The Christianity and Yoga Meditation – Myths

christianity and yoga meditation

There are many misconceptions about the relationship between Christianity and yoga meditation. This article seeks to dispel some of these myths.

Intro to Christianity and Yoga Meditation

Meditation is the practice of focusing all your senses on a specific subject. The goal is to achieve peace of mind or union with the Supreme Being. Since immemorial, meditation has figured prominently in many religious and spiritual practices. However, meditation is mainly associated with Hinduism and Buddhism. As a result, many questions whether yoga meditation is compatible with Christianity.

Why is that so?

Here are some common misconceptions:

  • The focus of yoga meditation on the self is unhealthy.
  • It promotes being one with the universe or God.
  • It supports emptying the mind, opening practitioners to demonic possession.
  • It makes you escape reality.

First, there is no evidence that the Bible is against meditation.

Meditation is mentioned, or referred to, numerous times in the Bible.

The Bible on Meditation

The word or the idea of meditation appears in many of the books of the Bible. The Hebrew and Greek words below from the Bible translate to “meditate” or “meditation.”

Examples of People Meditating in the Bible

A few prominent characters in the Bible were said to be meditating. Below are a few examples:

Isaac: The first person in the Bible seen to be meditating is Isaac. In Genesis 24:63, we read that he was practicing suach in a field when God brought Rebekah, his wife, to him. Isaac’s habits included praying and meditating. He uses both to direct his and his family’s life.

Joshua: Joshua received instructions from God to meditate on the “Book of Law” after Moses died.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate [hagah] on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Joshua 1:8)

This passage below, taken from Psalms, makes mention of Joshua meditating:

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord and his law. He meditates [hagah] day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; And whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:2-3)

David: In Psalm 143, David meditated on his past experiences with God when he felt burdened or overwhelmed.

“Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart is appalled within me. I remember the days of old; I meditate [hagah] on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands.” (Psalm 143:4-5)

5 Meditation Myths Debunked

Christian Meditation is not much different from Hindu meditation or Buddhist meditation. Let’s examine some of the myths some Christians hold about meditation.

The focus on the self is unhealthy

Focusing too much on yourself is indeed unhealthy. But in yoga meditation, you don’t focus too much on yourself. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali mention that Yoga has eight limbs. Yama’s first limb is about dealing with other people and your environment. For example, Ahimsa, the first Yama, speaks of non-violence towards others and yourself. So, Yoga and meditation are not simply directed at the self.

Buddhism also teaches its own set of virtues. They include principles such as do not steal; do not kill; do not lie; and do not misuse sex. These are recommendations on how to lead your life without harming others. So, Buddhist meditation is not simply directed to the self.

It is worth noting that many of these virtues are also found in the 10 commandments in the Book of Exodus.

It promotes being one with the universe or God

While some Hindu chants and mantras honor their own Gods and Goddesses, others make no mention of any specific God or Goddess. In any case, Christians are free to meditate or chant their praises to Jesus instead of Shiva or Krishna.

Many non-Christian meditation chants honor their gods.” Christians also sing praise and give “glory and honor” to God.

Yoga chants do not mention “being one with God.”

The Bible says we are “made in the image of God” and are “one with God.”

In John 17:20-21 AMP, Jesus prayed, “Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching, That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.”

Being one with God in Hinduism and Buddhism means the same thing. We were born with the same God’s consciousness or Buddha’s consciousness. So, if we channel that same consciousness through meditation, we can be “one with God.”

It supports emptying the mind, making you more vulnerable to demonic forces

You cannot empty the mind. The mind does not work that way. Yoga and meditation practiced by Hindus and Buddhists do not mention “emptying the mind.” Instead, it teaches its students to “focus” on a subject matter. For example, your breath. Yoga and meditation are about directing the mind toward a subject and sustaining it.

It makes you escape reality

In Yoga and meditation, there’s an emphasis on staying in the present moment. You are not escaping reality here. On the contrary, you will likely become more aware of reality because you see things as they are in the present moment. You don’t use the past to explain the present moment, and you don’t use the future to escape it.

Practising Meditation as a Christian

Meditate on the Bible

Hindus and Buddhists mainly meditate on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, the Murli, and other religious texts. As a Christian, you can draw your inspiration from the Bible.

The New Testament gives us instructions on directing our thoughts. Colossians 3:2-4 says, “Set your minds on things above, not earthly things. You died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, you will also appear with him in glory.”

Romans 6:6-8 also states, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 6:6-8)

In the King James Version (and the NKJV), you can find the word “meditate” in 1 Timothy.

“Meditate [meletaō] on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.”

Start and End with Salutations and Gratitude to God

Meditation may be taken as a form of prayer. Prayers start and end with salutations to God. You can also do this when meditating. You don’t need to chant Om or say Namaste.

Do Another Form of Meditation

Many people, especially in the west, don’t think of Yoga as a religion but as a form of exercise. Therefore, you may choose to do only the yoga postures and not join the meditation part of your yoga class. You may also choose not to do yoga poses that honor Hindu Gods and Goddesses, such as Garudasana, Marichyasana and others.

The Bottomline

Meditation and Yoga are not exclusive to Hindus and Buddhists. The Bible shows that even Christian Prophets, such as David and Isaac, practiced meditation in some form. Therefore, it is safe to say that Christians can practice meditation without violating their religious beliefs.

Do you want to achieve peace of mind through meditation? Sign up for our free 30-day Free Meditation Challenge.

Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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