By Nathan Jones
One of the signs that we are in the last days before Jesus returns is a proliferation of false teachers promoting false teachings (Matt. 24:24; Mk. 13:22). One of the most prolific of these false teachings today is the philosophy and practice of Yoga, the primary tool of Hindu missionaries to North America since Swami Vivekananda introduced yoga to the West at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.
Yoga is one of the classic systems of Hindu philosophy that practices certain disciplines to achieve freedom from the limitations of the flesh and lead to the fulfillment of knowledge. But, what knowledge? If only Christians knew how occultic — how demonic — the "knowledge" gained by yoga truly is. Even the "harmless" exercise portion are in reality various ritual genuflects to Hindu idols.
Jeremy (J.R.) Hall, Executive Director of Berean Watchmen Ministries located way up there in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada, has written an excellent article titled A Stretch into the Occult: A Christian's Response to Yoga that delves deep into the occultic practices and demonic purposes of yoga. Jeremy has kindly allowed me to repurpose his article in the hopes that we can warn Christians away from this satanic deception.
Due to the length of the article, it has been divided it into three parts: the first part was on the satanic deception behind yoga, the second part was on how yoga and Hinduism are one and the same, and now this final installment lists the reasons why yoga is definitely not for Christians.
A September 5th, 2005 issue of Time Magazine, featured a quote from Subhas Tiwari, a professor of yoga philosophy and mediation at the Hindu University of America in Orlando, Florida. Mr Tiwari says plainly within that article, "Yoga is Hinduism".1
So if the yoga experts know this to be true, and will profess it to be so, why do so many who profess to be Christians, deny this essential and baseline fact?
My friends, Christian yoga, is as ludicrous as saying a Christian Hindu, or a Christian Buddhist. There is no such thing.
The following except is from an article posted at Christianity Today by Sarah E. Pavlik, and it recounts an experience she had in her first Yoga class.
"Once in the class, I scanned the room, curious as to what type of people take yoga. The class was comprised of an unlikely bunch: hefty, construction crew-type men, white-haired grandmas, and people such as me, wearing Nikes and t-shirts. I didn't spot any lime-green hair, or a single pierced nose. Suddenly my attention was drawn to the front of the room. There she was, the instructor-a bit larger than I expected. She looked nothing like those leotard-clad yoga instructors on TV. Her wiry blonde hair blended with her wire-rimmed glasses, giving her an all-around bland appearance. She spoke softly but with intimidating authority.
'Take off your shoes and socks,' she said with a whisper. Reluctantly I removed them, hoping nobody else in the room could smell my feet. She explained that we needed to be barefoot so we could sink our feet into the earth. Funny, this earth looked a lot like carpet to me. But I complied, imagining my feet squishing into the soft, fertile ground.
'Now we need to get acquainted with our breath. Americans generally breathe through their mouths and miss the benefits of breathing fully,' she informed us. I forced the air in and out, trying to make friends with my breath. It felt good.
'Yoga is thousands of years old, and as of late, has been accepted by modern medicine as a remedy for back pain and stress reduction,' she said between breaths. Thousands of years old? Accepted by the medical community? It must be a good thing, I rationalized as I prepared to stretch. We moved quickly into what she termed poses.
First I was a tree. Then she coaxed us into bending our limbs and planting our right foot onto our inner thigh. That wasn't all that difficult until she asked us to squat and twist our torso 90 degrees. She called it the 'twisted chair.' How appropriate. I looked like a pretzel in blue sweat pants.
Next we began 'sun salutations.' With our hands raised over our heads, we quickly dropped them to our feet. Finally, we brought our entire bodies to the floor, prostrate. It was obvious this was an ancient form of sun worship. Now not only was my body contorting, my mind was too. God's first commandment to not have any other gods before him sprang to mind. I was getting uncomfortable.
After several repetitions of sun salutations, she brought us back into 'mountain pose.' I glanced at the clock and was shocked to see all but five minutes of the hour-long class had slipped by. It was time for the relaxation exercise. My muscles were ready, but my spirit was a bit more cautious.
I lay down on the carpeted earth. She encouraged us to shut our eyes and go to our quiet place. Being a mother of two boys, I wasn't sure if such a place existed, so I decided heaven would be my quiet place. 'It's time to let go of the stresses of the world, your job, your home, your deadlines, and just be at peace,' the instructor said soothingly. The twing-twang of the music seemed to blend with everyone's breathing. Then she instructed us to start squeezing the muscles in our toes, then our feet, on up our legs, abdomen, and finally our faces. What a sight we all must have been lying there, our bodies rigid and our faces forced into Jim Carrey-like contortions. 'Now fall back into the earth,' our instructor commanded. We repeated this bizarre exercise about three times, and then, the instructor told us to come back into our body.
It was not a happy reunion. My body ached from the wicked chair-or was is it the twisted chair? And my spirit was out of sorts. Scenes of saluting the sun and leaving my body played in my mind as I drove home. Would I be able to stay in yoga without compromising my Christian beliefs? I wondered."2
What about the other poses?
With some research under my belt, I'm sure many readers would be surprised to realize that the yoga postures are offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods (manifestations of Brahman). As you perform the yoga poses, you are in essence worshipping a false god(s).
The second commandment reads,
"You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me," - Exodus 20:4-5
And the Apostle Paul would say to us,
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God..." - Romans 12:1
Note also from the Christianity Today article quoted above that the author mentions, "come back into our body?" Leaving our bodies and going to our quiet place? I wonder who checks in, while the yoga student checks out?
Yoga means "union" or "yoked" in Sanskrit. "Union and yoked with what?", you might ask. Well, as mentioned earlier, it is one of the ways of knowledge to become in union with Brahman. As yoga is an arm of Hinduism, its ultimate goal is to help you reach union with Brahman, your higher self, god, or the universe, depending on your interpretation of "god in us".
The practice of yoga, the positions and breathing prepares the body for the occult changes that will arouse the coiled power (kundalini) at the base of spine. This power can travel up the spine passing through the chakras to the top of your head (Crown Chakra). It is the ultimate goal for the kundalini (Coiled or Serpent Power) to reach the brain. The "OM" which is repeated over and over again is to empty the mind of thought so that a new spirit can enter.
What kind of spirits? I'm sure you guessed it from the words "serpent" power. (Rev 20:2)
Swami Narayananda describes some of the possibilities:
"These hot currents that reach the brain center heat the brain, make the mind fickle, bring insomnia, brain disorder, insanity and incurable diseases. For the hot currents keep the mind wide awake and if a person does not know how to check the currents and to bring down the partly risen kundalini shakti to safer centers, one suffers terribly and it may ruin the whole life of a person or lead one to insanity. This is why we see many become insane, many get brain defects, and many others get some incurable diseases after deep sorrow."3
Gopi Krishna, founder of one of the many kundalini research centers, records his own experience:
"It was variable for many years, painful, obsessive, even phantasmic. I have passed through almost all the stages of different mediumistic, psychotic, and other types of mind; for some time I was hovering between sanity and insanity."4
I have personally heard reports and read documentation of yoga participants experiencing some or even all of the following as a result of their seemingly harmless "exercise" program: Fear, uncontrollable laughing or weeping, intervals of ecstasy, tremors, spasms, and violent shaking. In some cases the guru or instructor can impart these manifestations in mass, to his/her students, leaving them writhing on the floor helpless.
We must ask the question again. When someone takes part in yoga (union), with what are they becoming in union with?
New-Age techniques almost always involve some form of meditation that is to bring you into a state of peace, enlightenment, open the door of physic knowledge, and promise extraordinary power. But this power is an illusion of self-worship. It is occult and very dangerous because the spirit you invite is a demonic one. You are NOT uniting with a higher-spirit, an ascended master or a spirit-guide. Instead you are uniting with a counterfeit spirit who is delighted to deceive you into thinking it is a positive force, but in truth it is demonic and an abomination to God.
"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD..." - Deuteronomy 18:10-12
At its roots, yoga and Hinduism teach that the self is God. In Christianity, one denies self. The differences are polar opposites and cannot be reconciled.
"Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." - Luke 9:23
A Christian should not and can not take part in something so distasteful to God whom we profess to love. Even if one removes the spiritual aspects of yoga (which evidence would suggest is impossible) and fools themselves into thinking it's only exercise, the truth of the matter is that regardless of your intent, to the outside world you look like you are condoning yoga — all aspects of it. Your actions could very well be a stumbling block to others and causing others to fall into the trap of occultism, new-ageism and idolatry.
"For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ." - 1 Colossians 8:10-12
We are to abstain from those things which could make our brother stumble. We are to walk diligently in the world, but yet set apart from the world. We don't desire the things of this world, but rather the things of the heaven. In my opinion this would include those "Christian" alternatives to yoga which are popping up. True, they may not be actually yoga in concept and teaching, yet they still "look" like yoga to an outside and unbelieving world. If the world sees a Christian doing something that looks like yoga, they might therefore believe that yoga is safe and condoned by the church, thereby falling into a trap that leads to destruction.
Yoga is everywhere. It's on television, it's being taught in church basements, at fitness centres and even in video games (a place Hinduism and new-age thinking likes to hide as well). The very popular video game Wii Fit contains elements of exercise that is very good for the fitness of an individual, unfortunately it is also packaged with a plethora of yoga stretches and poses to help obtain your fitness goals.
Within the very city where I live there is a non-profit group called Yoga for Youth who's sole purpose is to get yoga into all of the public schools as a regular program5 — and it seems to be working. My kids report back to me the presence of yoga in their physical education classes. My kids of course abstain, and have so far been left un-harassed by their teachers, fellow students and school administration, but I wonder for how long? Many of the Christian parents we talk to, do not have any problems with their kids taking part in yoga at school — after all, it's just exercise right? I wonder how long before our family's voice will be deemed as one of an extreme minority whose petty intolerance to things condemned by the Bible is outdated, and unconstitutional.
I hope this article has it least won some of you over to the reality that yoga is occult and an abomination to God whom we profess to love.
It's time for the Church to stand up, dust off their swords and be counted for truth and righteousness. Are we just going to continue to allow Satan to have a field day in our public schools and communities, or are we going to let our voice stand, and abstain from these types of activities and teachings? For every community group that promotes occult activities, the Church could raise up a valid and justified counter argument. However, it repeatedly remains silent. Perhaps if abstinence and letters of concern were sent in response to these types of programs, there would be far fewer of them permeating our society. I wonder if the same would hold true to the television programming and other media venues such as Hollywood? (A good subject for another article).
Christ spoke plainly,
"But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 10:33
And so I must ask the pertinent question...
Where is the Church today?
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.' See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." - Ephesians 5:11-16
- Swami Narayananda, "The Primal Power in Man", pg. 60
- Gopi Krishna, "The Awakening", p. 124
- "Yoga Session Goes Green", The Star Phoenix, July 27, 2009