Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler says yoga is not a Christian practice.
In an online essay, Dr. Mohler wrote that he's surprised at the number of Christians who embrace it and is asking Christians to avoid it.
He says the stretching and meditative discipline derived from Eastern religions is not a Christian pathway to God.
Mohler said he objects to "the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine."
"That's just not Christianity," Mohler told The Associated Press.
CBN News spoke with psychologist and author Dr. Linda Mintle about yoga and whether its emphasis on spirituality goes against Christian beliefs. Click play for her comments, following an updated report with CBN News' Mark Martin.
Mohler said many people have written him to say they're simply doing exercises and forgoing yoga's eastern mysticism and meditation.
"I'm really surprised by the depth of the commitment to yoga found on the part of many who identify as Christians," he said.
Other Christian leaders, including Pat Robertson and megachurch pastor John MacArthur, have said practicing yoga is incompatible with the teachings of Jesus.
Yoga originated in India. It is a type of stretching exercise that some claim brings physical and mental healing. But some yoga studios claim they don't practice the chanting and practices that are associated with Eastern religions.
A 2008 study by the Yoga Journal put the number of people practicing yoga at 15.8 million, or nearly 7 percent of adults. About 6.7 percent of American adults are Southern Baptists, according to a 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center Forum on Religion & Public Life.
*Originally published on October 8, 2010.