YOU may not agree with me. You may not like me afterwards. There might even be a public backlash. Especially if you’re one of the 100,000 yoga instructors in the United States.
But I will say it all the same. Because it needs to be said.
Yoga is a spiritual deception. Period. And there’s more. If you think you can use yoga simply for physical well-being without being affected spiritually, you are wrong. Very wrong.
What do I mean? Let me explain.
The Origins of Yoga: Yoga comes out of an oral tradition. The Indian sage Patanjali is credited with collating this oral tradition into his classical work, the Yoga Sutra. The sutra is a 2,000-year-old treatise on yogic philosophy. It’s a collection of 195 statements. It is regarded as a philosophical guidebook.
In Hindu and Buddhist writings yoga is a way of obtaining release from the cycles of reincarnation by achieving a state of transcendence or an internal harmony with the universe. This can take many lifetimes.
Popularity of Yoga in the West: The latest Yoga in America study shows that 20.4 million Americans practice yoga. An increase of 29 percent from the previous 2008 study. Yoga is huge business. Practitioners spend $10.3 billion a year on yoga classes and products. The survey was commissioned by Yoga Journal. This 2012 study indicates that of the current non-practitioners, 44.4 percent of Americans call themselves “aspirational yogis”—people who are interested in trying yoga.
Why is Yoga so huge in the West? Many Westerners are attracted to any experience that offers a change of perceived reality. This began with the sexual freedom and liberalism of the 60s. They became more open to transcendental experiences. They were intrigued by non-physical realities they were previously unaware of. A search for spirituality, without the constraints of religion suddenly became the vogue. Anything that offered a new experience was sought with great interest. Very few questions were asked. Many Hindu and New Age missionaries saw an opportunity which they took advantage of. Add to that celebrity endorsement, and the rest is history!
The Eight Limbs of Yoga. The Yoga Sutra outlines eight limbs of yoga:
- The yamas (restraints)
- The niyamas (observances)
- The asana (postures)
- The pranayama (breathing)
- The pratyahara (withdrawal of senses)
- The dharana (concentration)
- The dhyani (meditation); and
- The samadhi (absorption).
As practitioners explore these eight limbs, they are encouraged to begin by refining their behaviour in the outer world. After this they then focus inwardly until they reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).
Is Hatha Yoga merely for physical and mental health? Today most people practising yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, or Hatha Yoga. This is a programme of physical postures. It is designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation. According to the Yoga Journal, “Hatha yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures), and sequences of asanas, designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many channels of the body—especially the main channel, the spine—so that energy can flow freely. Hatha is also translated as ha meaning “sun” and that meaning “moon.” This refers to the balance of masculine aspects—active, hot, sun—and feminine aspects—receptive, cool, moon—within all of us. …Hatha yoga is a powerful tool for self-transformation.”
Unfortunately, there’s more to Hatha Yoga. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (the classic manual on Hatha Yoga) states as follows: “Salutations to Shiva, who taught the science of Hatha Yoga. It is the aspirant’s stairway to the heights of Raja Yoga. …All the methods of Hatha and laya are for achieving Raja Yoga.”
The Hatha Yoga was specifically designed to lead the yogi (the male practitioner) or yogini (the female practitioner) to Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga is the unification of the mind. Shiva who taught the science of Hatha Yoga is also known as Mahadeva (“Great god”). He is one of the main deities of Hinduism. Shiva’s consort is Devi, or Kali, the goddess of death. He is also called the Yogeshwara (Lord of Yogis). If you’re a yogi or yogini, Shiva is your Lord! Therefore, the idea that Hatha Yoga or the asanas is purely for physical and mental well-being is clearly unfounded.
Kundalini Awakening. I acknowledge that the positions and the breathing exercises can have health benefits. However, it seems the ultimate goal in yoga is something much more disturbing: the kundalini awakening. The Yoga Journal puts it this way: “…Kundalini energy rests like a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. When this dormant energy flows freely upward through the seven chakras (energy centers) and leads to an expanded state of consciousness, it’s known as a kundalini awakening. For some, the experience can be blissful and filled with feelings of love and a sense of the interconnectedness of all things. For others, it can feel more like a bad drug trip, or even a psychotic break, where practitioners go through altered sleep cycles, changes in identity, or depression. This discrepancy has led many Westerners to fear the coiled serpent resting in their spine, ready to strike.” [Emphasis supplied by me].
The Hidden Dangers. The problems really start when the kundalini energy is awakened. Sadly for many people, this is a point of no return. Most Western teachers are probably ignorant of this danger. Others are themselves deceived and are unwittingly leading people down a very dangerous path.
Yoga is a Hindu practice. And some positions in yoga are undoubtedly cultic in origin. Examples include the cobra and greeting the sun. So too is the pose of the mountain. These are all positions designed to invoke the presence of Hindu gods.
Should a Christian practice Yoga? The short answer is no. In reality, if you practice yoga, Shiva, the lord of the yogis, becomes your lord and master. You can’t serve two masters. You can’t serve Jesus and Shiva. It’s impossible. The Bible put it this way in Matthew 6:24 (NIV): “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other…” And the more you practice yoga, the more you open up yourself to the Spirits behind it. Be very clear: Yoga is not just a harmless physical exercise. It opens the door to demonic control!
If you want the long answer, then look out for my upcoming book on the subject of yoga.
Question: Do you practise yoga? What are your thoughts? Please click below to leave a comment