Greek Holy Synod: Yoga Incompatible with Christianity

Silhouette of a woman doing yoga on the beach at sunset

“The practice of yoga has no place in the lives of Christians,” was the announcement made by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece in response to the International Day of Yoga, which was established by the United Nations in 2014.

The Holy Synod argues that since yoga is a fundamental aspect of Hinduism, it cannot be practiced by Christians because it is contrary to the Christian faith. And because of that it cannot be considered as just a “form of exercise.”

The official announcement further states that the Church of Greece respects the freedom of religious belief but claims is has a responsibility in order to avoid developing a “climate of religious syncretism.”


  1. That’s just ridiculous. One can be a good Christian and still do yoga. It’s just another type of physical activity. These synod need to go out and get some fresh air and keep up with the times. Even pope Francis would not agree with the Holy Synod.

  2. The Holy Synod stated a fact. Yoga is steeped in Hindu mysticism and the Lord Jesus Christ was very clear that Christians should not meddle in strange doctrines, nor could Christians serve two masters.

    Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.” – Hebrews 13:9

    No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” – Matthew 6:24 

  3. Yoga per se is not “just another type of physical activity,” despite the fact that at least 90% of American “yoga” studios present it that way. It is a spiritual discipline involving the mind and the body. Having said that, there is no reason that this spiritual discipline cannot be used by persons of any religion. Yoga is literally “divine union” and can be applied in the context of your own religion. Take away the Sanskrit words and Hindu religious context and it is essentially “contemplative prayer” which we already have in the Christian tradition. Yoga in its spiritual form is practiced by many Christians – with their focus being on Christ. Doing yoga will not make you a Hindu any more than kneeling and crossing yourself will make you a Catholic.

  4. Yes. But, as mentioned above, classical “yoga” is a spiritual, not just physical, exercise. The mind and body are united in what has been called “whole-body prayer,” and prayer is not the property of any particular religion, regardless of our respective mythologies. It is the direct subjective experience of That which has different Names in various traditions. The practice should not be confused with the mythologies.

  5. There is no single Yoga. For instance there are branches of Yoga that integrate Hinduism (which is a religion).

  6. Act more like the Pharisees who try to fulfill the law? Can any man be saved by works anyways? I thought Jesus and not your deeds were the way. Probably the Synod has a different Bible?


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