"As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts If you seek Him, He will let you find Him..." -1 Chronicles 28:9
Recently, someone sent me an article entitled, "Christians Shouldn't Practice Yoga Because it is a Pagan Practice." Several paragraphs in and I knew I didn't share the same perspective on the topic as the author. The article was basically saying that yoga was originally a part of Hindu worship and as Christians, we shouldn't participate in pagan practices.
The person that sent it to me added the comment "God may take it more seriously than we do," after the article.
I'm not going to lie, I was pretty heated at this point...
Now I love having genuine, deep conversations with people. In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do with people. Being the introvert that I am, I crave deep conversations more than lite chatter about the weather so I love when people open the door to talk about something they are passionate about especially when it is about their faith.
However, it is hard to have these conversations when people are shut off to other perspectives regarding the topic which seemed to be the case concerning the article about yoga.
While that person is entitled to her own belief, I would like the opportunity to share mine.
Yoga origin has a long and complex history and was actually associated with several religions throughout Asia but primarily India.
Even the word "yoga" has had several meanings throughout its existence. It wasn't till around 500 AD that yoga became a part of the Hindu religion as a way to show "devotion and love towards God."
Today, yoga has no spiritual affiliation. In the 1900's, the practice transformed into a health practice instead of a religious one.
Even though there are still people who practice it for religious purposes, the majority of people enjoy it because it relieves chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain. It can also improve your flexibility, posture, and act as therapy for an injury.
IF yoga was solely religiously affiliated like it was 1,500 years ago, my position might be different. Today yoga is no longer considered a religious practice and when I step into Yoga class at the gym, God sees the intentions of my heart.
He knows I am not there to worship some other god. He is compassionate and understands that yoga is my way to relax after a long day.
Telling me I shouldn't practice yoga because it has a pagan background is hypocritical when you realize that many Christians also celebrate Halloween even though is was originally celebrated by the Celtics to ward off ghosts.
God doesn't take yoga more seriously than we do. He knows our hearts.
This isn't a justification or a guilty conscious trying to feel free, it's just a girl trying to search and discover God's heart. What I've found is nothing but love, compassion, understanding, grace, mercy, and peace.
I find it hard to believe that the same God who has all those characteristics would condemn someone for trying to strength their mind and body through a simple workout.