Can Christians do yoga? Should Christians do yoga? Am I worshipping some kind of Hindu god when I do certain yoga poses? Is yoga some New Age practice? What’s with the om and the chanting? What’s with the weird pose names? WHAT EVEN IS YOGA?!
Hello, welcome to my inbox.
As someone who follows Jesus and teaches yoga (and posts videos to that effect on the internet), I get these types of questions a lot. Among Christian circles, there is a fear of yoga that I believe originates from a heartfelt desire to not stray from the path of Jesus. For most of us who were raised in Western Christian culture, the Eastern roots of yoga are foreign and the practice can be both mysterious and intimidating.
These posts are designed to try to thoughtfully, accurately, and respectfully respond to these and other questions, and in the process, create a space for kind dialogue about what it means to love and follow Jesus in today’s global culture. I believe it’s important to critically engage with culture and faith (and faith culture), to ask hard questions, sit with mysterious unanswers, and engage with people who believe differently than us in conversations about meaningful things.
I don’t know how many posts will ultimately be written in this series. There are endless questions to explore and experiences to document and I believe we are all the better for entertaining them, especially as we mature and our conversations evolve.
I’ve sought to read and examine a number of different sources to help answer some of the most frequent questions I get, while also giving you a broader understanding of yoga, history, culture and theology. I personally love all of these things and my happiest day would be spent in lively conversation about all of them. But, I am by no means a highly-educated scholar on any of these topics.
It’s also important to acknowledge that my perspective, as a Christian who practices yoga, is the not the same as other Christians who practice yoga. And that’s ok. We are each made uniquely, express ourselves uniquely, and see the world and God uniquely. But let’s be clear from the start, different perspectives does not mean disunity or division.