Christianity and Yoga:  A Series of Studies – Overview

Yesterday I began writing about my review of Christianity and Yoga.  This most recent review was spurred by the article on ChristianityToday (see links from yesterday) about Ms. Laurette Willis and her belief that "yoga is a dangerous practice for the Christian and leads seekers away from God rather than to Him." I intend to highlight the very strong similarities between Christian teachings and those found in Yoga.  I will cover not only those specific areas that Ms. Willis that either Ms. Willis or the article’s author target as being problems with Yoga but I will actually cover all eight of the limbs identified by Patañjali.  In addition to Biblical backing for much (yes I said much and not all) of Yoga’s principles, I will apply to further tests.  The first being Paul’s council to the Philippians:

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8, KJV

Paul knew that there were and would be a great many good things outside of the church as well as within it and this was Paul’s council on how to recognize such things.  Does Yoga fit into any of these categories?  Secondly, I will turn to the test given by the Savior Himself during the Sermon on the Mount:

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Matthew 7:15-20, KJV*

This test was given to give us a way to determine whether a prophet is true or false.  If the prophet brings good fruit (his prophecies are fulfilled, his teachings lead one to follow God, and so forth) then he is a true prophet.  If these things are not so, then he is a false prophet.  The same basic test can be applied to any thing or any person:  Does this thing/person increase my faith, my desire to do good or improve my relationship with God?

On a final note before beginning:  I am not trying to belittle, impugn or otherwise discredit either ChristianityToday nor Ms. Willis, especially not Ms. Willis.  She identified a problem in her life, identified a possible cause of that problem and took action to correct it.  Even further, she has the courage to stand up and tell others about her experience.  I disagree with Ms. Willis’ findings and want to stand up and tell others about my own experience.


* All future Biblical references will also be from the King James Version