By Nathan Jones
Is the term "Christian Yoga" an oxymoron?
Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of our special guest Caryl Matrisciana. Caryl is a best selling author and filmmaker and is a recognized expert on Eastern religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult. She has been involved in the production of more than 60 documentaries over the past 30 years. Her biographical testimony Out of India explains how she grew up under Hinduism in India and lived it in England and the U.S. as a New Ager before accepted Christ as Savior. She joined us warn us of the dangers of equating Yoga with Christianity.
Dr. Reagan: I want to get into our discussion in this segment by reading you a statement that was made recently by Dr. Albert Mohler who is the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He spoke out about the practice of Yoga and he generated a storm of controversy, as you know. He said this:
"The idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine is not Christianity. Christians who practice Yoga must either deny the reality of what Yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of Yoga."
What is your response?
Caryl Matrisciana: Well, their embrace of Eastern Mysticism is exactly what it is, because Yoga was specifically designed for a purpose within Eastern Mysticism.
One, Yoga's been created to awaken the idea that we are divine and that divinity is within us and we are one with everything.
Second, Yoga was created to shorten our reincarnation cycle and to prepare us for our reincarnation cycle. This second purpose of Yoga is to teach you how to die in order that you can come back in your next life as a better person.
Nathan Jones: So, Yoga is suicide?
Caryl Matrisciana: It is suicide. It is a discipline to prepare you for death, within the context of Hinduism that is, which believes that your spirit doesn't die and that you come back again and again and again. In fact, Gandhi said that reincarnation is a hopeless cycle of imprisonment. The Hindu knows they cannot get out of reincarnation and that they are going to be born again, die again, be born again, die again.
So, my question would be to a Bible-believing Christian who understands that Jesus Christ died for us because we have been separated from God through our sins and knows that Jesus died in order to give us reconciliation for eternity life through Jesus Christ, why then practice a discipline designed for death?
Dr. Reagan: So, basically, what you are saying is that the term "Christian Yoga" is an oxymoron?
Caryl Matrisciana: Just like a lot of things in the new emerging Christianity, that is exactly what it is. It is Christianized occultism and Christianized Hinduism.
In my movie Yoga Uncoiled, the Hindu's are very angry with Christians who try and steal their religion and Christianize it. And yet, Christians will say, "I can separate it. I can actually only do the physical exercises." But, let's question that. I play tennis. I don't play Christian tennis. We do exercises for our body and we can do gymnastics and flex and stretch and that's called gymnastics. The moment you call it Yoga it becomes something else entirely, because Yoga means "to yolk, to unite with god consciousness."
Many of the positions used within Yoga are the names of deities. Those positions are called Asana and those positions are for merging with a deity that you become one with in an Eastern worldview. I do stretching and flexing every time before I play tennis. I think about the muscle I am pulling. I think about the muscle I am stretching. I think about the position I'm going to go in in order to do the appropriate stretching. But, I don't think of a cobra, which is one of the positions in Yoga.
In the next part of this series "Christian Yoga" with guest Caryl Matrisciana, we'll learn why the meditation of Yoga is not the meditation of the Bible.