Why is it the only form of exercise you hear that the church is doing today is yoga? And if it's OK, why is there a need to Christianize what it is called? Why isn't there Praise Pilates, Holy Zumba or Worship Weights?
This is a two-part post - this first will be based on PraiseMoves.com and the second post will be about HolyYoga.net.
I was completely surprised to find an educational write up on praisemoves.com about why "Christian yoga" is an oxymoron. They go into detail about why yoga should not be practiced by Christians. Most of which I concur with 100%. However, to have such an explanation on a site that clearly encourages yoga postures really concerned me. Please read through this and then I'll share the contradictions that are exposed. http://praisemoves.com/about-us/why-a-christian-alternative-to-yoga/
Here are the contradictions:
1. The page starts out with a law suit that was filed by California parents against their children's school for including Yoga in the fitness program. The Praise Moves blog quotes the school superintendent as saying, "District officials see the yoga lessons as part of a bigger push to improve health and say that all religious aspects of it have been removed." Praise Moves response is, "Just think–when Johnny and Susie grow up and are invited to the Ashtanga yoga class, or see the book on Kundalini yoga, they will associate it with the harmless little yoga classes they took as their PE classes in school." Now, the problem is that the school is doing the exact same thing that Praise Moves does. They both take the Hindu out of the Yoga (which, by the way, is impossible) and think that it is then OK to practice. The only difference between the school and Praise Moves is that the latter has you focus on scripture.
2. The entire page makes it pretty clear that using the words "Christian" and "Yoga" together is a bad thing. She even goes so far as to compare it to Chrislam. Which is a very good analogy in my opinion! But there's a big problem. Indulge me for a moment and imagine that I came up with something called "God is Good Ministries" and in that ministry I teach that the God of the Bible and the god of the Quran are one and the same. Now mind you, this is the same thing that is taught by Chrislam. Is it OK since it has a shiny, new name? Obviously, no. Christian yoga is about doing yoga moves without the Hindu influence. Praise Moves is also about doing the very same yoga moves without the Hindu influence. Both are wrong, I'll get to why in a minute.
3. PraiseMoves.com is very adamant that Yoga can not just be about the exercise:
- The founder says in her own words, From experience I can say that yoga is a dangerous practice for the Christian and leads seekers away from God rather than to Him. You may say, “Well, I’m not doing any of the meditation stuff. I’m just following the exercises.” It is impossible, however, to separate the subtleties of yoga the technique from yoga the religion.
- Again and again we hear or read, “Yoga is just exercise,” or “Yoga is a science. It is not religion.” But what do Hindus and true yogis say? TIME magazine featured a quote from Subhas Tiwari, a professor of yoga philosophy and meditation at the Hindu University of America in Orlando, Fla.: “Yoga is Hinduism,” said Professor Tiwari of the Hindu University of America.
- Swami Param agrees that Yoga IS Hinduism and cannot be separated from its religious elements.
- Born in Sri Lanka, George grew up in India, the birthplace of Hinduism and yoga. He told us that yoga poses are actually offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods. And also, keep in mind that yoga postures are “offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods,” and Acts 15:29 admonishes us to “abstain from things offered to idols.”
So, now I would be thinking that Praise Moves doe not include any of the native Yoga postures. But, that is not what I found. These are just two examples of yoga moves - the first is called the cobra pose and the second is called the tree pose (Asherah anyone?). The left column is from the Praise Moves site and the right is just an image I found doing a Google search for "yoga cobra" and "yoga tree".
5. If you click on the home page you will see this (unless it gets removed in the future). Personally, if I were the founder of a company that supposedly had absolutely nothing to do with yoga, I would be horrified to see this graphic used for an article that includes anything about my company! (By the way, did you know that one of the purposes of yoga is to awaken the snake that is supposedly coiled up in the spine? - I'll talk about this more in Part 2)
Samadhi: goal of yoga, becoming aware of nothing