A ministry called Lighthouse Trails Publishing sent me a booklet by the late Ray Yungen (he died of complications from cancer treatment in 2016) entitled, Yoga—Exercise or Religion—Does It Matter?i This blog is in part a review and in part comments by me regarding my experiences with yoga.
I came to faith through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ in September of 1972, the start of my senior year in college. I remember a young man I met who was involved in the CCC ministry at my school, U. C. Irvine. When we were riding to a College Life meeting one night, he told me that he had found yoga and Eastern meditative practices to be wonderful aids in his walk with Christ. I was alarmed. Even as a new believer, I knew that those practices opened the door to the occult.
Over the years I have known many born-again people who have taken yoga. They viewed it purely as exercise. In fact, I’ve known of churches that offer Christian yoga classes.
Yungen does a great job, IMO, of showing why yoga is more than mere exercise. The ultimate aim of yoga is for its adherents not simply to practice the various poses and breathing practices. Ultimately, it is a religion that seeks to have its followers adopt its worldview. Included in that worldview is that God is in all of us; we are God; we are all one; there are no sexual taboos; Eastern meditative practices are crucial to self-transformation and to experiencing God within us; the cross of Christ was not necessary; man needs no redemption; and, enlightenment is not found in the Bible or Christianity, but in the ongoing practice of yoga over a lifetime.
Concerning yoga’s view of sexuality, Yungen asks this provocative question, “Could it be that at least part of the reason homosexuality has become so accepted over the last thirty years, even now within mainstream Christianity, is due to the widespread influence of yoga and other mystically based practices?” (p. 7).
I realize that some people might be able to do the exercises without buying in to the religious worldview. However, Yungen persuaded me that many people do end up adopting the worldview of yoga. I agree with him that yoga is dangerous.
I found Yungen’s booklet to be a helpful warning. I recommend it.
iRay Yungen, Yoga—Exercise or Religion—Does It Matter? NP: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2015. 11 pages. $1.95, with quantity discounts.