An LDS Yogi


You should read this first. 6 December 2023

The first thing to explain is what LDS means.  LDS stands for Latter-Day Saint as in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  If you want to know more about LDS beliefs, a good place to start would be and  Another alternative would be to to email me.  This page is not here to explain LDS doctrine but to explain how, in my view, Yoga fits with LDS doctrine.  A yogin is a male yogi or, in other words, a man who practices Yoga.  I am an LDS yogin.

There is a great deal of distrust among Latter-Day Saints when the topic of discussion has anything to do with spiritual matters and is not directly connected to the Church.  A good example of this came up on a web forum I found while searching for other LDS yogis:

does anyone know the churches veiw on yoga? I am starting to look into it but it talks alot about chants and things.

I don’t know that church has made a stance on yoga.  The church wants each person to ask themselves if anything they do and say is in harmony with the teachings of the church.  I believe yoga is wonderful exercise.  Meditation is another way of listening to the spirit after your personal heartfelt prayer.  The chants and other things, I believe you will have to decide for yourself.  If you’re unsure prayer about it.  The spirit will tell you all things.

For a couple weeks ago, we had in enrichment night a lady from a different ward who taught us yoga.  It was wonderful.  Of course we should not go to the extreme, so leave the chants and thing out.  Have fun.

Too often one sees the timid nature expressed in the first post.  Instead of making their own determination whether something is worthwhile, too many want the Official Church Position on a subject before even thinking about it.  Too many people already believe that Latter-Day Saints are brainwashed or are blind fools who only believe what they are told and such attitudes not only encourage such misconceptions, they run contrary to scriptural doctrines:

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
Doctrine and Covenants 58:26, 27

13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul – We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Articles of Faith #13

29 And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.
Mosiah 4:29

We should not have to be commanded in all things but should do many things of our own free will.  We should seek after things which are virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy  Finally, just as there are many ways to sin, so many that King Benjamin couldn’t number them; so are there many ways to not sin, so many that they cannot be numbered.  Waiting for an official proclamation before taking action is contrary to all of these concepts and means one will miss out on a very large number of very good things.

When I started practicing Yoga in February 2002, the first thing I did was to begin reading everything available at my local library.  I immediately discovered that there was much more to Yoga than just the asanas.  I continued my practice while studying the other aspects of Yoga and I began a two pronged approach to determine whether Yoga would continue as a part of my life or not.  The first test was whether Yoga and LDS doctrines were at odds with each other.  On the surface, Yoga and LDS doctrine seemed miles apart but as I looked more closely, I saw that there were many more similarities than otherwise.  Belief in distinct spiritual and physical bodies or entities.  The need for the spirit to be superior in the body/mind/spirit relationship.  The concept that we are spiritual beings having a very real, very important physical experience.  The equality of each person’s spirit and our potential for growth.  The need to become unified with the Divine.  The Yamas and Niyamas could have come from a General Conference talk.  I found, however, one very very big disparity:  The asanas.  Yoga has this fantastic way of taming the physical body and LDS doctrine has, what?  Yes, we have the Word of Wisdom but that’s basically it.  This is, in my opinion, an obvious oversight but now that I’ve actually looked at it, I am positive that it’s an intentional one.  God gives us plenty of instruction on how we should interact with each other and with Him but other than basically telling us to not poison ourselves, He’s left our physical care up to us.  Yoga, in my mind, is the perfect means of overcoming our physical bodies and of disciplining our spirits.  Erich Schiffmann has the following to say in his book Yoga The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness:

Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are.  It is also a way of learning to be centered in action so that you always have the clearest perspective on what’s happening and are therefore able to respond most appropriately.  Yoga is not the only way of doing this, of course, but it is an excellent way.  It is an ancient process designed to help you uncover and discover your true nature so you can live daily life with that new awareness.

As Erich said, Yoga is not the only way of doing this, of course, but it is an excellent way.  In my opinion, it is a very excellent way!

The second test was the ye shall know them by their fruits test.  I have yet to find a reason to not practice Yoga.  I feel much more alive physically and mentally.  I am a kinder husband and father when I practice regularly.  I’ve gone from having no desire to home teach to being a dedicated home teacher.  My personal prayers are much more meaningful as I’ve already spent part of the day in meditation.  Yoga passes both tests, what other proof can I want?

On a final note with regards to mantras as mentioned above and mudras.  To say that one should not use them simply because one is LDS is very narrow-minded.  Just like any other thing, see if the mantra or mudra is compatible with the doctrine of the Church.  If it isn’t, then find a different one.  If it is, and from my own experience it likely will be, then see if it provides you any benefits.  If using mantras or mudras gives you the willies, makes your hair turn green or just leaves you feeling uncomfortable then don’t use them.  If, on the other hand, they surround you with a sense of well being and help remind you to rise above the carnal man (my own experiences there) then make them a part of your daily practice.

Yoga teaches balance and harmony.  True, Yoga is not the Iron Rod but it is a good, strong stick that helps me keep my balance.

Last Modified
22:11 12/01/2008