I am writing this blog to inform Christians about Yoga and it’s origins and connections which many are ignorant to. The main issue that we are presented with is “Can it be done as physical fitness without spiritual ties or is it inseparable from it’s demonic origins in Hinduism?”
Yoga’s origin is in the religion of Hinduism. Within Hinduism there are actually five different types of Yoga: Rāja, Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, and Hatha. Yoga makes up the substance of what it means to be a practicing Hindu.
Despite the many types of Yoga, most Westerners refer only to Hatha Yoga when they simply say “Yoga”. Hatha Yoga focuses on first purifying your physical body in order to purify your mind so that you may achieve spiritual oneness with Brahman and free yourself from this illusion of life they call Maya. Hatha Yoga was pioneered by Yogi Swatmarama in the 15th century before Christ. It is a form of physical purification for the body of yogi’s to aid in deeper and longer levels of meditation to their gods. Hatha Yoga attempts through different body postures and breathing techniques to balance the two opposing forces within ones self so as to bring one to completeness and balance.
Though Swatmarama popularized the practice of Hatha Yoga it is believed to of existed in ancient doctrine long before Swatmarama. The source of knowledge of Hatha Yoga is said to originate from Lord Shiva that was overheard by Parvati. Shiva is a major deity of the Hindu religion also known as Shiva the Destroyer and is the Master of Yoga.
The Goal Of Yoga
In actual practice the word Yoga signifies both the object attained, namely, union of the Soul and the Over-Soul, and also the method or methods by which this union is achieved.
-Purpose of Yoga, Gopi Krishna (pg.1)
Yoga means to yoke or join. Hindus practice Yoga in order to yoke themselves or join themselves to Brahman through various practices. Hatha Yoga has two general sub-goals that it accomplishes through postures, meditation, and breathing; to attain Samadhi and awaken ones Kundalini.
Samadhi is a place of deepest meditation where ones consciousness merges with the object being observed, the observer and the observation become one. Samadhi is the 8th and final step of Yoga.
Kundalini, as the Hindus believe, is the wound up dormant energy at the base of your spine that is pictured as a serpent coiled three and a half times around the spine. Through Yogic practices such as Pranayama (breathing control), chanting, and visualization it is believed that one can awaken their Kundalini. When one awakens their Kundalini through Yoga the coiled up force will uncoil and rise through the Chakras up the spine to above the head leading one to deep meditation and bliss. Common effects of this state of meditation include involuntary seizures, increased body heat, spontaneous postures, and visions.
“How these very desirable objectives can be achieved no one cares to explain or even to understand. What is generally supposed is that Yoga does possess some power to lift up the human mind out of the harsh, objective world of battle for existence… even unrestricted power over the elements and forces of nature. These impressions are based on accounts contained in books, both ancient and modern, or hearsay. ”
-Purpose of Yoga, Gopi Krishna (pg.2)
Aside from the five types of yoga there are eight “limbs” of Yoga which are the actual practices that are done. Only one of the eight limbs of Yoga are postures and positions, another includes breathing control. These two limbs combined make up Hatha Yoga which is extremely popular in America and synonymous with simply “Yoga”.
Asana’s and Pranayama
Asana’s are the body postures that exercise the body so that one can focus their mind in meditation, and separate themselves from their surrounding world and experience self-realization. Asana’s were originally sitting positions for Yogi’s to meditate in, but somewhere along the way a great variety of poses developed. There are around 1000 poses that are recognized by the Indian government. A Hindu’s goal is to realize that they are one with god and that this world and it’s sufferings and limitations are simply an illusion of bondage. Asana’s aim at allowing the Hindu to meditate deeper and awaken their Kundalini in order to experience self realization or Samadhi.
Pranayama accompanies Asana’s but it is the control over ones breathing rhythm while meditating. Prana is the life force or spiritual energy in your body; therefore as you control your breathing the goal is to ultimately control your life energy in a way that brings you to a higher level of meditation and awareness so as to merge yourself with the divine consciousness. There is even such thing as astral-yoga in which the individual can develop siddhis or supernatural powers that allow the person to travel to other places via spirit travel.
Ok, enough book knowledge! Let’s take a look at the Christians worldview concerning it.
The Dangers of Yoga
The danger of Yoga to the Christian interested in physical fitness is that Yoga comes from a demonic religion and Yoga itself is the very essence of what Hinduism aims at: becoming one with the universe. This is not something God wants us to aim for, actually the Bible presents that God wants us to steward over His creation instead of worshiping it.
It is impossible to separate true Yoga from true Hinduism. As is clearly stated above, the practice of Yoga involves practices and forms of meditation that open doorways for demonic activity, attachments and possibly even possession (if you are not saved). Christians are not to engage in any practice that is demonically engaged such as Ouija boards, seances, psychic practices etc. Should a Christian use a Ouija board to teach their children spelling and team work? Why do we think we can separate Yoga from it’s roots? The dangers (for ourselves and others) greatly outweigh the benefits.
You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. 1Corinthians 10:21 NLT
Is it a sin to practice Yoga as a Christian who wants to be fit? No.
Is it safe to play on the edge of a cliff if one wants to have fun? No.
Is either safe or wise? No.
Are there nonHindu/Christian alternatives of equal effect? Yes!
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is helpful.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.
1Corinthians 10:23 NLT
What’s So Demonic About Stretching?
Many ask “Can I, being a Christian, do Yoga?” to that I would answer “Why would you want to?”. Get rid of the “what can I get away with” mindset and adopt the what is eternally beneficial to me and those around me that I influence or look up to me… mindset. If you are doing the body positions without the meditation, breathing, inward focus, or goal of enlightenment/unity with the Universe than stop calling it Yoga!
It is clear that Yoga as well as Hinduism does not aim at having a relationship with the God of the Bible, Yahweh, because of the nature of Brahman. So one must ask: who are they really becoming one with? The second problem is that there is no atonement for sin, thus the afterlife will not be with God nor can they pursue a relationship with God while alive on Earth because they have not been redeemed (John 14:6). So with those things established we can see that through the lens of the Word of God that Hinduism is not a valid religion to follow if one wants satisfaction, salvation, or Eternal Life with the One True God.
Do the positions themselves invite demonic activity? I don’t believe so (that’s supertitious and fearful), for instance there is a Yoga position where you lay on your front, place your hands on the ground and push your torso upward, stretching your abdomen and bending your back. This position is called the Cobra position. Unknowingly I have done this position many times while stretching before workouts so have I placed myself in demon’s path unwittingly? I don’t believe so, simply by positioning my body in a certain stance that just so happens to be a known position in Yoga certainly isn’t enough to be considered an unChristian practice. So what invites the possible activity of demons connected to Hinduism? I believe it’s the goal of Mocksa, the self-centered mindset and spiritual teachings that accompany Yoga that place one at risk. They simply are antiBiblical, antiGod, and antiChrist. Read on for my explanation.
Doctrine of Demons?
Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from what we believe; they will follow lying spirits and teachings that come from demons. 1Timothy 4:1 NLT
Yoga teaches you to empty your mind completely
The Bible teaches you to fill your mind with the Word, thanksgiving, and worship. If you empty it something will come in!
Isa 26:3, Matt 22:37, Rom 12:2, Rom 15:6, Eph 4:23, Pro 4:34, Psa 119:15, 119:148,
Yoga says that you can attain unity with God by meditating and self-realization
The Bible shows that the only way for us to have any relationship with God is for us to accept through faith the atoning blood of Christ, only then are our wages of sin paid for and we can know God intimately through faith and devotion.
Jhn 6:14, Col 1:14, Heb 9:12, 1Cor 1:30, Jam 4:8, Heb 11:6
Yoga aims at finding the divinity inside of you
The Bible teaches that every part of our being is fallen and not divine, it’s only by God’s grace that we are chosen, have communion with Him, and have His Spirit live inside of us.
Rom 3:23, 3:10, 2Pet 1:3-4, Eph 2:8, Rom 8:7,
Yoga teaches that by doing good things one can rid themself of evil
The Bible clearly presents that regardless of how much good we do, we are still bad at the heart which is the problem that only Christ’s redemption can fix. Salvation can never come through works alone.
Rom 3:23, 3:10, Eph 2:8, 2Tim 1:9, Tit3:5,
Hinduism presents the god of the universe as an impersonal, universal god who exists equally in everything including living beings, other religious deities, and inanimate objects
The Bible reveals that Yahweh, the one true God, is omnipresent but not necessarily dwelling in all things actively. He is personal, and even came to us in the form of a man – Jesus, to communicate His love and finish His first covenant so that we could come to Him.
Gen 3:8, Gen 8:15, Col 1:15
The positions in Yoga (Asanas) are also positions in which you present yourself as an offering to certain gods of Hinduism
The Bible tells us to offer our lives as living sacrifices to God, we give our whole self to Him and He does what He wills with us. It’s not through physical actions that we please God, it’s by a lifestyle of worship and faith.
Rom 12:1, Matt 22:37
As discussed in my blog “Demonic Activity” taking part in things that have demonic ties is not safe for anyone. Even the words used in Yoga, the terminology, and the “Ohm” chant contain anti-God meanings. Most of it is worship to the many gods of Hinduism. There are plenty of other systems of physical fitness that do not pose a danger to your spirit, choose those. It also does not matter if you are ignorant of the spiritual connections, you will still be placing yourself at risk. After all, isn’t ignorance of danger one of Satan’s most effective tactics? Involving yourself with Yoga may not effect you or convince you of Hinduisms erroneous theology but it may lead a newer Christian in to error because of your acceptance of Yoga.
Christians are forbidden from practicing other forms of worship from other religions and from worshiping other gods. This is seen in many of God’s judgments on Israel when they adopted other nations practices because they liked the perks of that practice or god (Exo 20:3, 23:33, Deu 6:4, 7:4-9, 2Kng 17:33). In the New Testament too, the separation of believer and the world is strongly enforced (Rom 12:2, Eph 4:1, 1Pet 2:9). We are not to borrow from other belief systems to suit our appetite, nor are we to take part in any activity that is not founded in God and His Word. Yoga is founded in the desire for oneness with a false god and that should not be ok with any Christian.
If you are serious about Yoga it will draw you in to other New Age things such as Transendental Meditation, Astrology, or Pantheism. Yoga also comes from the religion which is at the heart of the “New Age movement” which provides a plethora of heretical and antiBiblical teachings. These teachings include “You are God”, “You are your own savior”, “There is no sin”, “All religions are one in the end”, “God is who you want it to be”, and “God is nature and the universe”. Yoga is often a “gateway drug” in to further forms of error, occult, and religious interest. And remember it may not be you who falls in to error through Yoga but it could easily happen to a younger Christian interested in Yoga.
14 – Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
15 – I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say.
16 – The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
17 – For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.
19 – What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?
20 – Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.
21 – You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.
22 – Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
23 – All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.
24 – Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
Fitness is good, Yoga is bad. Please take care of your body, I personally love stretching thanks to my past in Martial Arts (which was taught and practiced without spiritualism). Do not go to secular Yoga classes or accept any of the teachings on what Yoga is originally intended for. If you have been deeply involved in the spiritual aspect of Yoga repent and pray for God to purify your spirit and free you of any possible attachments. Get rid of any association with Yoga in your personal fitness program such as position names, Hindu terminology, breathing techniques, or meditative practices. Stretching and relaxing has scientifically been proven to reduce stress and improve your all around health so do it just don’t do Yoga.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. Matthew 7:15
Testimonies of freedom from Yoga:
Information on Yoga: