The Disciple and the Yoga
Dr. Imanuel G.
It all began long time ago. God told
Adam and Eve, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17). But then they were
led astray by the lie, “You will not surely die….” Instead, “When you eat of it
your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” (Genesis 3:4-5). And everything
was spoiled forever. All the grief and sadness, all the bitterness and broken
relationships, all wars and violence entered into the human race. From that
point on, man’s chief goal has been to escape from all this suffering and still
continue to attempt to be like God, to be his own master, to be his own God, and
has come up with many paths to take control of his destiny.
Yoga is one of these attempts. In
writing about Yoga, I feel like Jude who wanted to write something that would
benefit his readers spiritually, but instead he had to warn them of certain
ideologies that had slipped in among the believers (Jude 3-4). Yoga today has
become a part of the western culture practiced from kindergarten schools to the
Whitehouse, a kind of miracle cure-all claiming to release stress and provide
But most people are unaware of the
philosophy behind yoga and the inherent physical, emotional, and spiritual
dangers that even the proponents of yoga, some of the Hindu gurus, warn about.
We very briefly will look at these two things and also answer the question: Can
a believer innocently practice yoga?
As mentioned above, the goal of yoga
is to escape from all the sufferings in this world and to become one with god
(small “g”). Yoga literally means union, uniting self, the finite being, with
something (yes, someThing, not someOne) that is higher, greater and transcendent
known in Hinduism as Brahman. It is believed that man is divine; the only
problem is his ignorance, not knowing who he is. So the goal of yoga is to
harness that latent force within himself through meditation and other
metaphysical techniques for the enlightenment and to be one with the Higher
As a part of teaching Sanskrit in a
state university college in India, I taught the philosophy of Yoga and still
remember the eight-step path of yoga, like a staircase, leading the yogi (one
who practices yoga) from ignorance to enlightenment, from atman (self) to
paramatman (Higher Being). These eight steps are: Yama (self
control), niyama (spiritual practice of rules), asana (seatings,
postures), pranayama (control of breathing), pratyahara
(controlling sense-perception), dhyana (deep contemplation, meditation),
dharana (concentration), and finally samadhi (union or
enlightenment). Yoga, as practiced in the West, popularly includes postures and
breathing exercises, which as you can see, are steps three and four along the
pathway to union with Brahman.
So, the philosophy behind and the
goal of yoga is nothing less than demonic, and the source of it is Satan himself
whose thoughts are well described by the words of Isaiah 14:14, “I will ascend
to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars (i.e. angels) of God; I will
sit enthroned on the mount of assembly…. I will make myself like the Most High”.
Satan asked for submission and demanded worship even from the Son of God Himself
(Matthew 4:8-9). Yoga, down to the core, is nothing less than devil worship and
occultic. Many of the websites that talk about yoga also include subjects like
astrology, psychic readings, psychic paranormal, tarot, New Age, psychic
meditation, dreams, reincarnation, etc. That in itself makes clear what kind of
an ideology one is dealing with when one gets involved in the practice of yoga.
If the philosophy and goal of yoga
are demonic, the dangers of yoga are unlimited, as described by the yoga
proponents themselves (Dipankar Khanna; www.cherrysage.com/articles/kundaliniyoga).
It is believed that the primordial “shakti”, cosmic energy lies coiled in the
base of the spine and yoga awakens this cosmic energy and “when this awakening
happens to people who are not on a spiritual path, the experience can leave them
fragile and fragmented” (Khanna). Some of the physical manifestations described
by Khanna are: “twitches, cramps or spasms. Itching, vibrating, prickling,
tingling, stinging or crawling sensations. Intense heat or cold. Involuntary
bodily movements (occur more often during meditation, rest or sleep): Jerking,
tremors, shaking; feeling an inner force pushing one into postures or moving
one's body in unusual ways. Alterations in eating and sleeping patterns.
Episodes of extreme hyperactivity or, conversely, overwhelming fatigue.
Intensified or diminished sexual desires. Headaches, pressures within the skull.
Racing heartbeat, pain in the chest. Digestive system problems. Numbness or pain
in the limbs (particularly the left foot and leg). Emotional outbursts; rapid
mood shifts; seemingly unprovoked or excessive episodes of grief, fear, rage,
depression. Spontaneous vocalizations (including laughing and weeping) are as
unintentional and uncontrollable as hiccups. Hearing an inner sound or sounds,
classically described as a flute, drum, waterfall, birds singing, bees buzzing
but which may also sound like roaring, whooshing, or thunderous noises or like
ringing in the ears. Mental confusion; difficulty in concentrating. Heat,
strange activity, and/or blissful sensations in the head, particularly in the
And some of the psychic experiences,
as described by Khanna, are: “Altered states of consciousness: heightened
awareness; spontaneous trance states; mystical experiences (if the individual's
prior belief system is too threatened by these, they can lead to bouts of
psychosis or self-grandiosity). Ecstasy, bliss and intervals of tremendous joy,
love, peace and compassion. Extrasensory perception; out-of-body experiences;
past life memories; astral travel; contact with spirit guides through inner
voices, dreams or visions; healing powers. Increased creativity: New interests
in self-expression and spiritual communication through music, art, poetry, etc.
Intensified understanding and sensitivity: insight into one's own essence;
deeper understanding of spiritual truths; exquisite awareness of one's
environment (including 'vibes' from others). Enlightenment experiences direct
Knowing of a more expansive reality; transcendent awareness.” You can decide
which of these are beneficial, if any, and which of these are harmful.
If the goal and philosophy of yoga
are demonic and the physical, emotional and spiritual dangers are unlimited, the
benefits of yoga, if any, are exaggerated. Yoga promises nothing that cannot be
achieved by some simple stretching and aerobic exercises. Actually, yoga does
not do anything to build lean toned muscle or burn fat, which is what most
people want. It does not boost energy or if there is any feeling of
rejuvenation, it is temporary and mostly emotional and may even be occultic. By
the use of various asanas (physical postures) and meditation (spiritually
emptying of the mind) yoga claims to give relief from stress. But without
eliminating the sources of stress, the relief, if any, is only temporary and it
is almost like being high on mind altering drugs, as described above.
There is a better way. That is
Christianity. Ironically, the goal of Christianity, too, is to be like God, to
become Christ-like, but not in the sense of having ability and power like God,
but in the sense of having an attitude of humility (Philippians 2:4-5) and a
moral, holy character just as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), and in manifesting
the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26) through the power provided by God
Himself (Philippians 4:13). Man’s basic problem is not ignorance of self, but
sin that keeps him separated from God and from enjoying his full potential of
being what God intended him to be. Yoga provides a goal that cannot be attained
by a finite human being; instead it can take one on a downward spiral of
self-destruction leading to the pit of hell. If we live according to the
principles laid down in the Word of God, most of our stress would be relieved
and we would enjoy life to its fullness. The joy and fulfillment of life is
found not in our attempts to usurp God’s place, but the truest and greatest joy
of life comes from trustful obedience to God, from nothing else.
Imanuel G. Christian