Holy Yoga: Exercise. for the Christian Body and Soul
Roth, Bordenkircher, and Boon are trying to infuse Hindu concepts and disciplines with Christian meaning. By doing so, they are unmistakably implying that Hindu religious structures are valid, and by merging them with Christian content they not only improve on Hinduism, but also on Christianity. This is religious syncretism, pure and simple. To argue that yoga predates Hinduism and therefore is spiritually safe is not tenable, for the following reasons:.
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Does he also co-opt voodoo, channeling, astrology, LSD, and idol worship? There has rarely been a religious practice that was developed with more rigorous, systematic precision to accomplish the goals that flow from that religion than yoga. As we saw clearly in part one, the whole elaborate, eight-limbed practice of yoga is designed for the purpose of quieting all thoughts so that the practitioner no longer identifies with his or her temporal, phenomenal ego and consciously can unite with his supposedly eternal, divine Self. Altered states of consciousness are the means through which unregenerate people have spiritual experiences, and since these experiences are not through the mediation of Jesus Christ, from the Christian perspective, whatever is being experienced is not the Holy Spirit.
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They are already in a relationship with Him and if they draw near to Him by faith they will find that He draws near to them James ; cf. To argue, therefore, as Boon does, 27 that yoga is a universal practice that is no more exclusively Hindu than prayer is exclusively Christian ignores the critical differences between the two.
It is no accident that yoga arose in one specific culture and then spread across the world from there, whereas prayer spontaneously appears in virtually all human cultures throughout history. We cannot hear God speaking to our hearts if our minds are cluttered with requests, worries, and complaints. Meditation is an exercise in contemplation.
It is a silent or contemplative form of prayer in which we focus on God, a specific attribute of God, or a passage of Scripture.
Boon is profoundly confused on the subject of meditation, and, unfortunately, she is spreading her confusion around. Part of her definition of Christian meditation is correct. It is an active mental process that involves reflecting on the attributes, works, and words of God, but she has bent the definition to include elements of Eastern meditation. This merging of two utterly distinct practices is what breeds the confusion.
Christian meditation more likely would accompany Bible study than prayer. There is indeed a place for listening in Christian devotions, but it is commonly considered a component of prayer and is not properly called meditation. Boon is right that at times we need to quiet our anxious thoughts and listen to God, but this is an art that Christians have cultivated throughout church history through the sustained practice of prayer.
An Eastern discipline designed to empty the mind of all thought is neither necessary nor helpful to Christian prayer. Mental disciplines such as those practiced in Eastern meditation are spiritually dangerous even when practiced by Christians-even when they are trying to keep their minds on God, which is hard to do anyway when one is focusing on an activity such as breathing or on an object such as a candle.
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Again, such mind-altering techniques are not necessary for someone in whom His Spirit dwells. She writes that. People throughout history have devised ways to delve into that mystery, to try to experience it even if they could not grasp it. Instinctually, people have known that there are ways to experience God that defy logic and reason. We value our minds above all else.
If we can think it and know it intellectually, then it must exist. But we have to remind ourselves that God exists far outside this capacity to think. They take us beyond what we can think into a realm of experience that is of the heart and body and soul. These disciplines draw us closer to God through means that are more mysterious than simply reading the Bible or praying. Does much of God exist beyond our ability to understand?
Does that mean we leave our understanding behind and trust our feelings to experience God more? Unlike the God of yoga, who exists beyond the dualities of logic and morality, the God of the Bible is rational and volitional as well as capable of feeling. He created us in His image and He expects us to employ all of our faculties whenever we approach Him. Boon was right to quote Mark at the beginning of her book, but she needs to meditate on the fact that Jesus tells us to worship God not only with all of our heart, soul, and strength, but also with all of our mind.
They both may be committed Christian women who sincerely believe that they are bringing glory to God and doing a service to His people. The kind of error they are perpetrating is the kind in which any Christian could become ensnared if she or he launches into a ministry based on her enthusiasm for some activity before properly submitting it to scrutiny by the body of Christ. I hope we can be on this learning journey together. Since yoga is a spiritual practice, yoga teachers naturally assume the role of guru or teacher, especially if they go beyond teaching asanas and expound on spiritual matters, which Christian yoga teachers do.
Not only that-they are proposing a revolutionary approach to spirituality.
The most they can cite to back such teaching are a few isolated teachers within church history, and that largely from the medieval Catholic mystical period. They do not seem to realize that much of the medieval mystical tradition, including the book Cloud of Unknowing , on which Roth relies, 34 was heavily influenced by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, whose sixth-century A. Much of Christian mysticism is suspect from an evangelical, biblical perspective, yet Christian yoga authors turn to it again and again to substantiate the Christian nature of their approach to yoga.
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Boon, Brooke. Physical Description xvi, p.
Holy yoga : exercise for the Christian body and soul / Brooke Boon. - Version details - Trove
Published London : FaithWords, c Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 3 of 3. Author Boon, Brooke. Edition 1st ed. Subjects Christianity and yoga. Contents Understanding yoga The holiness of yoga Worshiping God with our whole selves Answering the objections The holy yoga lifestyle How yoga benefits your mind and body When, where, and how? The breath of life Meditation : be still and know Putting it all together Standing postures Balancing postures Arm-balancing postures Inverted postures Backward-bending postures Twisting postures Forward-bending postures Sitting postures Reclining and relaxation postures Routines.
Notes Formerly CIP.