming what God wants you to be and allowing God to give you everything you need (Acts 20:32)
  • worshipping God and spending time in His presence.

3. How is Scripture Yoga different from secular yoga?


Scripture Yoga is different from secular yoga because you listen to God's Holy Word as it is recited during the yoga class. This allows you to be still and quiet while meditating on scripture verses. The Bible instructs us to meditate on God's Word (Joshua 1:8). The Scripture Yoga class is conducted over 75 minutes providing a worship experience while exercising the body He has given you, and being still and quiet while meditating on God's Word. The postures for Scripture Yoga are the same as those used for Hatha Yoga. The difference primarily lies in the purpose and focus of the meditative session. If secular yoga is not completely separated from its eastern religion and philosophy, it could expose participants to spiritual forces that are not of God. Scripture Yoga is a Christ-centered approach that allows you to enjoy the physical benefits of yoga without the spiritual dangers presented by other forms of yoga.

4. What is the history of modern day secular yoga? Is there any history of yoga related to Judaism or Christianity?


The earliest archaeological evidence of yoga dates back to about 3000 BC; before the beginning of Hinduism and Buddhism. In biblical times this would be sometime after the flood and before the birth of Abraham. The term "yoga" was introduced around 1500 BC through the Hindu religion. Buddhism began its association with the use of physical postures and meditation around 600 BC.

Interestingly, physical posturing such as bowing and laying face down and meditation have also been associated with the Jewish and Christian faiths (Exodus 4:31, Psalms 1:2, and Psalms143:5). Yoga posturing has not been associated with Christianity until our era! Christian meditation is foundationally focused on God and His Word as opposed to the meditation of eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. Eastern religious meditation is focused on principles of nirvana and self.

The most popular type of yoga in the United States is Hatha Yoga in which the Eastern religion and philosophical portion of yoga is completed separated from the yoga class. In Hatha Yoga the class is about performing the physical yoga postures and deep breathing. However, some secular yoga classes still include portions of the eastern religion. Therefore, if you are a Christian and want to do yoga I would highly recommend that you perform Christian yoga.

5. If I like to do yoga but I don't want to put myself in the environment of secular yoga, what alternatives are available?

Scripture Yoga allows the practice of posturing and meditation in a Christian context devoid of eastern religious influence. In addition to Scripture Yoga (ScriptureYoga.com or ChristianYoga.com) there are two other Christian yoga resources available, they include: www.ChristianYoga.US and PraiseMoves.com.


6. Don't Hindu's worship other gods while in these yoga postures? Am I worshipping a pagan god(s) if I put my body into these poses?


God knows our hearts. He knows who we are worshipping when practicing Christian yoga and listening to His Word and thinking about Him. God judges our hearts. Just as Jesus said in Mark 7:14 -15, 20-23, "All of you listen," He said. "and try to understand. It's not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart." And then He added, "It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person's heart, come evil thoughts, deceit, …. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you." This principal can be applied to overeating, smoking, drinking alcohol or being tattooed. These things don't necessarily defile someone. Exercising a certain way, including yoga posturing, is not wrong or sinful because it is what is in a person's heart that God evaluates. Conversely, practicing Christian yoga outwardly doesn't make one right with God; although, it does a provide an avenue for God to impart His Word into our hearts.


7. My friends tell me that yoga is dangerous and I shouldn't be participating in it. To me it just seems like exercise. Why are they concerned?


Yoga is defined as "yoking" together. The exercises and stretches in yoga are designed to bring one to a place of meditation so that you can yoke, or join together with the spiritual realm. In Scripture Yoga, the goal is to prepare our bodies and minds to listen for the still, small voice of God. The danger of participating in non-Christian yoga is that one may unwittingly be lead to yoke, or join to the spiritual realm in an undesirable way and be exposed to dark spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12). If you are concerned about any of your previous yoga experiences please email me at SusanNeal@ChristianYoga.com and I will send you additional information.

8. Doesn't the practice of yoga within an eastern religious context train your consciousness for a higher state of spirituality? Should I be afraid of that spiritual influence?


Any practice, behavior, or form of worship that adversely affects your commitment or devotion to Christ should be avoided. We are called to be discerning and to test the spirits to determine if they are from the one true living God (1 John 4:1). The Bible says the body of a believer is the temple for the Holy Spirit who lives within you (1 Corinthians 6:19). The focus of Scripture Yoga is to lead you to the highest level of true spirituality, a relationship with Jesus. Scripture Yoga should deepen the believer's walk with God by facilitating focus and concentration on His Word as it is recited during the class. Scripture Yoga provides an alternative method of exercise in a spiritually desirable and safe environment. Even so, Christian yoga may not be for everyone. As with all decisions, each person must choose for themselves.

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