There are misunderstandings related to Yoga. Some minor ones (it's only a physical exercise) and some major ones (it's a demonic cult hell-bent on taking down Christianity).
A year and a half ago I went out to eat with my girlfriend and sat in a booth beside three women in their seventies. It was in the middle of the morning and the restaurant was quiet, and quite empty, so I got to enjoy the conversation between the three women.
One of the women, I'll call her the leader, dominated the discussion. One of them asked about Yoga.
“Can Christians practice Yoga?”
The leader replied, “I think Yoga is satanic.”
If I wasn't trying so hard to hide my laughter, I may have thrown myself into their conversation. I practice Yoga, and have yet to find sulfur burns on my rug, though I do occasionally get a nice rug burn on my skin.
Not only is Yoga not satanic in nature, but it is a practice that can compliment other religious practices.
Yoga is what I would call a side dish to an amazing main course. Christianity and Yoga is probably not as smooth as Martin and Lewis, but like eggs and ketchup, for those who can appreciate it, the combination is delicious.
Those open-minded enough to express an interest in other religions can find many useful aspects within Yoga. Yoga is not a belief system in and of itself, with its own rules and dogma. It will not contradict the teachings of Christianity, or even Islam and Judaism (or satanism).
Below I've included two videos. If you have the time and are interested, I recommend watching both. You don't have to watch them in any order and you can continue reading to the end before viewing (or watch them now if you like).
The first video is against Yoga, the second video is for Yoga.
Can Yoga ever be Christian?
This is an example of the misconceptions, half-truths, and flat out lies told about Yoga in order to further one's own personal agenda (prejudiced fear). It's interesting to watch Caryl Matrisciana twist the positive truths of Yoga by her own dogma and worldview into something it's not.
I won't get bogged down arguing against this video's every point. I think she actually hurts her own cause several times by painting Hinduism and Yoga pleasantly, only to later tear it down: “You mustn't have a low self esteem of yourself in Hinduism.” As if it's bad because it sounds helpful.
But she has made the mistake of thinking all Yogis are alike, as some would think all Christians are alike. She's an example of a dogmatic and prejudiced person, which is not an accurate representation of Christianity, just as her talk is not an accurate representation of Yoga.
Yoga has its origins in Hinduism, but it is distinctly not Hinduism. It has evolved into its own thing. Having read Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and researched the opinions of many practicing Yogis, I've yet to see a contradiction between the compassionate beliefs of Christianity and Yoga. In fact, Yogis such as Paramahansa Yogananda have spearheaded attempts to combine the two, and I believe have effectively done so.
There are Christians doing the same, coming at it from the other direction.
Should Christians Practice Yoga?
This video does a much better job explaining an inclusive and logical reason why Christians can benefit from Yoga, and why it's not inherently sinful to practice.
You can see the vastly different opinions shared on the topic of Yoga. Some think it's evil. Others good. The fact is, Yoga, and any other religion or spiritual practice, is what the practitioner makes of it. These are tools, after all, and any tool is only as good as the worker.
If the above videos show anything for certain, they show that we are either limited or set free by our personal beliefs. You can hold the world as an enemy, seeing in it many things to be afraid of and run from, or you can see the world as a friend, and take what it offers as a tool to grow closer to God, or yourself, or anything you wish.
The debate of whether or not Christianity and Yoga belong together is really a debate of whether or not we should live inclusively or exclusively. Should we build walls to keep the world out (or to keep ourselves in) or should we tear down these walls to discover what life outside of our comfort zone has to offer?