“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship.”
When I was young (a teenager), I used to compartmentalize my life. I had my life at school, my life at home, my life at church and my life in sports. I didn’t think much of how my relationship with God impacted things elsewhere.
Seeing that we are one whole person, in mind, body and spirit wherever we are at, we ought to think of what our purpose is in all areas of our life. Why do we sometimes just pray to God at certain times or places but not at other times? Why do we do things or make decisions without even considering God, even though we should be living for Him always. If we are believers, He is our ultimate purpose for living.
I thought about this a few years ago when I was considering my health and fitness. I was discouraged that there were many health and wellness programs but very few had to do with God. One program I can remember, is called Holy Yoga, a Christian alternative to Yoga. I had done Holy Yoga a few times, but was not very fond of it due to my lack of flexibility. I mentioned the name of the program to a fellow Christian but she said that program was, in her mind, not a good idea since Yoga is affiliated with pagan religions and worshipping Buddha.
A little over a year ago, I was experiencing from soreness due to bad posture and extended times of sitting in an office chair. I had a gym membership and I decided to take the Yoga class in order to help with my stiffness. It went ok until the end when you’re doing the praying hands and bowing. In my mind, I am praying to God, but since the instructor is not recognizing God, and just saying Namaste (means I bow to you); I doubt it even phased her.
I have decided to no longer go down that path. God wants all of us, not just parts of us. He doesn’t want us to make decisions with our career or our health based on what culture is doing and then only go to Him when times are tough or when we’re in church on Sunday.
As I’ve grown in my walk with God, I’m learning to seek Him in all things and do all things for His glory. I take care of my physical health, because God created my body and I need to take care of it because it’s a temple (see 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20), not just to feel healthier or live longer.
As far as doing stretches and yoga type fitness, I can do stretching on my own without being influenced or taking part in a yoga style class. Many people have said they do yoga because of the calmness it makes them feel. Our peace comes from God (see Romans 5:1). He is the one who can calm us during difficult times. Jesus was able to sleep peacefully during a storm because of God.
I know that this may be a sensitive topic for some who feel that yoga is no big deal and we’re not actually worshipping a pagan god. But I want to do what pleases God. I feel that many times, we have just accepted things because culture says it’s ok, but those things actually go against what the Bible preaches. And many of us as Christians don’t truly know all that our Bible preaches.
If we are looking to God in all things, and work to do all things for His glory, I believe He will give us peace and contentment.