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.


David Burnette8/14/2019 10:43 pm
Yoga doesn't have anything to offer that I need but can't get from Holy Orthodoxy. It's a corruption of Right Worship for those to practice it, and it is a corruption of Right Faith for those who espouse and defend and promote it. If there is a similar practice to yoga in Orthodoxy, then that's no defense of yoga but a clear reason why it has no purpose or value. If there is not a similar practice to yoga in Orthodoxy, then there is every reason in the world NOT to practice it.
Maria Loriot 7/30/2019 10:18 am
I have been a Christian from birth.. later as a young adult I studied Eastern beliefs and joined a very reputable origination of Hindu bieliefs.I didn't practice the physical forms of yoga much, only a few exercises which was to help prepare the body to he still for meditation on God ax the one and only creator of the universe.
I prayed for a vision to know if this was the right path. I received the vision and followed the path for many yrs. I don't know what happen but finally but I became I tetesyex in Christianity again by watching a televangalist program one night and I found myself weeping and asking Jesus to come into my life and save me.. I then began yo attend Evangical churches. It was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time. Then again many yrs later I became interested in going back yo my Catholic church. However all the talk about abuse in the church caused me to shun again the church. I DIDN'T GO TO ANY CHURCH FOR A WHILE. Then something else happened.. I wanted to know the truth AGAIN... Somehow I stumbled soon the Orthodox Church by knowing someone who had married an Orthodox Christian. I began attending an orthodox church and reading books on orthodoxy and fell in love with the ancient church. I WANTED TO Worship God as people did in the old way.. I found The Way ad they called it then. Finally I decided to he Chrismated into the Orthodox Church. I still don't myself wanting to meditate because it calms me and helps me think of God.But now I meditate on God and the Holy Spirit alone and I call soon the Holy Mother of God for her guidance and prayers for help to he a good Orthodox Christian.
Sometimes I find myself drawn to wanting yo do some yoga exercises strictly for physical health and body conditioning.. Because people I see who practice yoga and Tychi seem to he in such good physical shape and some are over 90 yrs old. I admire their physical strength and youthful appearance and I want to be physically healthy.. But I also don't want to go against my Orthodox teachings in any way... So I just don't indulge in yoga..
But I do know some Orthodox ladies who do practice Yoga for health.. Prayer is good... But what is an Orthodox supposed to do for relaxation techniques and for physical strength other than walking and swimming?
The people I know who do TiChe are really healthy and some have actually converted to Christianity, but still practice TiChi for health..very I interesting. Any suggestions from
Orthodox Priest or Authority.
Thanks for helping a Sincere Orthodox Lady to find balance.
In Christ.
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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