Are you Christian? Forget about doing Yoga!

The Church would like people to replace Yoga with Prayer

June 17, 2015


The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church reacted to the UN’s decision to designate June 21 as International Day of Yoga in 2014. The Holy Synod’s statement says that the practice of yoga has “no place in the lives of Christians” since it is a fundamental aspect of Hinduism and as such is not considered a “form of exercise” but of worship!

Though praised for its calming effect and wellness, Christians are urged to seek the same comfort in God – not hindu practises. After all, the postures of yoga were created as adulation to 330 million Hindu gods. The postures are viewed in the Hindu faith as offerings to gods that in Christianity are considered to be idols.

Furthermore, a third of yoga is concerned with emptying the mind – a contradiction to what Christianity teaches. In the Christian faith, there is free choice and transformation through renewal. Furthermore, astral travel that yoga guides people into is a practise that the church continues to frown upon.

“For this reason, yoga is totally incompatible with our Christian Orthodox faith and it has no place in the life of Christians,” the statement said, even though it added that the the Church respects religious freedom.


Potiphar S. Flagrum5/12/2018 9:08 pm
Yoga is simply excersize mixed with spirituality...hence the difference. Icons incense and the like are externals for worship...its the internals such as spiritual meditation that The Church is mostly concerned about. Just Potiphars opinion
Theophil11/17/2017 10:05 am

“To think of yoga as a mere physical movement is tantamount to saying that baptism is just an underwater exercise.” writes Swami Param of the Classical Yoga Hindu Academy and Dharma Yoga ashram in Manahawkin, N.J.

Al6/11/2016 2:59 am
"a third of yoga is concerned with emptying the mind"

But how is that different from Orthodoxy's belief in being empty of thoughts except of God? Hesychasim, inner stillness?
Isidora11/9/2015 2:27 pm
I am grateful to read the Holy Synod's carefully considered pronouncement. In my own experience with yoga I found that it's main effect was a conditioning of the mind. No thank you as I believe my mind is to be conditioned/conformed to Christ. The main effect I noticed from yoga was pride. Those who oppose the Church and snark at her care in rendering judgements might consider the effect yoga is having on them for their own sake.
Daniel6/23/2015 4:54 pm
Somehow I'm reading between the lines that the author of this article does not necessarily agree with the Greek Holy Synod.

I've known deeply religious Christians that have also practised Yoga.

Did it take the Synod a year to react to something that already happened in 2014???
Michael6/20/2015 1:01 am
Yoga offers a very thorough exercise routine without the requirements of equipment or gym memberships. It is accessible and rehabilitative. I am sure that there is a religious/spiritual aspect to it which could be pursued but could also be ignored. Why shouldn't the physical benefits of yoga be available to Christians?
The argument presented in this article seems akin to saying that because incense is an integral part of Hindi religion and prayer, it should not be used in Christian religious ceremonies. Muslims use prayer beads, Sikhs use candles, Buddhist iconography precedes Christian iconography. We don't let these facts prevent our use of incense, prayer beads, candles or icons for Christian worship. I have seen the ceremonial use of brooms in Shinto. Do we need to give up sweeping too?
The only argument I've seen presented against the physical practice of yoga is that if coupled with a spiritual outlook, it has been/can be used as a means of religious practice for other religions. As explained above, the same can be said of incense, candles, icons, and beads. I welcome an explanation showing how yoga is different.
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