Robert Velarde
Watchman Fellowship, Inc.


Is it possible to practice yoga apart from its decidedly Eastern religious worldview, and do so safely? The simple answer is no; it is not possible to practice true yoga without the underlying spirituality it purports to promote. If yoga is practiced in such a fashion—divorced from its spiritual roots and purposes—then it is not true yoga. As Wilson and Weldon note:

The goal of yoga is the same as Hinduism—Hindu God-realization, i.e., for the yoga devotee to realize that he is one with Brahman, the highest impersonal Hindu God. The physical exercises of yoga are designed to prepare the body for the psychospiritual change vital to inculcating this idea into the consciousness and being of the person. Hence talk of separating yoga practice from theory is meaningless. From a Christian perspective, whether the two can safely be divided is doubtful. ‘I do yoga, but Hinduism isn’t involved,’ is an incorrect statement. Those who do ‘yoga exercises’ alone run the risk of spiritual warfare entering their lives.

The question may then arise, “Why can’t Christians practice yoga and just ignore any spiritual aspects of it that are at odds with Christianity?” By definition yoga is spiritual, but not in any Christian sense:

…yogic exercises are not merely a collection of ancient maneuvers that happen to improve muscle tone and provide some relaxation at the end of a long day; they are, in fact, religious exercises that are intended to induce a particular experience—not just a belief—that we are one with Brahman, the Absolute.