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Compatibility of Yoga and Christianity

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Excerpted from: http://www.swamij.com/yoga-christianity.htm COMPATIBILITY OF YOGA AND CHRISTIANITY Yoga is increasingly being practiced by Christian people of
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2007
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      Excerpted from:
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-christianity.htm

      COMPATIBILITY OF YOGA AND CHRISTIANITY

      Yoga is increasingly being practiced by Christian people of the
      world, particularly in the West. While it is easy for critics to
      argue that the two are incompatible, many people intuitively know
      that Yoga, which is not a religion, and Christianity really are quite
      compatible. Actually, principles of Yoga are already contained within
      Christianity and Christian meditation. To say that Yoga is compatible
      with Christianity is not to say that that the two are the same.
      Compatibility and sameness are two very different principles. In
      addition, it is important to note that there may be individual
      denominations opposed to Yoga practices with body, breath and mind,
      just as there are individual denominations opposed to medical
      treatment, modern technology, or a variety of social and cultural
      activities. However, the fact that some denominations are opposed,
      and thus incompatible with Yoga in their individual view, does not
      mean that the whole of Christianity is incompatible.

      While some critics of Yoga say that it is not compatible with
      Christianity, there is already tremendous diversity of opinions and
      practices within the Christian religion, which serves a broad variety
      of people. The World Christian Encyclopedia (pub. 2001) is quoted as
      estimating that there are over 28,000 Christian denominations (later
      updated to 33,830 and 39,000 according to different sources). The
      World Christian Database says that over 9,000 denominations are
      represented in its database (2004). Another Christian resource on the
      Internet says that the number of Christian denominations has
      increased to over 35,500 from approximately 1900 denominations that
      existed a hundred years ago. If there is room for tens of thousands
      of denominations within Christianity, surely there is plenty of room
      for Yoga to be practiced by its adherents who choose to do so.

      It is very useful to be aware of the polarities of Esoteric and
      Exoteric religion. Many of the people practicing Yoga are drawn to
      the Esoteric end of the spectrum, which is the domain of mysticism.
      Throughout human history the Esoteric practitioners have been shunned
      by the more Exoteric people. Thus, it is not only Yoga that some
      Christians are opposed to, but also the the mystical practices of
      their own religion. In such cases, Yoga is a convenient, visible
      target, while the effort is actually one of attempting to suppress
      the subtler essence of their own roots.

      SEE ALSO these articles for info on Exoteric and Esoteric approaches:

      Mysticism, Yoga and Religion
      http://www.swamij.com/mysticism-yoga-religion.htm

      Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity
      http://www.swamij.com/steiner-exoteric-esoteric.htm
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