Wednesday, November 26, 2008




Is it possible for a Christian to practise yoga simply as a method of exercise without incorporating the spirituality or philosophy behind it?

Rev James Wong of the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia in Sandakan said Christians should not get involved with yoga because the goal of yoga is clearly associated with a religious and spiritual understanding of life and death.

It is a kind of physical and exercise grounded in religious beliefs, he said.

“There are other forms of physical exercse that can give you physical and mental benefits equal to what yoga can provide. Why must you get involved in a practice that has intimate connection with a religion or religious beliefs?” he told The, Borneo Post yesterday.

Meditation, which is part of the practice of yoga, opens one’s spirit to the spiritual world, he pointed out.

“For example we are to meditate on the Word of God day and night (Joshua 1:8)so that our thoughts are ruled by the Word of God. We do not allow our minds to be opened to the influences of other spirits through meditation other than the influence of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

He added: “For Christians, the First Commandment reads: ‘I am the Lord your God, ... and you shall have no other gods before me.’

“This is the will of God for our lives. We worship God by our total submission to Him and would not practise anything that has association with other religious beliefs lest we are construed as unfaithful to the God that we worship,”

In KOTA KINABALU, Sacred Heart Cathedral Yoouth Counsellor George Thien said it is not dificult to understand the fatwa banning Muslims from practising yoga.
He said the Catholic Church’s advice to Christians is also “not to go for it.”

In SANDAKAN, yoga teacher/instructor Elanor Wong said yoga is all about stretching and relaxation.

“As far as I am concerned, the yoga that I have learnt from Englahd is not related to religion at all,” she said.