Is Yoga Sinful?

john-piperPastor John Piper:

Audio Transcript – (original source here)

We have a stack of 60 emails from listeners in Scotland, the States, and India who all want to know about yoga. Is it mere physical exercise or unavoidable participation in eastern spirituality? One listener, Todd, writes, “As a healthcare professional I am interested in the benefits of eastern practices like yoga and tai chi for the documented health benefits. Can a Christian practice such things with roots in mysticism in good conscience?” What would you say Pastor John?

One of the first things that I would want to say is that there are two kinds of approaches to questionable practices in life. One I would call a minimalist approach to holiness and godliness. The other maximalist.

In the first case, your typical question is, “Well, what is wrong with it?” It would apply to movies and music, and kids often ask their parents, “What is wrong with it?” And the other approach is not to ask, “What is wrong with it?” mainly, but, “Will it make me more Christ like? Will it make me more devoted to Jesus? Will I be more powerful and full of the Holy Spirit? Will I be more effective in prayer because of it? Will it make me more bold in witness or weaken me? Will it help me be spiritually discerning of the ways of Satan in the world and will it help me lay up treasures in heaven? Will it help me find joy in God and all that he is for me in Jesus?”

You can see that there are these two kinds of approaches to life. I want to maximize my godliness and my holiness by drawing nearer and nearer to God, and the other one is just trying to do as many things as you can do without being tripped up explicitly by sin. So I don’t mean to suggest that every time you face a questionable activity, you will opt for renunciation, because you have weighed things that way. I just want people to approach questions with the greatest passions for godliness and to not think minimalistically. That is the first thing I would want to say. Continue reading