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Baptist leader: Yoga, Christianity at odds

Jennifer Schelter (center) leads some 600 breast cancer survivors and their families through yoga exercises on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum in downtown Philadelphia May 20, 2007. They participate in the the mass yoga class annually to raise funds and awareness of breast cancer issues. (UPI Photo/John Anderson)
Jennifer Schelter (center) leads some 600 breast cancer survivors and their families through yoga exercises on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum in downtown Philadelphia May 20, 2007. They participate in the the mass yoga class annually to raise funds and awareness of breast cancer issues. (UPI Photo/John Anderson) | License Photo

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., says yoga is "at odds with Christian understanding."

While yoga has its origins in Hinduism and is part of Buddhist and Jainist practices, many practitioners regard it as a form of exercise or meditation divorced from its roots. But Albert Mohler, writing on his blog Monday, said he does not believe that separation is possible, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

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"Christians are not called to empty the mind or to see the human body as a means of connecting to and coming to know the divine," Mohler said. "Believers are called to meditate upon the Word of God -- an external Word that comes to us by divine revelation -- not to meditate by means of incomprehensible syllables."

He said the kind of mysticism involved in yoga is "at odds with Christian understanding."

Nicole Soteropoulos, who teaches yoga in Louisville, said it helped her lose weight and quit smoking.

"Yoga is an exercise, health and wellness system," she said. "It's so old that it belongs to humanity. It's not based on a religion."

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