|Christian-Yoga Studio Owner Claims No Compromise of Faith?
– By John Beardsley 1/8/20121 Corinthians 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
The studio owner stated they are, “…practicing Christians and have been collectively for over 50 years. We also own a group fitness studio where we practice a hatha-based yoga. We do not incorporate any Hindu elements, in fact we use Biblical meditations and Christian music. Since I started doing and teaching yoga, it has made me stand more and more in awe of God and how magnificently he designed the human body is (Ps 139:13). It has also given me countless opportunities to share my faith and turn people’s eyes to Christ.”
Sounds reasonable on the surface does it not? Just a bit of pragmatic / outcome based thinking right?
Or is the very definition of Yoga at odds with Biblical Christian beliefs? Well you might want to consider where Hatha Yoga (or any) comes from:
Kriya Hatha Yoga: including “Asanas,” physical postures of relaxation, “bandahs,” muscular locks, and “mudras,” gestures, all of which bring about greater health, peace, and the awakening of the principal energy centres, the “chakras.” Babaji has selected a particularly effective series of 18 postures, which are taught in stages and in pairs. One cares for the physical body, not for its own sake, but as a vehicle or temple of the Divine (religious, not just an exercise). Yoga – Relaxation or Occult?
No matter how you couch the words to Christianize Yoga you must first shed some some of the basic tenets of the Christian faith. Consider the following verses: (Bold emphasis mine)
Romans 12: 1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The large invasion of the Contemplative Mysticism into Bible believing churches and into our homes did not start yesterday. It has slowly seeped in by way of teaching things like Yoga and the Martial Arts, supposedly stripping them of their eastern connections along with a host of other forms of meditation not rooted in scriptures. However, Yoga is more than meditation, it’s techniques are both of the spiritually and bodily connected – it is inexorably a form of worship of the Hindu god!
For a Christian to practice Yoga is one of the most basic violations in disobedience to God and here is more of why:
Etymology – (from Wikipedia there are many research examples besides) Hatha yoga, pronounced in Hindi, is also known as hatha vidya or the “science of hatha” yoga. The word hatha comes from combining the two Sanskrit terms “ha” meaning sun and “tha” meaning moon. The word “ha” refers to the solar nadi (pingala) in the subtle body and “tha” the lunar channel (ida). However, when the two components of the word are placed together, “hatha” means “forceful”, implying that powerful work must be done to purify the body. Yoga means to yoke, or to join two things together, hence hatha yoga is meant to join together sun (masculine, active) energy with the moon (feminine, receptive) energy, thus producing balance and greater power in an individual.
“The Yoga most practiced by Christians is Hatha Yoga. The poses themselves are often depictions of Hindu deities, and the hand positions mimic the hand positions seen on the statues of Hindu gods. These hand positions are called mudras and are thought to help manipulate and channel prana, a supposed divine force or breath of the universe.” From Marcia Montenegro, Christian Yoga: An Oxymoron?
Exodus 20:3-5 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
Continuing the statement by the Studio owner:
Since I started doing and teaching yoga, it has made me stand more and more in awe of God and how magnificently he designed the human body is (Ps 139:13). It has also given me countless opportunities to share my faith and turn people’s eyes to Christ.
But Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well.” Connecting how God designed us to Yoga is error, whether one debates it just for exercise bodily and spiritually you must pervert your Christianity to yoke with it, redefining it with Christian words/terms and background music doesn’t change it. As for turning others to Christ, God’s Word alone is powerful to save.
Studio owners continued in their defense:
I believe in God’s omnipotence and his omnipresence. He designed the power of breath (Gen 2:7)—not a bunch of yogis 3000 years ago. And yes, the great Creator has the power to take something misguided man may have begun, and turn it into a powerful instrument to teach people physical and mental self-control so that they may be clear-minded to pray and discern the depths of his Word (1 Ptr 4:7).
This is the very definition of deluding oneself if you believe this. The occult and eastern religions teach variants of what was just said! God breathed life into man – it was the breath of the TRUE GOD not what Yoga teaches at all. The verses used are perverted, the Bible says:
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
God breathed life into us, Yoga means to join body, mind and breath; to get them to work together in harmony! Not convinced? Here’s more on what Yoga breathing techniques mean:
“…Kriya Kundalini Pranayama: the “potential” technique, is a powerful breathing exercise to awaken powerful latent energy and circulate it through the seven principal chakras between the base of the spine and crown of the head. It awakens their corresponding psychological states and makes one a dynamo on all five planes of existence.” Yoga – Relaxation or Occult?
– John Weldon and Clifford Wilson wrote in Occult Shock and Psychic Forces that Yoga is really pure occultism. Hans-Ulrich Rieker, in his book The Yoga of Light, also warns that misunderstanding the true nature of Yoga can mean “death or insanity.” Another little known fact is that virtually every major guru in India has issued warnings similar to these; i.e., deep-breathing techniques such as the ones taught in Yoga are a time-honored method for entering altered states of consciousness and for developing so-called psychic power. [Note: Yoga is one of the basic means of reaching this altered state of consciousness. And the altered state is the doorway to the occult. Sir John Eccles, Nobel Prize Winner for his research on the brain, said the brain is “a machine that a ghost can operate.” In a normal state of consciousness, one’s own spirit ticks off the neurons in his brain and operates his body. We are spirits connected with a body. But in an altered state, reached under drugs, Yoga, hypnosis, etc., this passive but alert state, the connection between the spirit and the brain, is loosened. That allows another spirit to interpose itself, to begin to tick off the neurons in the brain, and create an entire universe of illusion. You’ve then opened yourself up. It’s called sorcery. People are literally teaching themselves how to be demonized, all in the name of developing one’s full potential.] Yoga – Relaxation or Occult?
Again, you cannot separate Yoga from its Hindu sources whether you speak of the physical or spiritual it is all part of worshipping false gods and as just demonstrated to reach an altered state of consciousness. I can only implore any reader to separate / cutoff completely from Yoga or Martial Arts! – It is impossible to use it in any fashion pleasing to the God of the Bible the One True God.
They continue to show they are comparable to the rich man once sucked into the deception and cannot let it go:
In the years my husband and I were in the ministry we learned how to build family from the disciples we shepherded. We have taken those same principles and brought them into our studio. I have had members sob and hug me in gratitude for what they have found in our studio—family. Something most of them don’t find outside our walls. They feel safe here. They feel like they can take off their armor and that they are loved and accepted for who they are. Isn’t that the purpose of the church (his body)–to help the world see Christ’s love? And aren’t we–my husband and I–the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27)?
Feelings can be very deceptive and only God knows the heart Jeremiah 17:9-10 states, “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings.” However, we are also taught to judge/measure our walk by what the Bible teaches, earnestly contending for the faith, following a pattern of sound doctrine. Please read, Is it Right to Judge? Are these owners in Christ? Can a believer serve two Gods?
Red herring argument anyone? The Studio owner continues:
I’m afraid you have fallen into the trap of extremes which all men of God should avoid (Ecc 7:18). Jesus ate with sinners. Paul walked with the Greeks and Romans and learned enough about their religion to turn them to God. Only the Pharisees avoided such folk.
It is not the extreme for the Christian to read and obey the Bible, the extreme is the trap of false teachings we are to avoid. Teachers and practitioners of Yoga and the Martial Arts are playing with spiritual fire!
First and foremost, Yoga is a process of spiritual unfoldment. Yoga is a 5000 year old system of self-knowledge and God-realization, the aim of which is unleashing the full hidden potential of every aspect of the human . . . Yoga teaches us how to harmonize our own personal existence, as well as to harmonize our individual consciousness with the greater Self that is God.
There are many testimonials to this but one “Christian” practicing Yoga and Centering Prayer came to the conclusion the experiences he had was from the Kundalini energy, because mindless centering prayer brings one into the same dark realm as Hinduism’s Yoga. The “inner adviser” associated with these practices are demonic. “Even heathen practitioners of Kundalini warn… “Those who awaken their kundalini without a guru can lose their direction in life…” From David Cloud’s research in Contemplative Mysticism, A Powerful Ecumenical Bond, page 172. Does this really sound like something we should be dabbling with at any level?
The use of Ecc 7:18 by the studio owner was perhaps a misquote but Proverbs 4:26 says, “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” – We establish our path by the Bible. So the argument and logic is invalid, Jesus and the Apostle Paul taught us to separate ourselves from the world and any teachings of false gods, they didn’t integrate them! The Bible is crystal clear on God’s feelings for His little children His jealousy is not without reason!
Some Helpful Links for the serious Believer:
A Great Compromise
Christian yoga or New age influences in the church. 3- Parts