If you're a Christian should you practice yoga? What is it, and is it wrong or bad for you?"
Why Can't Jehovah's Witnesses Do Yoga?
As I finished my yoga class, I took a moment to give thanks. I appreciated my body, how good I felt, the strength that I have, and how wonderfully we are made in God's image. I appreciated how my body was becoming more flexible. I gave thanks for the breath of life that we all take for granted. I thanked God for his love. I looked at my teacher and others in the class. I felt connected with God, myself, and everyone in the room. It was as if we were one, - fully in tune with each other and the source of all life.
Then suddenly it made sense why the Watchtower Society believes yoga is not for Christians.  The first thing that came to mind, is flexibility. The more I practice yoga the more flexible and balanced I become. Jesus was very flexible in his teachings compared to the Scribes and Pharisees. Watchtower doctrines on the other hand are very rigid and strict. There are many rules and regulations. They believe that many things are wrong. See 141 Things Jehovah's Witnesses Can't Do
The second thing I thought about is how separate Jehovah's Witnesses are from everyone outside of their religion. Yoga is about oneness, connection, appreciation, acceptance, and love without judgment. Could that be why Jehovah's Witnesses believe yoga is wrong or bad? I did notice that yoga conflicts with the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses.
When I was a Jehovah's Witness I believed that the practice of yoga is not Christian. However today I totally disagree. In fact, my study of yoga has made me a better Christian and follower of Jesus. The practice of yoga in my opinion can be applied to any religion that teaches love, appreciation, respect, honor, honesty, integrity, modesty, humility, and other good qualities.
Is Yoga Bad For You?
Is yoga bad for Christians? Jehovah's Witnesses believe that yoga is more than exercise. It is a spiritual practice used in Eastern religions particularly Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
Is Yoga Wrong For Christians?
Let's remember that Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Christianity are eastern religions. Jesus wasn't born in California. Is there something wrong with eastern religions that aren't Christian? Jainism for example is an ancient religion that requires non-violence towards all living things. Does that sound like a bad religion to you? Of course not. Jesus taught us to be non-violent and examples of God's love.
There are commonalities in all religions. For example, if a Hindu or Buddhist prays, meditates, and appreciates nature, does that mean that those practices are not for Christians? Isn't it possible that Christians could do many of the same things people of other religions do? Since people of many religions practice yoga, it is likely very good for anyone who believes in peace, love, appreciation, flexibility, strength, and balance.
What Are The Benefits of Yoga?
This is what yoga is all about. Are the following qualities bad for Christians? What did Jesus teach?
- Yoga is about flexibility, love, and balance
- Yoga is an exercise that involves self control
- Yoga is about appreciating your body and giving thanks
- Yoga is about acceptance without judgment
- Yoga is about honoring and respecting others
Can Christians Do Yoga?
If you're a Christian, is yoga good for you to do? Examine your Bible and read the words of Jesus. What would Jesus say about yoga? Would he say the fundamental principles of yoga are bad? If not, then yoga might be for Christians after all. In fact yoga can make us better Christians because Jesus taught many of the same things.
Christian Freedom and Interesting Observations.
1. As with most JW rules, the leadership avoids issuing direct commands whenever possible. Instead of saying 'you are not allowed to do yoga', they'll imply JW's can't do it because it's unchristian, or 'Jehovah' doesn't approve of it, or it's a pagan practice, or 'the Bible says this, ... and here's what it means. ...' etc.
The consequences of breaking most rules isn't clear either. If they were to publish a list of 150 things JW's can't do along with the punishment for breaking each rule, how many new members would they attract? Instead they'll say something like 'Yoga is not for Christians' and then they proceed to give a few reasons. By carefully choosing their words, they create the illusion that the organization does not control members and Jehovah is charge. Who is Jehovah?
See Mind Control to understand why millions of Jehovah's Witnesses don't disagree about anything! They always 'speak in agreement'. To JW's this means they have 'the truth'. To critics it means they are being manipulated. Examine the evidence and draw your own conclusions.
The Watchtower, Aug 1, 2002, Article: 'Yoga - Just an Exercise or Something More?', Subtitle: 'Not a Choice for Christians'
'Yoga can expose one to the dangers of spiritism and occultism.' The Watchtower, Aug 15, 2002, Article: 'Do You Remember?' Last par (Note: Spiritualism is not allowed in the WT religion. Ironically though, their baptism vows refers to 'God's spirit-directed organization', i.e. the Watchtower. The religion also claims to be God's channel of communication)
Awake! Feb 22, 1983, Article: 'Yoga - Is It For You?'