The New York Daily News recently reported that the Hindu American Foundation has launched a campaign to “Take Back Yoga,” “not to convert Westerners to Hinduism or urge them to cease practicing it altogether, but to remind people that yoga is rooted in Hindu philosophy.”
I hope they succeed in reminding people that yoga is in fact an Eastern spiritual practice because perhaps it will finally wake up some of the Christians who think yoga is a merely neutral practice, or one that can be Christianized. After all, Christians serve the Almighty God, the God that declared in the 10 Commandments “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” And who reminds his people throughout Scripture that he is a jealous God and idolatry is not permissible.
The Daily News quoted Sheetal Shah, senior director at the Hindu American Foundation, who said he wary of “Christian” adaptations of yoga because “yoga teaches pluralism, ‘the idea that there are multiple paths to the Divine (or God.)'”
“I believe that at some point a person with an exclusivist mindset (i.e. the idea that my God is the only God, my way is the only way, those who don’t believe in my God cannot be ‘saved’, etc.), who is deepening his/her yoga practice will eventually realize there is an inherent contradiction between his/her belief and the path of yoga,” Shah said.
That is precisely what concerns me about Christians practicing yoga, that it will eventually lead them down the path of pluralism and ecumenism.
Other resources for Christians on the subject of yoga:
Christian Yoga: An Oxymoron? an article by Marcia Montenegro
Yoga and the Body of Christ by Dave Hunt
Out of India by Caryl Mastriciana