Yoga is finding a new respectability and acceptance in churches, though its Hindu practitioners might have trouble recognizing it. Time magazine (Sept. 5) reports that “from Phoenix, Ariz., to Pittsburgh, Pa… hundreds of Christian yoga classes are in session.
A national association of Christian yoga teachers was started in July, and a slew of books and videos are about to hit the market.” Christian yoga often substitutes Christian prayers, such as the Jesus Prayer, or praise music for Hindu mantras. Others rework “vinyasa,” or a series of postures, to use biblical themes.
Purists criticize the use of yoga as a means of evangelism and Hindus argue that their religion is integral to the spiritual practice. But even Christian critics of the use of yoga by Christians tend to reject the name rather than the practice; one critic offers a series of postures she calls “Praise Moves.”