I regularly receive comments and messages from people urging me to stop practicing and teaching yoga. Their reasons are varied but a common thread is the belief that yoga is inherently idol worship and there’s no way to practice yoga without opening yourself up to these demonic influences.
Recently I received an email from a leader of a Christian organization sharing these concerns. I prayed long and hard about whether to personally respond, ultimately deciding against it. I was not keen to enter into a long back-and-forth with this person about yoga, nor did I believe I would ever change their mind. The Lord reminded me that my job is to keep showing up in obedience the work He has invited me into and He will do the rest. I am not the Defender of Yoga or the Yoga Evangelist. I am a daughter of the King, seeking to do only what she sees her Father doing.
Knowing there are many of you out there shining your yoga light, I am posting my draft reply to this person’s email below. I hope it encourages you in your own journey and provides you with ideas on how to communicate what yoga means to you.
Your email has been on my mind and in my prayers since you sent it. Generally when I receive messages like yours I ignore them as the people who send them don’t seem particularly interested in an open-minded and thoughtful conversation.
It sounds like, based on your experience, you are resolute in your ideas about yoga…so why take the time to reply?
For one, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your email and recognize that it takes deep convictions and compassion for the health and wellbeing of the Church for you to reach out the way you did. I honor those convictions and the leadership position the Lord has blessed you with.
For another, I believe the Church is being done a disservice by people in leadership who use their platforms to disparage yoga and scare their flock from pursuing a practice that can transform their lives, and particularly their faith. That has been true in my life and in the lives of thousands of people who I’ve had the privilege of teaching online and in person. While I recognize that I may never change your mind, I hope I can at least lend a different and personal perspective on yoga for you.
As part of my ministry I regularly encounter Christians who know how to worship God with their minds and their hearts, but not their strength. Christians who live disconnected from their physical bodies, the very bodies God has given them to be His hands and feet, the very bodies we use to know God, and the very body that God himself put on in Jesus Christ. How can we live and walk in wholeness if we’re disconnected from our bodies, the very temple of the Holy Spirit?
As part of my ministry I also regularly encounter Christians who struggle with prayer and hearing from God, Christians who are active in their faith communities and yet still feel far from God.
I would encourage you to scroll through the comments on my YouTube channel and read how intimately and powerfully God touches each person through “Christian Yoga.” He is faithful to show up with us on our yoga mats every time and it is humbling to minister to His people in this way.
I don’t question the deliverance work you’ve done and celebrate the way God has used you and your ministry to bring freedom to people. I also don’t dispute that the enemy works to find a foothold in our lives through whatever way he can. Living in New York City we are subject to many demons – greed, selfish ambition, vain conceit, materialism, anxiety, loneliness, and depression to name a few – and yoga, like many other practices, can be used for evil as well as good.
But, as I’m sure you read on my website, I believe God can and does redeem all things, and invites us into that work. Rather than labelling all yoga as evil and dissuading people from engaging with it entirely, what if we helped people see that they walk with the authority of Jesus Christ? What if we encouraged our brothers and sisters to put on the full armor of God and engage in the battle for their own wholeness and healing rather than fill them with fear?
You’re right, to stop doing the thing I believe God has designed, equipped, anointed, and called me to is the last thing I would want to do. But in light of your own experience with the yoga world, isn’t it clear that what it needs is more light? Rather than dissuading Christians from practicing yoga, I believe we should be encouraging more Christians to rise up and lead in the yoga world to spread the truth of Jesus and light of Christ.
I recognize I will probably never change your mind about this but can testify to the deep levels of freedom, breakthrough, healing, and wholeness God has initiated in me and thousands of others through yoga.
If you’d ever like to join me for a class, it would be a pleasure to have you. You can find my current teaching schedule on my website.
I will continue to walk in obedience in the things God has invited me into and pray His blessing and provision over you and your ministry.