I do not approach this topic as an expert historian of the diverse schools of yoga or as a systematician of their teachings or as an exegete of their classical texts.1 Rather I address the theme of yoga and Christianity as a Christian theologian who has been a practitioner of Iyengar yoga, a prominent method of modern postural yoga, for more than thirty years and who has done some scholarly reading on contemporary and classical yoga and on Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutra (hereafter YS) in particular.2 Despite all the controversy that has arisen in recent years about whether or not Christians should be practicing yoga, my own spiritual life has been greatly enriched by the yoga practice and the teachings of B. K. S. Iyengar (1918-2014)3 as well as by some of the writings of contemporary scholars on the YS and the YS’s subsequent history of commentary.4 In what follows I offer some thoughts on the possible value of yoga for Christians, about which much has already been written,5 but I will also reflect on a few challenges that emerge when one attempts to unite yoga theory and practice with Christian teaching and spirituality. My main focus will be on the conception of the Lord (Ishvara) in the YS, on the notion of God in the teachings of Mr. Iyengar, and on the understanding of God in Christianity, so as to show where these views on the divine align and where they diverge.
"Some Thoughts on God and Spiritual Practice in Yoga and Christianity,"
Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies:
Vol. 30, Article 5.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.7825/2164-6279.1657