To those who’ve bothered to read this post, my guess is that you’re here to find out if yoga is really effective in the long-term scenario. And so, I am going to talk about yoga in this post as I look at it from a Christian perspective, a mental health perspective, and a practical perspective. My goal is to go into the depths of analysis as I deal with the question and I hope you find something helpful from this post.
Stretching One’s Self for Mental Peace? Is Yoga Really Effective in the Long-Term?
For those who don’t know, yoga is a series of stretches and breathing exercises originating from the East (India). Interestingly enough, the West (America & Canada) actively embrace yoga.
And what does yoga promise? Rather, how do gurus and yoga instructors mass-market yoga as? Well, they say “yoga is good for your mind, it eases the muscles, and reduces stress.”
I mean, sure, it’s an exercise that eases the muscles, but, why do people idealize yoga so much? So, in the next subsection, I’ll be taking a closer look at what it means to do yoga. As yoga protrudes beyond the boundary of exercise and into the territory of spiritual matters.
Why the Hype?
Ever wondered why yoga is so popular right now, especially in the West? Well, I think I’ve found the reason why. It’s because it’s foreign.
There’s a part of human nature that loves things which are foreign. People crave something unknown and that’s why advertisings of healthy protein shakes or perfumes always mention some tropical fruit or ingredient foreign to the Western climate.
But, aside from its physical risks, yoga poses spiritual risks often too grim for imagination. Remember, I said that it originates from the East?
Well, it originates as a practice meant to yoke with the so-called “gods” or “universal consciousness” of Hinduism. As a matter of fact, the word “yoga,” comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj,” defined as “to unite.”
And just take a look at the meanings behind poses in popular types of yoga such as Hatha yoga. One pose is the Warrior pose which embraces the story of a Hindu deity’s son known as “Virabhadra.”
Another pose is the Corpse pose, a pose where one stretches with their back touching the floor. This yoga pose intends to prepare one for death. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to embrace death in any way or manner.
Psalm 118:17 King James Version (KJV)
17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.
Continuing on, this craving for the foreign is exactly why Eve ate the forbidden fruit.
Genesis 3:6 World English Bible (WEB)
6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took some of its fruit, and ate. Then she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate it, too.
The Bible says that Eve saw that the one tree which God told her not to eat from as visually appealing and it promised her wisdom. Yoga is similar to this forbidden fruit in that it is visually appealing to many with its foreign, Eastern charm and promise of peace.
The tree Eve ate from was unlike any of the trees which God had made for Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. So, she disobeyed God and ate from that tree.
Both Adam and Eve disobeyed God but obeyed the devil which tempted them to eat from that tree. And this disobedience allowed sin, death, sickness, injustice, and more to enter the world of humans.
Romans 5:12 World English Bible (WEB)
12 Therefore as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; so death passed to all men, because all sinned.
Bearing the Yolk of Lord Jesus, Alone
At the end of the day, yoga is endued with many spiritual implications. It is a result of Hinduism and is saturated with various Hindu concepts and spiritual meanings.
I know people who’ve practised yoga, and if anything, it’s made things worse for them. But, I’ve seen the transformative power of God’s love in Christ Jesus which changed the lives of various people who I know.
As a Christian, it is spiritually wrong to practice yoga. If you want mental peace, calmness, and no stress, then ask God. Ask Christ Jesus for the peace and grace which He promises to those who trust Him.
John 14:27 World English Bible (WEB)
27 Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, I give to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.
Lord Jesus Christ is God who came down to Earth in the form of a human being and He bore the punishment for your sins on the cross and sacrificed Himself for you. Three days after dying, Lord Jesus Christ rose again, conquering death in your place, which I talk more about in this post. Now, when you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, you can enjoy a relationship with God, Himself.
Romans 5:15 World English Bible (WEB)
15 But the free gift isn’t like the trespass. For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
Trust God for the peace that surpasses human understanding, and read His lovely word, the Bible.
Pray to God, and tell Him about the things that trouble you. He will take care of you and make everything turn out for your good.
Philippians 4:6-7 World English Bible (WEB)
6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
In the end, yoga follows the principles of Hinduism, by nature. If you do yoga, you are embracing a worldview contrary to the Christian worldview.
1 Corinthians 10:21 World English Bible (WEB)
21 You can’t both drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You can’t both partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons.
And Jesus makes it clear in His Word to only bear His yolk instead of doing yoga and yoking with spiritual beings.
Matthew 11:28-30 World English Bible (WEB)
28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”