I have a question in response to your postings regarding "Is it OK for a Christian to Practice Yoga?". This posting addresses the incompatibility of Yoga with Christian beliefs. I agree with the content of the article and have many other resources that express similar views.
However, I am trying to find a Christian alternative for flexibility, stretching, and exercise that give similar health benefits. I am aware of the concern with some of the Yoga postures and want to stay away from anything that could be potentially harmful. I can find many resources to warn of the potential concerns of Yoga practice even for exercise, but I cannot find much in the way of positive alternatives.
Can you point me to some good sources for Christian stretching and exercise alternatives to yoga? This would be very beneficial for myself and for me to pass along to others.
Thanks for your question--it's a very good one! I wish I could give you a very clear and direct answer to your question, but unfortunately I cannot. Nevertheless, although I do not have a great deal of personal experience with stretching and exercise alternatives to Yoga, I do believe that there are probably some very worthwhile alternatives available.
[Note from the webmistress: Check out PraiseMoves, an orthodox Christian stretching program from a former yoga instructor who knows what she's doing. I am very impressed by her explanation of why yoga and Christianity are not compatible.]
A couple possibilities which you may want to consider are gymnastics and ballet. I know that those who are involved in these practices have to be very flexible, and of course both are extremely good forms of exercise. You can probably find some helpful books and/or videos on the web or at your local bookstore. You might even want to see what options are available in your area to get supervised training (e.g. a gymnastics or ballet class, etc.). In addition, you can probably find some helpful books which simply deal with the subject of stretching. Of course, some of these books may incorporate some stretches which are also used in yoga. But my personal opinion is that this would probably not be harmful. I tend to think there is a pretty big difference between incorporating some yoga stretches into a more comprehensive stretching program (on the one hand) and actually practicing the discipline of yoga (on the other).
I wish I could be of more help. But if you begin with gymnastics and ballet (and general books on stretching) I think you can probably find something that will accomplish all you like without the potential dangers from yoga practice. Even if you're not interested in gymnastics or ballet, books on these subjects could maybe point you in the right direction. You might also consider calling a local gymnastics coach, or ballet instructor, and asking their advice.
I wish you all the best!
About the Author
Michael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University and a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.
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