Churches in India are asking Christians not to practice Yoga

June 13, 2016: Yoga is a spiritual and physical discipline which has roots in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The basis of yoga is defined exclusively in Hindu texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. These texts discuss yoga as a practice to control the senses and mind. It is popularly believed that by practising yoga, one can attain liberation (moksha) from worldly suffering and cycle of birth and death (samsara).

Due to its spiritual roots in Hinduism, a network of 13 churches in Mizoram is appealing to their church congregations to refrain from practicing yoga.

The leader of Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC) and Mizoram Synod of Presbyterian Church’s senior executive secretary, Reverend Lalramliana Pachuau asked the constituent churches of MKHC to issue a message to its members, stating that the church believed yoga can “dilute” the doctrine of Christianity.

Reverend Lalramliana Pachuau said that the issue was raised during the meeting of MKHC at the Synod office on June 2. He stated that yoga is based on the basic principles of Hinduism. It cannot be mixed with Christianity. “Yoga exercises may be able to heal some illness, but Christians cannot use it to replace the eternal healing of Christ,” he said. He also added that yoga can be used to assimilate or convert Christians. However, he also mentioned that he did not have qualms about the propagation of yoga at an official level by the Indian government.

Also, the churches of India have recently been in the headlines, for the wrong reasons too. Priyanka Chopra’s family was a victim of the inescapable community writs of the Syrian Christian churches of Kerala. Baptised in the St John’s Attamangalm Jacobite Syrian Church in Kumarakom, Kerala, Priyanka’s grandmother, Mary John as a dying wish, wanted to be buried in her family church. She had married a Hindu and spent most of her adult life in Bihar.

However, the church authorities had said that Mary John had married a Hindu and spent a non-Christian life. They claimed that she couldn’t be laid to rest there. The authorities went on to say that the traditions, rules and faiths of the believers were more important than Priyanka.

Later, her grandmother’s body was laid to rest in the Kottayam diocese of Jacobite Syrian Christian Church.
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