Most Christians today are unaware of the pagan spiritual reality behind the practice of yoga. Most teachers in our culture do not even fully understand the spiritual implications of what they teach. Yoga has been cleverly masked in our society so that most Christians think there are no negative implications so long as they 1) Just do the exercise part, or 2) Simply plug Jesus into the practice and call it good.
I strongly disagree.
I presently was sitting in the waiting room at the Fulton County hospital with my little guy and was finally convicted to write about this very important issue. On the hospital’s informational TV monitor a very disturbing health practice came up on the screen about mindfulness. If you go onto the Fulton County web page you will find all the Health and Wellness Programs. Some of them are not harmful and fine others are not this way. This is what I will explain here, so stick with me.
TAI CHI/QI GONG
Slow and deliberate movements, meditation and breathing exercises that can promote general well-being and health, increase energy and stamina, decrease stress and anxiety and improve muscle strength and flexibility. Moves are done primarily in standing but can can also be done seated so they are great for any age or fitness level.
Dance, stretch and find your true flow in this class like none other you have ever experienced. Find your true flow in body and mind as you stretch your body and train your mind to the rhythm of the music. Vera Flow is just what you need to feel completely relaxed and content.
Yoga for all ages
This class consists of basic Yoga postures, breathing and relaxation techniques. Yoga poses and passive stretches are the focus of this artful format. It’s a total body workout as you use the weight of your body to hold the various poses!
Many of these classes are at the FCHC Wellness Center, but some are at Archbold Ruihley Park, FCHC Beck Meeting Room, Evergreen Elementary, Delta Public Library, and Trinity United Methodist Church.
You are probably saying, “What is the big deal?” Well it’s a huge deal. These practices are cultic and harmful. They are also very popular and have no scientific evidence to actually prove the claims of being helpful in managing stress or anxiety.
Jessica Smith’s website, The Truth Behind Yoga, explains how dangerous these eastern practices are. She gives two examples of meditation.
Example 1: One man sits cross-legged. The sun rose twenty minutes ago, casting a soft glow through the dancing smoke of incense, but he didn’t notice. His glazed eyes have been vacantly cast toward the floor for over an hour. His upper body rocks ever-so slightly in rhythm with the mantra he softly repeats. This little prayer invites and invokes the deity or “energy” associated with the chanted sounds to help him deepen his practice. Invoking deities or “energies” can be done many ways, not just through chanting. Sometimes he practices yoga, sometimes holds an image of a teacher in his mind. Every once in awhile, he even uses hallucinogenic drugs that seem to “open” him to energies that help him reach deep esoteric levels. These are some, but not all the ways he practices meditation to get closer to the final goal: To obtain absolute knowledge and freedom by uniting with the divine consciousness.
Example 2: Another man sits at his kitchen table. It is early and out the window the sun just begins to warm soft gold on the horizon. The man prays to the Lord, asking for wisdom as he seeks his word. He opens the Bible and studies a passage. He thinks about the passage, and what the Lord is saying to him through it. What does it mean? How does this apply to my life, he ponders. He memorizes a verse from the passage that he particularly likes. Throughout the day, he tries to remember the scripture, tries to log it into long-term memory. He loves the way the verse reminds him of the message he learned earlier that morning. Later that afternoon, he finds himself in a stressful situation, and the verse immediately pops to mind. It brings him immediate peace and clarity at a time that would have otherwise brought discomfort and confusion. Silently, he praises the Lord for his goodness and the richness of his word. His lips form into a little smile as he thinks about the scripture that says the Lord’s word is a lamp unto his feet. He gets it–the word really does light up the right way to go. He loves meditating on the word of the Lord. It brings him closer to his ultimate goal: To worship Jesus with his thoughts, attitudes, actions, words, and life .https://www.truthbehindyoga.com/what-is-meditation/
Understand the difference:
1. THE LORD’S INSTRUCTION: Meditation = Filling the Mind
What it is:
The Lord’s instruction regarding meditation is to always be filling the mind with thoughts of him (*see attached list of Bible verses referencing “meditate” and “meditation”). The idea is that we love the Lord so much we think about him all the time, that we constantly seek his will and delight in thinking about his word, his instructions, and the awesome things he has done in the past and continues to do all the time. https://www.truthbehindyoga.com/what-is-meditation/
2. EASTERN/NEW AGE INSTRUCTION: Meditation = Emptying the Mind
What it is:
In direct opposition is the Eastern spiritual tradition of meditation, which instructs emptying the mind of thought to open one’s mind to the spiritual realm and ultimately reach a state of merging and oneness with the ultimate consciousness. This technique is often called “mindfulness” or “open-mind” meditation. https://www.truthbehindyoga.com/what-is-meditation/
Dangers of Yoga and other Eastern Practices
This was an article from a non Christian website that explains the research behind New Age Mediation practices. Here is an excerpt from the article.
The researchers identified 59 kinds of unexpected or unwanted experiences, which they classified into seven domains: cognitive, perceptual, affective (related to moods), somatic, conative (related to motivation), sense of self, and social. Among the experiences described to them were feelings of anxiety and fear, involuntary twitching, insomnia, a sense of complete detachment from one’s emotions, hypersensitivity to light or sound, distortion in time and space, nausea, hallucinations, irritability, and the re-experiencing of past traumas. The associated levels of distress and impairment ranged from “mild and transient to severe and lasting,” according to the study. Most would not imagine that these side-effects could be hiding behind the lotus-print curtains of your local meditation center. https://qz.com/993465/theres-a-dark-side-to-meditation-that-no-one-talks-about/
Another research article stated this.
Buddhist-derived meditation practices are currently being employed as a popular form of health promotion. While meditation programs draw inspiration from Buddhist textual sources for the benefits of meditation, these sources also acknowledge a wide range of other effects beyond health-related outcomes. The Varieties of Contemplative Experience study investigates meditation-related experiences that are typically underreported, particularly experiences that are described as challenging, difficult, distressing, functionally impairing, and/or requiring additional support. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0176239
It’s very important to remember that Christians are not to practice pagan rituals or religions. Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.
The god of these practices are pagan and their is no way to Christianize any of this for our benefit. Lighthouse Trails has many resoursces about these pagan practices. An excerpt from an article titled Meditation! Pathway to Wellness or a Doorway to the Occult states this.
But how does one engage in the actual practice of New Age meditation? For starters, one begins by repeating a single world or short phrase for a minimum of twenty minutes (once a meditator is good at meditating, he can even shorten that time). But if for some reason, the meditator finds himself given to active thought again, he must revert back to repeating that same word or phrase. This word or phrase is what is referred to as “the mantra.” A similar method involves focusing on the breath for the same amount of time. Yet another method, commonly found in Shamanic cultures, incorporates the use of both chanting and drumming. Alongside of this, there exists an even more subtle “Christian” form of meditation, which employs the use of biblical phrases, a single word such as “Jesus,” and spiritual-sounding phrases such as “Maranatha,” “Abba Father,” “You are my Lord,” and “Here I Am.” https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=18828
I see some Christians doing this type of practice by having a mantra or a phrase they use. I mostly have seen it done as a word or phrase they try to live by the entire year. Instead of taking up the entire counsel of God they focus on one word. This is dangerous and unbiblical. I have seen this done with popular Christian personalities, usually women, and usually a false teacher. We need to be reading our Bibles and taking up the entire counsel of God not focusing on one word. This is not what the Lord wants us to do.
I recommend strongly that Christians stay FAR AWAY from these practices.
Author and religion professor at Indiana University, Candy Gunther Brown warns of this tendency specifically within the context of yoga and other spiritually rooted practices.
“There’s also evidence that practicing something connected with religion can actually change people’s beliefs. Christians, in particular, tend to think a person’s intent determines whether something is religious. They don’t realize that active participation can actually change someone’s intent. Over time, people who start off attracted to an alternative practice because there’s a perceived health benefit start to embrace the religious ideas underneath these practices” (Christianity Today, November 2013).
There are many great resources about this topic. Please share this with others and even your local hospital, school, community, and even your church.
https://bereanresearch.org/new-age/ (you can find many resources on this link at the end of the article.
Here is an interview: