Lou asks: “My grand kids were talking about using a Wii game on their television to do yoga. Is this version proper exercise or a combination of physical positioning with spiritual roots?”
Unfortunately, all yoga has spiritual roots, whether it’s on Wii, a video or in a classroom setting.
Yoga is one of the six branches of classical Hindu philosophy and is referred to in the Vedas, which are ancient Indian scriptures. The goal of yoga is to reach “Kaivalya” (ultimate freedom) by releasing the soul from the chains of cause and effect (karma) which tie the person to continual reincarnation. Yoga uses physical exercises, powers of concentration and breathing techniques as well as meditation to achieve these ends.
As Lou correctly points out, even the physical poses themselves have spiritual roots. They were designed as positions of worship to any one of about 330 million Hindu gods.
For instance, the salute to the sun posture, which is used at the beginning of most classes, pays homage to the Hindu sun god. The cobra position, in which you form your body into a snake, is designed to worship the snake god.
Even the seemingly harmless “namaste” which is often said at the end of a class means “I bow to the god within you” and the frequently used “om” chant is designed to bring the mind into a trance-like state so it can be joined with the “universal mind.”
No matter how trendy it is (and it’s VERY trendy right now, raking in more than $27 billion a year in the U.S.), yoga should be avoided by Christians. This includes classes that claim to “Christianize” yoga. Christianizing yoga is not possible, at least not according to Hindu swamis who laugh at the mere idea. You can’t Christianize yoga any more than you can Christianize Hindu.
But those who seek to profit off Christians are sure trying to convince us otherwise!
There’s so much more to be said about yoga. Check out the 46-page booklet on this subject in our Learn to Discern: Is It Christian or New Age series, available here: http://shop.womenofgrace.com/product/181/