Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sign up for Outside+.
By now it’s common knowledge that yoga has its roots in Hinduism. For this reason one Seattle pastor says there’s no room for yoga in Christianity. Yoga is demonic, says Pastor Mark Driscoll, and it can’t be separated from its Hindu roots in order to make it acceptable practice for Christians.
“Going to a yoga studio to practice yoga as a Christian is a bit like going into a mosque to practice Islam as a Christian,” he writes in a recent blog post.
Driscoll makes his case by exploring yoga history and philosophy and citing both Hindu and yoga scholars and passages from the Bible.
“My hope is that you’ll begin to see clearly how yoga at its core is much more than a physical exercise but rather a system of thought that contends against Christianity and subtly finds its way into our thinking, habits, and lifestyles,” he writes.
This is not a new debate. While it’s probably safe to assume that few yoga practitioners believe that the practice is demonic, many agree with Driscoll’s view that yoga and Eastern spirituality cannot be separated. Even styles of yoga that appear to focus solely on the physical body or that use it as a tool for Christian worship are still in direct opposition to the Christian viewpoint that Jesus is the one and only way to salvation, according to Driscoll. Whether you agree with him or not, you have to admit he makes a compelling case.