The Dangerous Deception of Yoga | September 13th, 2022
Choosing to make my life career in the fitness industry increased my curiosity to experience nearly every form of exercise over the past three decades. I especially enjoy teaching water fitness and strength training classes for the young and fit as well as the elderly with arthritis and Alzheimer’s.
Working out every day at a high intensity drew me toward a less strenuous form of exercise…yoga. From beginner Hatha Yoga to Power Yoga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, and even Bikram (hot) Yoga where the room is heated to 105 degrees, I’ve tried it. I even began a routine of doing sun salutations in the mornings at home before starting my day. It woke up my muscles and made me feel so good. Like many others, I was completely unaware of the dangerous deception lurking behind the practice of yoga.
The Origins of Yoga
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning “to join, yoke, or unite.” As a Hindu word and a Hindu discipline, the goal of yoga is to attain ultimate knowledge, wisdom, and freedom by losing one’s sense of self and uniting with the divine or universal consciousness.
Yoga is rooted in Hinduism, the worship of 330 million false gods, and cannot be separated from it:
“Hinduism, one of the oldest religions in the world is where yoga is derived from, with the first mentions of yoga being in our oldest sacred book, the Rig Veda. Without Hinduism, there would be no yoga.”
“Yoga is a Hindu practice that cannot be stripped of its identity and given a new history.”
“Yoga is a spiritual body language from India. It is a moving liturgy. It was developed as a spiritual practice to unite with the Hindu divine and as a religious rite to worship the Hindu divine. The practice of such poses identifies a person with the Hindu Supreme.”
I often hear people say, “I only do yoga for the exercise, not the spiritual part of it.”
More than 90% of people who come to yoga do so for physical exercise, improved health, or stress management but for most people, their primary reason for doing yoga will change. One study found that two-thirds of yoga students and 85% of yoga teachers have a change of heart regarding why they practice yoga—most often changing to spirituality or self-actualization, a sense of fulfilling their potential. – Psychology Today
It’s important to know that yoga instructors generally have the desire to lead their students spiritually into the practices by subtly drawing them into it.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, an ancient text that is widely referred to in yoga classes today, clearly presents a moral code for yogis to follow and outlines the path toward a mystical state of enlightenment known as samadhi, or union with the divine. – Yoga Journal
Yoga is a gateway used in the beginning as exercise, then spiritually as it naturally sends the participant into a meditative state. This is all part of the enemy’s deception telling people it’s just breathing and stretching. However, because of its connection to the worship of false gods in Hinduism, the participant is giving legal permission for demons to come into their space, opening themselves up to demonic oppression and spiritual warfare. It’s a spiritually dangerous practice.
Yoga is designed for worship, not for exercise. All of the yoga movements, postures, breathing techniques, and meditations are assigned to release what is called the Kundalini serpent energy – the counterfeit Holy Spirit. This does not connect you with God, but invites demons. At the root of each pose in yoga is the worship of the serpent, designed for activating the Kundalini awakening—the serpent energy that travels up the spine, whether we intend it to or not to induce a false born again experience counterfeit to the Bible when God regenerates His elect in saving faith. – Gospel Adorned: The Idolatry of Yoga
Kundalini literally means “that which is coiled.” Hindus teach there is a Kundalini serpent energy in everyone that can be uncoiled at the base of the spine through any kind of yoga. It is said to connect the body and mind, leading to the awakening of spiritual consciousness and enlightenment. This is a lie from Satan, the serpent himself. True spiritual enlightenment is only possible through a relationship with the one true God:
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Yoga is deeply rooted in idolatry with a focus on self. Each asana (pose) is intentionally designed to be an offering to honor the Hindu gods, invoking the spirits to help the participant reach enlightenment so they can become God-like. Where have we heard that before? You guessed it – from Satan, that devious serpent in the Garden of Eden:
“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5
The asanas of yoga automatically activate the spiritual realm. A person does not have any control over that. Intentions, however good they may be, do not make any difference. Yoga takes the participant to a meditative state and sets the spiritual into motion.
Satan is both patient and progressive with his deception. Check out this quote from David Swenson, one of the world’s foremost instructors of Ashtanga Yoga:
“There is no need to attach a religious label to yoga anymore than there is a need to attach a religious label to penicillin. Regardless of one’s religious affiliation, the medication will do its work without bias.”
Here are a few of the most common yoga poses and what they represent spiritually in Hinduism. If you have attended a yoga class, you’ve probably practiced at least one of these:
Mountain pose: Opens yourself up spiritually as you stand tall with an open heart; promotes self-esteem and inner strength
Triangle pose: The sacred grouping of the Hindu deities Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (destroyer) symbolizing the three cycles of manifestation and nature
Tree pose: Allows spiritual energies to flow through you and connect you to Brahma, the Hindu creator god
Warrior 1, 2 and 3 poses: These tell the story of Virabhadra, the Hindu god Shiva
Child’s pose – Enters you into an impressionable, childlike / godlike state of receptiveness where you are not burdened by your past or worried about the future; opens spiritual gateways
Lotus pose – Creates an essential foundation for meditation practice; the lotus is often found in Hindu iconography (visual images and symbols) associated with many deities
Sun Salutation – In many cultures, light is a symbol of consciousness and self-illumination. For thousands of years, the Hindus have revered the sun and view it as both the physical and spiritual heart of the world…a pathway to the divine.
One way of paying homage to the sun god Surya is through the asana sequence Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), a series of 12 poses with each pose acknowledging an aspect of the sun god.
God warns strongly against this in His Word: And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. Deuteronomy 4:19
There is only one God and He does not share His glory with anyone: “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.” Isaiah 42:8
“Namaste” and “Om“
The Sanskrit word namaskar stems from namas which means “to bow to” or “to adore.” The familiar phrase often used to end yoga classes coming from this same root is “Namaste.” It means “The divine in me bows to the divine in you.”
Bowing to or showing respect to another false god is an act of idolatry. The Bible teaches that we are not gods and that we are only to bow to the one true God: “You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
“Namaste” is accompanied by a mudra which is a seal, mark, or gesture. In Hinduism, it is a symbolic gesture of the hands and fingers. The Prayer Mudra is combined with “Namaste,” bringing the palms together at the heart, also called “the heart seal.” It signifies the potential for an intention to progress to greatest spiritual awakening. As followers of Christ, the Holy Spirit seals our heart as a guarantee that we belong to Him alone!
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 21-22
You may have also heard or chanted the word “Om” in a yoga class. The pagan god of yoga called Ishvara is claimed by the Yoga Sutras to be the source of all knowledge. This god is represented by the symbol and sound of “Om.” Chanting “Om” is not just a meaningless practice of sound vibrations to calm the body. It is an invocation of the spirit associated with Ishvara.
Can the practice of yoga be redeemed for Christians? The answer is no. One cannot separate the poses from the philosophy which is rooted in the doctrine of demons. People can be redeemed but pagan practices cannot. God never asked His people, in the Old or New Testament, to take things that had been created for pagan practices and clean them up for holy purposes.
You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. Deuteronomy 12:31a
Churches have repackaged yoga to make it more palatable through names like “Holy Yoga,” “Christian Yoga,” or “Scripture Yoga.”
To be holy refers to a state of being set apart from defilement. The Hebrew word for holy comes from the root word kadosh meaning “to consecrate; set apart.” When we give our life to Christ, we are to be set apart from the world. We are a representation of His glory on earth!
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
Just as we cannot redeem a Ouija board by placing Bible verses on it, we cannot redeem yoga by stamping Jesus on it and calling it “holy” or “Christian.” It is demonic at the root. As followers of Christ, our life purpose is to glorify God. How does doing a yoga pose that glorifies a Hindu deity glorify God? It doesn’t and it can’t no matter how you spin it to make it appear holy.
God warns us not to provoke Him to jealousy. If you love God with your whole heart and your desire is to please and obey Him, you will not want to grieve or anger Him through that which is detestable to Him.
Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14
They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. Deuteronomy 32:21a
If you are a representative of Christ, please consider this: If someone sees you participating in or hosting a yoga class at your church and they are a new believer or visitor, they may not think twice about trying out another yoga class in town. In fact, they could end up becoming deeply involved in yoga, taking them further away from a relationship with the one true God.
Yoga’s goal of self-enlightenment is for those who do not believe Jesus Christ is sufficient. We, as believers, do not live in idolatry. We live in the light of Christ. We love God’s Word and sound doctrine, not the doctrine of demons. We are holy and set apart, having nothing to do with deeds of darkness.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:8-11
Surrender to God
Once I became aware of the origins and dangerous deception of yoga, I repented to the Lord for unknowingly taking part in the worship of false gods. It grieved me so much! I know He has fully forgiven me and will do so for anyone who comes to Him with a humble heart.
Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. Hosea 14:9
If you have been practicing yoga for a long time, it may be one of the most difficult passions for you to give up. Surrender any rebellion or pride you may have in your heart and with humility, ask the Lord to lead you in His truth with wisdom and discernment. He promises to give it generously when you ask, without finding fault. Only by yoking yourself with Jesus Christ alone will you be able to find ultimate knowledge, wisdom, and freedom on the path that leads to eternal life, illuminated with the Light of the world.
Book Recommendation: The Shattering: An Encounter with Truth by Jessica Smith
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