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YOGA

PART ONE

Prepared by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Ann Gray from articles by The Ankerberg Research Institute, Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2001, ©2002, ©2003

 

INNOCENT YOGA?

When Westerners employ yoga techniques as a means to improve their health, they should understand that they can also be producing subtle changes within themselves which will have dramatic spiritual consequences that will not be for the better. Regardless of the school or spiritual tradition, yoga practice tends to alter a person’s consciousness in an occult direction.

Even when yoga is practiced innocently, it can eventually produce dramatic occult transformation. Personality changes can be brought about in Hatha Yoga by changing the body so that it influences the mind. An innocently practiced yoga-for-exercise routine can lead to numerous psychic experi­ences that have the cumulative impact of dramatically changing a life.

YOGA: THE OCCULT

Yoga is designed to awaken occult energies in the body, to lead to occult transformation, to secure specific occult goals, and to develop psychic powers and other occult abilities. Authoritative texts on both yoga and the occult by Yoga scholar and Sanskrit authority Rammurti Mishra, occult author­ity John White, and Yoga authority Sir John Woodroffe reveal that yoga is a potentially profound occult practice. Perhaps the leading authority on shamanism and comparative religion was Mircea Eliade. Note his observations of the similarities between yoga and witchcraft: “All features associated with European witches are claimed also by Indo-Tibetan yogis and magicians.”

RISKS AND HAZARDS

Citations taken from authoritative texts show many risk and hazards of yoga practice, including death. Advanced forms of patterned breathing, which is a common yoga exercise, can cause a person to harm himself irreparably. Unless properly done, there is a good chance of injuring the brain. Those who practice such breathing without proper supervision can suffer a disease which no known science or doctor can cure. It is impossible, even for a medical person, to diagnose such an illness. If the breath is “prematurely exhausted [withdrawn], there is immediate danger of death.

 
 

YOGA THEORY AND PRACTICE: SEPARABLE?

Yoga means “union.” The practice of yoga unites body, breath, and mind, the fundamental unity of all existence: God, man, and all of creation are ultimately one divine reality. Physical yoga, according to its classical definitions, is inheritably and functionally incapable of being separated from Eastern religious metaphysics. The Western practitioner who attempts to do so is operating in ignorance and danger, from the yogi’s viewpoint, as well as from the Christian’s.

People who practice yoga only for physical or mental health reasons are ultimately the victims of a confidence game. They are promised better health. They do not suspect the end goal of yoga is to destroy them as individuals. Yoga results in “a progressive dismantling of human personality ending in a complete abolition.” Yoga is a religious practice seeking to produce “union” with an impersonal ultimate reality, such as Brahman or Nirvana.

PART TWO

by William Downs, Newburgh, Scotland, former yoga practitioner

Yoga is a spiritual deception. If you think that you can use yoga only for physical training and not be affected by its spiritual side, you are wrong. You are wrong if you believe the many websites and teachers in the West who declare that yoga is just a harmless physical exercise. The Bible warns of such spiritual seduction:

1 Timothy 4:1--The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

It was the Lord Krishna (one of Hindu's many millions of deities) who introduced the ritual of yoga as a way of achieving union with the universe. The Sanskrit word “yoga” means "union" or "yoking", aiming at bringing about the union of the human spirit with the spirit of the universe. But what is more deeply meant is a separation from the physical illusion of life. A great part of Hindu teaching is that this world and all we see, is nothing more than an illusion.

Ironically, while yoga in the West is promoted as a way to achieve health and a better way of living, in the East, where it originated, it is more openly understood to be a way of dying. In Hindu and Buddhist writings yoga is described as the only sure way of escaping the endless cycle of reincarnation and the laws of karma, having as their finality the destruction of self. The physical exercises and positions, the breathing techniques, and meditation were originally developed for VERY spiritual and religious reasons.

Although yoga has been known to the West since before Christ, and has been practiced in the East for almost 3000 years, it really only took off in the West in a significant way around the same time of the explosion of the drug culture in the 60s, and the growth of certain types of music. Many people involved with psychedelic drugs were (and are still today) attracted to any experience that offered an expansion of conscience, or a change of perceived reality.

Some positions are not quite as harmless as they may appear, but are obviously of occult origin, as in the “cobra”, which is usually followed by “greeting the sun” – and taking the pose of the “mountain”. These are all positions which are designed to welcome Hindu gods. Very few Western yoga teachers actually touch upon this aspect of yoga, but according to the ancient texts, it is indeed the main aim intended to produce the awakening of what is known as "kundalini power," a snake coiled around the base of the spine. When this serpent is awakened, it will move up through the body. Once it reaches the top of the head, it will explode. This is when the danger really starts, and for many people from this point onwards it is almost impossible to return to any semblance of normality. The ancient texts actually include a warning about this, but most Western teachers are either ignorant of it, being too aware of the vast revenues that yoga can bring in, or are indeed themselves deceived and are willingly leading people down a very dangerous path.

PART THREE

by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Ann Gray

THE ‘CHRISTIAN YOGA’ CONTROVERSY

Yoga is a Hindu worship practice in which all motions are worship of the sun. It cannot be Christian. The word “yoga” means “yoke.” God forbids believers being yoked to anything or anyone other than Himself.

2 Corinthians 6:14-17—Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? . . . Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.

Matthew 11:29-30--Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Christian Alternative PraiseMoves

Actress, singer, public speaker, personality trainer, and author Laurette Willis was involved in yoga and the New Age for 22 years before coming to Christ. She developed a stretching exercise program that incorporates Scripture called PraiseMoves™ that she considers “the Christian alternative to yoga.” She claims her postures differ from those of yoga and infusing Scripture into her workout routine makes it Christian. “Every posture in PraiseMoves™ is tied to a Scripture such as John 15:5 and Romans 12:1-2, so that while we are stretching and strengthening the body, we are also being transformed by the renewing of our mind, nourishing our spirit, and praising the Lord,” said Laurette. She covers much of these details in her book BASIC Steps to Godly Fitness (Harvest House, 2005).

Several years ago, this video was listed online at LifeWay but not sold in their stores. With the Ankerberg and other research, I contacted LifeWay, which had not investigated it thoroughly. After a series of emails and calls, LifeWay finally investigated, found the moves were definitely yoga, and removed it from their online catalog.

We need to be “salt and light” and confront sin where it exists.

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on. I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You. In Your name I pray, Amen.