Does yoga bend Christian faith?

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Jena Johnson - bio | email | Twitter

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Does practicing yoga compromise your Christian faith? That question is at the center of a debate made by the Southern Baptist Seminary president. Christians that practice yoga say two have little to do with each other.

Tanya Wood is a yoga instructor at the Yoga Spot in Tyler. She has been practicing yoga for eight years. "It makes you feel good, strong and flexible," said Wood. "It really does allow you to just wind down."

But, recent comments made by Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler has Wood wound up. "It's clear it's struck a nerve," said Mohler. "I hope at least it's a fruitful conversation."

In his online blog, Mohler said, "Christians who participate in yoga are embracing, or at minimum flirting with a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives."

"I totally disagree," said Wood. "I'm a Christian. I was saved when I was five-years-old. I have never practiced anything that would compromise my beliefs."

Mohler said that people should see yoga represents and see that it conflicts with Christianity. "This is totally separate," said Wood. "It has nothing to do with religion. What we practice has nothing to do with religion."

Amy Egana said yoga is not bending her beliefs. She said it has actually brought her closer to God. "For a minister to go on and say that is frustrating because, for me, it's not about Hinduism or about other religions," said Egana. "For me, it truly is a time of peace where I'm able to be quiet and worship God."

He says reaction from his blog has given him a slightly different perspective. "I'm not against exercise," he said. "I learned from a whole lot of Christians who think they're practicing yoga, but what they described to me is not what yoga has historically been."

It has a controversial debate that Wood said does not belong in her class.

Several years ago, Premier Fitness in Tyler discontinued their yoga classes. The owner said the decision was based upon their faith, but if you participate in yoga, it is based upon your own personal conviction.

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