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Q&A: Zumba, Yoga & Martial Arts

ZUMBA, YOGA AND MARTIAL ARTS- Are they only exercise?

Q: Our church has Zumba classes.  I went to one and had a very unsettling feeling.  What information do you have on Zumba.

A: I’ve never been involved in Zumba but have been to jazzercise and aerobics and personally have nothing against good, hearty exercising which Zumba seems to be mostly about. However, when I checked Zumba in Wikipedia it explains it as follows:
Zumba involves dance and aerobic elements. Zumba's choreography incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, martial arts, and some Bollywood and belly dance moves. Squats and lunges are also included.

While most of the dance and aerobic elements seem to be catering to physical fitness, I do have concerns about the physical linking to certain eastern spiritual practices which mingle body and spirit with dangers the Bible warns against. Contaminating the spirit with worldly seduction through the mind (soulish reasoning) has been Satan’s deadly method since the Garden of Eden. There is nothing wrong with attempting to keep the body fit through healthy exercise or diet. But, as Paul reminds Timothy, bodily exercise is a little profitable but exercising ourselves towards godliness is of eternal gain. (1 Tim. 4: 6-8)

Zumba connects itself with belly dancing and Martial Arts. According to Wikipedia, “Belly dancing arose from various dancing styles which were performed in the Middle East and North Africa. Belly dance has roots in the ancient Arab tribal religions as a dance to the goddess of fertility.” Belly dancing has its origins then in a pagan ritual offering of the body to the idea that deities (goddesses, which the Bible identifies as demon spirits) can bring about fertility through certain body movement rituals and appeasements. The Bible says, new life can only be given by the giver of life, our Creator God Who Himself is Life. Jesus said, “I am the Life” (John 14:6) Jesus came to give us His life to not only overcome difficulties while here on earth, but also to overcome eternal separation from His Father for all eternity. Jesus’ eternal life is available to us through repentance by faith according to His Grace and Love.

Martial Arts, like Yoga, combines the physical with the spiritual and was originally birthed in Eastern philosophy. While many will argue that Yoga positions can be separated from their spiritual counterparts and used merely for exercise devoid of any spirituality, orthodox Hinduism would contend otherwise. For a deeper understanding of the roots of Yoga see the DVD Yoga Uncoiled: From East to West. Many will attempt to explain away Martial Arts as merely a discipline for self defense and a good exercise for the body but please check out our article on Martial Arts to learn more about its spiritual origins.

You probably felt awkward doing Zumba because of its blending of spirit and body with unclean worldly philosophies. Many today attempt to justify pagan disciplines, give them Christianized names or reasoning and argue that the intent of the practitioner justifies the means. Throughout history, as seen in many stories in the Bible, God continually calls His people to separate from attempts of syncretism and God opposes our calling of darkness light, bitter sweet and evil good. (Isa 5:20)

Eastern philosophy is based on the idea of “wholism” and “holistic” thought which teaches that mind, body and spirit are one and integrated. Ultimately the oneness of the individual is believed to be merged with the wholeness of everything around, material and supernatural. This idea of “wholism” and oneness being in all, and all being part of the one, is entrenched in eastern spirituality that teaches all is divine and divinity is in all.

In the Garden of Eden Satan offered Eve divinity that was not his to offer, “ye shall be as gods” (Gen.3:5).  It’s a lie Satan continues to lure mankind with. Only God has the ability to give us His nature through the work of Jesus’ reconciliation on the cross. (2 Pet.1:3-4) Pantheism and panentheism says divinity (god) is in everything, and everything is divine (god). The idea of eastern mystical thinking is continued through body, mind and spirit exercise which believes the physical body is essentially used for spirit and soulish good. This reasoning continues into the idea that “holistic” medicine and “holistic” diet benefit the body which is treated by the spirit world and assistance from supernatural powers. When the practitioner engages in worldly philosophies, knowingly or unknowingly, spirits attached to the philosophy enter the mind and consider themselves invited into the body for the ultimate goal of “wholeness” through a counterfeit means outside of God’s designed Plan in Jesus Christ. Only in Jesus are sinners who believe Jesus paid the penalty for their sin, able to be forgiven for their sins and reunited to God who will not have any fellowship with darkness. Col.1:2 explains that in Christ our Light we are able to unite with the Father of Light Himself in Whom there is no darkness. (James 1:17)
As Bible believing Christians, interaction with the spirit world is forbidden. The Christian is told to have nothing to do with it and be set apart from it. Come out from its unclean midst (2 Cor 6:17). Indeed the Bible defines these spirits as those who followed their leader the devil, the father of Lies (John 8:44) who are called fallen angels, powers, principalities and rulers of darkness (Eph. 6:12). Listening to them is tantamount to listening to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim.4:1).

Wikipedia explains Martial Arts as “mental and spiritual development “similar to the description given to Yoga. Both types of discipline are part of eastern philosophy’s treatment of spirit through wellness programs designed for the body. Oneness of mind, body and spirit are not taught in the Bible. The Bible teaches each are separate. For example, the spirit man born at birth is spiritually dead (separated from our Eternal God) because man has inherited sin through Adam. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.6:23). The mind of each person has the ability to choose whether the individual will accept the free gift of eternal life given in Jesus Christ by his death on the cross. The body (flesh) of the believer is at present in its earthen vessel looking forward to resurrection as Jesus’ body was resurrected. The believer in Jesus Christ trusts in the promise that one day our perishable earthly bodies (mortal) will be changed for the imperishable in the “twinkling of an eye” when we will be united with Christ. (1 Cor. 15:52-54). While on earth we have the opportunity for our spirit to be “born again” as Jesus explained to Nicodemus (John 1:1-3).

The necessity of the rebirth of our spirit is for the purpose of man to be reunited with God in a loving relationship that Adam severed by his sin. In the beginning God created Adam in God’s Own image and likeness, without sin (Gen 1:26). After Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden all generations inherited Adam’s sin nature since when we’re all born sinners in the likeness of Adam (Gen.5:3).

In order to be reconciled with God, mankind’s sinful nature needs to be changed to God’s righteousness as Adam was at first created. Only One can redeem us back to God’s standard of Perfection, Jesus Christ Himself, because only His spirit is without sin and He is Holy. Jesus Christ purchased mankind through His blood, took the penalty of our sin upon His Holy Self becoming the substitute for our judgment. Those who repent of their personal sin and trust in the work of Jesus Christ are translated from the kingdom of darkness into His eternal kingdom (Col.1:12-13). They are turned from slaves of sin to become slaves of righteousness in Him (Rom.6:18, Heb. 9:26-28). Jesus Christ is the Second Adam (1 Cor. 15:22 & 45) in Whom we are made alive. In Him we become a new creation (Gal.6:15) that we may live in the Spirit according to the Will of God. (1 Pet.3:18) His Holy Spirit dwells within the true believer and as the believer abides in Jesus’ Word (John 8:31) he is led into all Truth (1 John. 2:27) and changed from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).

I pray you allow His Spirit to instruct you daily as you walk by faith in His Truth in which there is no lie. May He guide you in your daily decisions and choices such as engaging in Zumba or not, or any such other activity for your fleshly betterment. May your choices always bring your Creator glory and draw others to Him, His forgiveness, His Grace and His Love.


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Yoga uncoiledYOGA UNCOILED:From East To West

Once viewed by Christians as a pagan import from the East, yoga has now become mainstream in the church through "Christ-centered yoga classes" designed to help improve spirituality and experience "the presence of God". But is yoga's mysticism compatible with historic Christianity?

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FURTHER READING:

  • God IN Everything? (The Shack and its New Age leaven) - READ
  • Q&A: Can a Christian be involved in Martial Arts - READ

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