Being a practicing Christian myself, there are very few things in Yoga that conflict with Christianity. Some critics argue that Yoga and Christianity cannot co-exist, and yet we know that Yoga is not a religion. However, that depends on your opinion. Recently, I was reading about someone who claims Kundalini is "new age witchcraft." Sorry to say, another person recently stated, "Good Christians should avoid the devil's exercise," in reference to Yoga. Are the Salem witch trials still so close to our hearts? These claims are interesting because ministers and priests have been practicing meditation for centuries, without any complaints.
I suppose, if someone devoted enough time to meditating on bad thoughts, meditation would be a bad experience. To be honest, it depends upon what you meditate about; and in truth, within some schools of Yoga, Hinduism, or Buddhism is taught. For me, this has always been a conflict, as I love Yoga, but have no desire to change my faith. The many teachings of Yoga and meditation are non-sectarian. Now, if Yoga were a religion, which would it be? The principles of Yoga are universal. The Yamas and Niyamas are similar, in principle, to the Ten Commandments, but as a Christian you have the right to pick and choose what you want from Yoga.
You also have the right to avoid sectarian ashrams. Yoga practices, and meditation, give many Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and Moslems, a closer connection to God, but there will always be someone who feels tempted to change their faith. Let's be honest, the people who worry about a sudden change of faith are, for the most part, rooted in two distinct camps of thought. 1. Someone who is on the fence about their own religion and not quite sure where they really stand. 2.
Severe intolerance of any idea that is new or might result in opening the mind. Let's stop the intolerance now. When you are driving in your car, waiting in line or come face-to-face with someone who is different from you, please set an example for your children and give the other person a break. © Copyright 2005 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications.
Paul Jerard is the director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He's a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students wanting to be a Yoga teacher. http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org