Why Christian Yoga

Brenda’s Philosophy of Ministry

Yoga is the Sanskrit word for exercise, or discipline.  It is most commonly associated with Hinduism and many Christians may wonder if they should practice yoga.  Others may seek out yoga thinking that traditional Christian faith does not provide the benefits of Eastern disciplines.  WHOLY FORMED Fitness Ministries has an answer to these concerns.  In Christ we are united East and West, body and soul, mental and emotional, heaven and earth.

When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus appeared to quote the Old Testament.  But he was once asked the same question by a Scribe (see Mark 12:28-34) and Jesus answered it differently.  He changed the first commandment by adding a new dimension of human personality.  According to Moses we are to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength.  According to Jesus we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  He added soul, meaning spirituality.  In so doing Jesus affirmed the four ways to enlightenment outlined by the Gurus of India.

But there is a significant difference between Christianity and Hinduism.  The Gurus allow one to pick and choose which of the four paths to follow.  It is usually the one an individual likes the best or can do the best!  But God’s commandment to us is that he wants all the aspects and dimensions of ourselves, all at once, giving everything we know of ourselves to our best understanding of God.  And we know from Scripture that there are not four ways to enlightenment but one – Jesus.  In him are found all the four ways, all the disciplines we need to be happy, healthy … and saved for eternity.  In Christ is the true balance that requires us to develop every part and potential that we possess in order to reflect the full glory of God, in whose image and likeness we are made. 

WHOLY FORMED Fitness Ministries brings it all together according to the Word of God, seeking a true balance through Jesus Christ by developing our Mind, Body, Soul and Spirit.   Holy means to be completely dedicated to God in our being and doing.  God wants us to be wholly formed, formed in Christ, transformed into his image, spiritual formation.

Following the pattern of the various yogic exercises we find in the New Testament are these, by way of example:

  • Spiritually (Raja Marga), Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer as a mantra, or pattern of prayer with the exact words to use.  As we say these words, consciously concentrating on each word, phrase, and the meaning they convey as a whole, we make the best possible prayer.  It is the Royal Way.  As children of the King of Heaven we pray, Our Father …
  • Physically (Karma Marga), Paul uses the analogy of an athlete to speak of how he runs the race in order to win the prize (see I Corinthians 9:24-27).  He speaks of disciplining the body in order to serve God better.  He means his physical body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (see I Corinthians 6:19).  How can we love God with all our strength if we are weak?  Karma refers to the cause-effect realities of the universe – if we practice proper diet, rest, hygiene, and exercise we feel better.  If we indulge or abuse the body we feel bad.  It’s a simple matter of consequences.
  • Emotionally (Bhakti Marga), we are called upon not to deny any emotion but to direct them toward their appropriate objects.  Paul says, for instance, to hate evil and love the good (see Romans 12:9).  Our romantic desires, as well, should not be denied but guided toward their proper object, the beloved in holy matrimony, according to God’s plan for our fulfillment.  In worship we express our attachment to God, twice daily, with morning and evening prayer, and on Sunday, the Lord’s Day.  Scripture says that God yearns jealously for us (see James 4:5).  God want our attention and devotion.
  • Intellectually (Jnana Marga), we are instructed (see Philippians 4:8), Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Sound preaching and teaching, Bible study, and Christian conversation and fellowship help keep our thinking logical and straight, in accordance with a godly philosophy of life and values.

WHOLY FORMED Fitness Ministries offers a place to praise, worship, and make a connection to Christ through movement and meditation. You will begin to take time to love, nurture, accept, heal and grow in the Word and the Spirit of God.  Christian Yoga will help you if you are seeking a relationship with God or you would like to deepen your relationship with Him by combining numerous and proven health benefits of a yoga practice with scriptural teaching and prayer.