Hello, again! Welcome to another Random Thursday, where the posts are, well, random! On my mind today is Yoga, and specifically the controversy regarding Christians engaging in it. I know this was in the news a couple of weeks ago when both Albert Mohler, and Mark Driscoll, came out against it. Dr. Mohler further clarified, when questioned, that Yoga—when divorced from its attendant Eastern spirituality—was no longer Yoga, but stretching. Yesterday on Twitter, Skye Jethani—yes, he tweets now (@skye_jethani)!–linked to a HuffPo article by Rajiv Malhotra, founder of the Infinity Foundation, entitled A Hindu View of ‘Christian Yoga.’ Mr. Malhotra makes no bones about agreeing with Dr. Mohler—Yoga is, in his view, inherently incompatible with Christian spirituality. He gives numerous reasons—chief among them reincarnation and Karma—for stating so. And he’s right: nowhere does the Bible teach reincarnation: “It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment” ring any bells? When I think of what in the East is termed Karma, I take it to be a Hindu spin on what can be called the Law of Reciprocity—what goes around comes around. Or in biblical terms “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” In that sense, in my mind at least, the concept of Karma—strictly as a concept, mind you–is not entirely unbiblical (admittedly I know next to nothing about Eastern religions). However, the devil is as they say, in the details, and that is not all that is meant by Karma in the Hindu sense. It’s, instead, like the gift that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving, and giving—is, in fact, something that accrues as one knocks through multiple lifetimes, trying to get clear, and reach Brahman, the infinite. Thus Karma is intrinsically linked to reincarnation, and thus is entirely incompatible with historic Christianity. All of which is a circuitous route to get to the questions I want to ask: do you think Yoga is an acceptable practice for Christians to engage in? Why, or why not? Can Yoga be separated from its underlying Eastern spirituality and still be Yoga (or does it merely devolve into stretching at that point)? Are the Yogic exercises themselves inherently Hindu as Mr. Malhotra contends? Your answers in the comments, please.
Lest you think I’ve forgotten, this wouldn’t be Random Thursday without a list. So without further ado I bring you the top 10 ‘Christian Yoga’ poses:
10. The Son Salutation–because nothing says “Good morning, Jesus!” quite as well.
9. The “Corpse Pose”–because you really will feel dead to yourself after doing Yoga.
8. The “Child’s Pose”–because your Christian instructor will actually think you’re praying while
you catch a few winks
7. The “Camel”–because nothing screams “Chris Tomlin” quite as loud
6. The “Crane”–because no defense is possible!
5. The “Cobra”–because who really needs all those vertebrae anyway? Besides, God can heal
4. The “Plough”–you’ve been sneaking in to see Benny Hinn again, haven’t you?
3. The “Cow Face”–what you make when you get the bill for the aforementioned “miracle!”
2. The “Downward-Facing Dog”–the posture your assume when your wife sees the “miracle”
1. The “Auspicious Pose”–you assumed it because you wanted to show off your mad Yoga
skillz, but realize you’re stuck and haven’t felt your legs in half-an-hour—so you go on
holding it, thinking people will be impressed with you, you hypocrite!