Why Religious People Think Yoga Is Bad
Yoga is a spiritual discipline that opens up the pathways of your soul or inner being and makes you vulnerable to spiritual forces. It has been frowned upon by religious people for its association with the religion of Buddhism, Hinduism and some have gone to the extent of claiming that it’s a ritual from the Ouija boards. Christians have been at the forefront against the practice of yoga.
Meditation through yoga encourages yogis to look into their spirits to find the strength or inner power to deal with life. This particular thought goes against what some religious people may believe, they know that according to their standing, only the word of God should be meditated upon. A man’s spirit does not contain any power to self-heal, but only the power of God through the workings of the Holy Spirit is capable of that. Meditation sits wrong with religion because it diminishes belief and faith in God while encouraging the focus on nature. Nature was created by God and worshiping it is like worshiping a god from the world, leading astray the Christian yogis.
The art of yoga was originally meant as a spiritual practice by the Indians, and so the worry brought up by religion is not farfetched. However, modern yoga has become so commercialized that it has lost most of its originality. The yoga poses, especially ones where the legs are crossed, are similar to how Indian gods are portrayed to sit. Christians come up strongly against the yoga instructors who still try to teach the old traditions. Their knowledge of health and body is important, but not as important as maintaining faith in God for the religious.
The sun salutation was originally meant as a form of greeting to the sun god who is believed to be first among the other deities. God, for other religions, is the only supreme being and the only one to be prayed to. ‘ Salutation’ to God does not involve raising your hands above your head in a prayer position and bringing them down to your chest, then bowing. Prayers according to Christians can be done in any position and should only be made to God through his son Jesus Christ. Bowing, according to Christians, Jews, and Muslims, to any other god apart from the heavenly father is considered idolatry.
Whether placing your hands’ palms down with your hips raised and chin touching your chest is a means of worship to a Hindu god may not be known, but what bothers religious people, is that the pose is referred to as a downward-facing dog. Dogs are just animals and hold no spiritual connection to us as humans according to Christians, Jews as well as Muslims. Cats, as well as cows, are mere domestic animals that are used as pets or as sources of food. Yoga then goes ahead and uses the animals as points of reference for certain deities. Hindus, in particular, hold cows as spiritual creatures who should be worshiped. Some households in India live with their cows inside the house as a means of respecting their god.
Christian yogis who just cannot give up on the health benefits of yoga prefer to rename the poses to be on the safe side of religion. They even use a different name to refer to the stretches such as wholly fitting, outstretched in worship, or praise moves. Strong critics still believe that no matter what, you can not separate yoga from its Hindu roots. They believe that you cannot also spiritualize it within your faith, such as when people say a contemplative prayer, using the physical part to help get them peaceful and balanced.
Stretching poses in yoga are driven by human efforts in trying to achieve a means of freedom of spirit from worldly struggles otherwise known as salvation. The Bible teaches that a man by his human effort cannot attain salvation. Sin is a violation of God’s divine law whereas human effort, though good, is not good enough to bring salvation to faithful followers. Freedom from sin can only be attained when a person proclaims that they believe in Jesus Christ as the way, the truth as well as the light they will ever need. No matter how much yoga is adjusted, it just cannot be torn away from its connection to the Hindu gods.