Yoga Practice Grows at Unprecedented Rate



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  • Yoga Practice Grows at Unprecedented Rate

    Published in the Multiple Publications - By S. E. Ray - 04/22/07

    The Register-Guard reported that 35 million Americans will try yoga for the first time this year. Once confined to those interested in Eastern spirituality, yoga is catching on among fitness fanatics, aging baby boomers and other unlikely enthusiasts who claim the mind/body practice does everything from heal illness to tighten abs. Wal-Mart's Web site exploits some 990 yoga products while Target exceeds 4,200. Hatha yoga exercises are taught as part of YMCA physical education programs, in health spas and given as physical exercise on TV programs. The majority of clubs now offer yoga classes. Yoga is also incorporated into institutional and liberal churches on the assumption that these techniques are nothing more than physical exercises which condition the mind and body.

    Many researchers point to early traces of Yoga in the archaic Rig Veda which is dated prior to 2000 B.C. and possibly as old as 5000 B.C. Yoga was spoken of by Hindu's Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita written in 300 B.C. as the sure way to Hindu heaven. Hindus are free to accept various manifestations of the divine as their chosen deity for worship, and those who prefer Shiva are called Shaivas. The divinities in Hinduism are identified as the Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva as each representing one of the three primary aspects of the Divine in Hinduism, known collectively as the Trimurti. In the Trimurti system, Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the maintainer, and Shiva is the destroyer. All three forces together interact to create the phenomenal universe for the Hindu.

    The etymology of the word “Yoga” comes from the Sanskrit term that means "to join" or "to unite." This definition reflects the underlying philosophy of yoga. Hindus claim that God is a vital energy source from which all reality emanates. People can be connected to this universal life force and are archetypes of it. According to Hindu teaching, the troubled human condition is caused by a lack of awareness of this vital link between humans and the cosmic consciousness. Yoga is a tool that Hindus pursue to rectify the need for unification.

    Ahimsa is the first obligation of a yogi and his Ayurvedic diet. "Ahimsa" is a Sanskrit term meaning non-violence. It is an important part of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, first appearing within the Hindu scriptures called the Upanishads. Ahimsa is one of the central tenets of Hinduism, which is applied to all living beings who are believed to be of the same essential quality or “atman.” The main schools of Hinduism do not differentiate between the soul found in a human body and that of an animal. The vegetarian diet is prominent within Hinduism based on the belief that animals are sacred. Most yoga texts will mention food on one level or another, clearly stating that a yogi must eschew the eating of flesh foods. Many college age adults are now avid vegetarians directly due to the explosion of these Eastern philosophies promoted by their fellow students.

    Typical exercises, such as those found in Hatha yoga, are practiced under the scrutiny of a guru or yogi, a personal religious guide and spiritual teacher. Gurus guide students to combine a variety of breathing techniques and relaxation postures called “asanas.” In each of the postures, students must first enter the position, then maintain it for a certain length of time, and finally leave it. A guru might have students gaze at a single object, such as a candle, to develop and focus concentration. The guru might have them chant a mantra to clear their minds and become one with the object in front of them. The goal is to achieve increasingly higher meditative states until reaching oneness with the cosmic consciousness. This state of being is characterized by a blank stare in which the practitioner is receptive to hidden wisdom from the Universal Mind.

    The Seven Chakras

    Chakra 1: Muladhara Chakra - The Muladhara (root), is located at the base of the spine.
    Chakra 2: Svadhisthana Chakra - The Svadhisthana (sweetness), is located at the lower abdomen (between belly button and pelvic bone).
    Chakra 3: Manipura Chakra - The Manipura (lustrous gem), is located at the solar plexus (between belly button and bottom of rib cage).
    Chakra 4: Anahata Chakra - The Anahata (not struck), is located at the heart (center of the chest).
    Chakra 5: Vishuddha Chakra - The Vissudha (purification), is located at the throat.
    Chakra 6: Ajna Chakra - The Ajna (to perceive), is located between the eyebrows, just above the bridge of the nose.
    Chakra 7: Sahasrara Chakra - The Sahasrara (thousand petaled), is located at the crown (top) of the head.

    The concept presented in Yoga is that the body contains a network of channels for divine and cosmic energy. Where these channels cross, they create pulse points of psychic and spiritual energy in the body known as chakras. There are said to be 88,000 chakras and 72,000 subtle channels of chi energy or vital force called “nadis.” Nadis correspond to the meridians of traditional Chinese medicine which teach that chi energy connects people with their environment. By releasing obstruction in this flow of chi the conditions of illness are treated and diverted. Of the 14 chakras and 3 nerve wirings, which are running interwoven around the spinal cord, there are 7 main centers. Chakras are said to function as pumps or valves, regulating the flow of energy through our energy system.

    The main purpose of yoga is to provide its practitioners a way to experience their oneness with the universal power by alignment of the chakras. As people practice yoga, a higher level of connection with the infinite Oneness will occur. In Hindu philosophy, it is taught that the ultimate reality is consciousness or energy (God-Brahman). As one becomes elevated, his view of the world will be radically changed as becoming enlightened to Ultimate Reality. Mystics who practice yoga report feelings of euphoria, peace, and universal oneness, as well as a renewal of energy and a greater appreciation for the earth’s beauty. They assert that universal life forces have given them intuitive bursts of insight and creativity.

    Debra Lardie in her "Concise Dictionary of the Occult and New Age" outlines several types of yoga that exist. "Jnana yoga refers both to the path of discrimination and wisdom, whereas bhakti yoga refers to the path of love and devotion to a personal god. Kama yoga refers to the path of selfless action, whereas hatha yoga, which is popular in the West, stresses physical postures or positions. Japa yoga requires the repetition of mantras, or sacred sounds, to enable a person to concentrate without being interrupted by external distractions. Kriya yoga enables devotees to channel cosmic energy to their souls in order to establish a harmonious union of the mind, body, and spirit, releasing innate miraculous powers. Kundalini yoga, also called Tantra, emphasizes opening psychic energy centers called chakras supposedly located up and down the spinal column. This is thought to animate the Kundalini, a cosmic force coiled at the base of the spine."

    Kundalini (which is Sanskrit for “coiled up”) yoga is the worship of God as the Divine Mother. It focuses on the union of the male and female aspects of the individual, to awaken the coiled snake. Tantra's most important and unique characteristic is its use of sexual imagery to portray enlightenment. Its purpose is for the return to Oneness beyond duality of life. When Kundalini has been awakened, as a result of secret yogic techniques, she rises through the chakras of the psychic energy channel in the sushumn (the spine). The power slithers like a snake upward to connect with Shiva at the crown of the head. When god and goddess are said to unite in sexual embrace, enlightenment occurs, illusion vanishes, and there is only One. This rising Kundalini flow also causes one to go into an altered state of consciousness, as the heart chakra opens. This can be one of the most dangerous practices in yoga and is not to be underestimated in its ability to alter a person permanently.

    It is easy to dismiss yoga as mere breathing and relaxation exercises to develop, stretch, and strengthen the body's muscles, extend and align the spinal column, and enhance cardiovascular circulation. While yoga does first of all work on the muscular, glandular, and physical nervous systems, its real import, as author Alain Danielou who wrote "Yoga the Method of Reintegration" says, is as “a process of control of the gross body which aims at freeing the subtle body.” There is no yoga that is strictly aimed for the physical body; it is essentially spiritual because of its purpose. Asanas (the body postures) are one of the first methods of arousing the Kundalini. Yoga is used to escape from the deception of time and sense which is called Maya, an illusion. The goal is to reach Moksha, a Hindu Nirvanna. Yoga was developed foremost as an escape from endless reincarnations by working off their karma.

    The biggest argument for yoga is that the exercise alone is harmless. One can surmise that many people never seek the spiritual aspects of yoga, only enjoying the physical attributes. However, participation at any level is an open door which could lead to the spiritually occult aspects. Yoga originated from a school of thought in the Hindu religion, which suggests that postures can isolate the soul from the body and the mind. For example, few practitioners realize that while they assume certain yoga positions; they are adapting to worshipful poses to Hindu gods. Also, few realize the sequence of movements seek to communicate with the various Hindu gods. The positions and exercises of yoga is said to assist with unbinding the soul from Karma which said to keep us in the continual cycle of reincarnation.

    The physical positions of yoga and the associated disciplines are taught to open our sustaining life force to connect to the external energy of our planetary domain. The positions are designed to reach the state of Samadhi, or a state of union with self as God. Spiritually speaking, it is thought to open the inner god of self to have direct communion with the Universal god without. The problem with the pantheistic view that all outside energy is God is that all energy in our planetary domain is equally as unstable as our inner energy of self. When dabbling in the occult, the practitioner may receive more local malignant energy than any positive results. The spiritually seeking yogis can unwittingly open themselves to undesirable entities that seek to inhabit souls and the user may become spiritually oppressed.

    It has been said that every Yoga teacher is, in effect, a Hindu or Buddhist missionary, even though "he or she may wear a cross, insist that Jesus was a great Yogi, and protest that Yoga is not a religion, but science. This is the most blatant of lies. Yet it has been so widely proclaimed and believed that in America's public schools, beginning in kindergarten and in almost every other area of society today, Yoga and other forms of Hindu-Buddhist occultism are taught and accepted as science. In contrast, Christianity has been thrown out of the schools and is being crowded out of every other area of life in the 'broad-minded' move to replace faith in Christ with the New Age 'science'!" (Source: Peace, Prosperity, and the Coming Holocaust, p. 147.)

    Hans-Urich Rieker, in his book "The Yoga of Light," warns that misunderstanding the true nature of yoga can mean “death or insanity.” Also a little known fact is that virtually every major guru in India has issued warnings similar to these. Sir John Eccles, Nobel Prize Winner for his research on the brain, said the brain is “a machine that a ghost can operate.” In a normal state of consciousness one’s own spirit controls the neurons in their brain and operates their body. But in altered states attained by drugs, yoga, hypnosis, visualization, the connection between the spirit and the brain is loosened. That allows another spirit to interpose itself, to begin to control the neurons in the brain, and create an entire universe of illusion. This practice comes in many different forms, but could be quantified as sorcery.

    The monotheist God “Yahweh” is the only valid source for pure spiritual energy. God was very detailed regarding his position on any occult practices. The Israelites were told: “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire [an ancient occult practice], or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination [detestable] to the LORD…” Deuteronomy 18:9-12. Anything connected to an occult practice is deemed forbidden for our own good!

    In both Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8, Paul talked about the Christian's freedom and has asserted, in a couple of slightly different contexts, the freedom of the Christian to eat meat or not eat meat offered to idols. We can use this as a framework to answer questions about yoga exercise and conclude that, once you have ruled out explicit prohibitions towards occultism, the Christian has the freedom to choose their participation based on their own inner witness in good conscience. However, Paul exhorted us to be careful that our free choice is not at the expense of the weaker person’s conscience which would not be in the spirit of Christian love.
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  • #2
    I am not a Christian, but a New Ager, therefore our views are different. The majority of the stories of the different mythologies throughout the millenia are parables of internal phenomena and were never meant to be taken literally. Some of concepts from these tales are considerably more veiled than others. The Ark of the Covenant, the Tree of Life and Noah's Ark, for example, are all symbolic representations of the human body. Most of these stories revolve around aspects of the consciousness, ego, self-realization, etc.

    Jesus Christ, Krishna, Ormuz, Osiris, Fu Tsi, Zeus, Jupiter, Quetzalcoatl, Balder. These are all the SAME universal idea of self-realization. There is always a Hero, who (usually) transitions from Man (Ego) into God-Man (his true Self) by way of releasing the Fire of the Holy Spirit (Fire of Kundalini) up through the Seven Chakras (Churches) and through the crown of the head. This "fire" is the bioelectrical energy that is wrapped three and a half times around the coccyx at the base of our spine. When we vibrationally descended from the upper realms, a serpent was wrapped around our tailbone for our defiance of doing God's Will:

    "The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life." - Genesis 3:14

    When we release this force upwards, we reclaim our divine nature.

    "Just as Moses lifted up the snake (Kundalini) in the wilderness (animal nature), so the Son of Man must be lifted up (into Higher Consciousness)." - John 3:14

    The Parallels actually go across all religions. They represent the same cosmic truths being told across different cultures:

    Ego: Deceiver, Satan, Devil, Lucifer, etc.

    The ego is the cage that traps who we are, our "True Nature." It constantly needs to be entertained, supported, and reinforced. Therefore, the easiest way to defeat this is to do nothing (do not feed it).

    Kundalini: Serpent, Snake, Dragon, Cosmic/Feathered Serpent, Naga, Wadjet, etc.

    You can see this everywhere throughout religious writings, hieroglyphics, paintings, and other artwork going back to the Vedas and Mesopotamia. Buddha is also frequently seen with a seven-headed (chakra) cobra above his head. Mithra had a snake coiled upwards around his body. Vishnu and Krishna are frequently around snakes/serpents. The Caduceus of Hermes has two snakes coiling upwards through the Ida and Pingala (two nadis). The Staff of Osiris is actually a perfect representation of the serpent power going up through the two nadis and reaching the pine cone (Pineal Gland/Third Eye). The Uraeus that the Egyptian Kings wore is the stylized form of an Egyptian Cobra and symbolized royalty or divine authority. The snake goddess Wadjet is always shown coming out the crown of the mask. Baphomet also shows Kundalini around his lower abdomen.

    Number Seven (spiritual perfection): Chakras, Churches/Lamps, Heavens, Sages, Days, Stages/Degrees, Steps, Worlds, etc.

    These are the seven primary energy centers on every human's subtle body.

    (This is why the sacred number of nearly every major religion/mythology is seven. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Freemasonry, etc.).

    Mother Mary: Isis, Juno, Demeter, Ceres, Maia. The Cosmic Mother or Kundalini (Sexual Fire) of whom the Cosmic Christ is always born.

    Mary Magdalene: Salambo, Matres, lshtar, Astarte, Aphrodite,Venus. The lover, which we must practice Arcanum A.Z.F. (sexual magic) to awaken the Fire of Kundalini.

    Fire Of Kundalini: Fire of Holy Spirit, The Fire of Separation, etc.


    • #3
      Testimony of Deliverance from a Demon of Yoga
      Written by Corinna Craft

      I practiced and taught power yoga for ten years in secular gym venues: city recreation centers, the YMCA, Bally Total Fitness, and as an adjunct professor at a community college. As a former professional dancer, power yoga was the only system of movement I found complex and challenging and elegant enough to interest me. I considered it the perfect regiment because it included all components of a well-rounded exercise program: strength conditioning, cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility, balance, and coordination; plus it was graceful and dance- like. I felt consoled that I had found a worthy substitute for dance, just as therapeutic physically and just as cathartic psychologically. Yoga became my primary form of exercise, and I got a lot of relief from it.

      I knew that yoga was associated with eastern mysticism and especially Hinduism, and I was fairly familiar with Hindu theology. In fact, in my B.C. days when I was searching for God, one of the first books I read was Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, who was one of the first yoga masters to introduce yoga to the West. I read the Bhagavad Gita and meditated and chanted. Eventually, I became a member of a cult and had a guru. But after I received Jesus, I renounced all these associations, purged my library and got deliverance.

      As a Christian, I had more understanding than most and believed I could not be beguiled again. I practiced a “de-mystified,” westernized version of yoga based on exercise science. I scrupulously avoided all Hindu derived religious practices such as devotional music, chanting, meditation, guided visualization in Savasana (corpse pose), Namaste (bowing to others with prayer hands), and so on. The westernized version emphasized myology and kinesiology--the study of muscles and movement--and dove-tailed nicely with my work as a massage therapist. In my classes, I approached yoga as an exercise physiologist would and was very satisfied with the results. I felt grateful to use my gifts of movement and communication and teaching and thought I was empowering people to take charge of their health, all while doing something I loved. I even regarded yoga as an extension of Jesus’ healing ministry through me.

      Of course, I was aware that many Christians shun yoga as something demonic, but I felt confident that the style I was practicing and teaching was not only safe but wholesome. In my own private practice at home, I often played Christian worship music and worshipped the Lord on my mat. So how did I resolve the discrepancy in perspective between other sincere Christians and myself? I figured the discrepancy reflected different levels of faith: I had more faith. I was familiar with Hinduism as a false religion, had received some deliverance and obtained some measure of freedom, so I wasn’t intimidated by it. I felt strong in faith like the Apostle Paul, that I could “partake of meat offered to idols” with a clear conscience and not be contaminated, because I had a relationship with the one true God and knew in my heart that the Hindu deities Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva are nothing.

      Also, I balked at the idea that the devil could have any intellectual property right in certain body positions or movements. From a biomechanical standpoint, I knew that muscles can only be stretched or strengthened in certain positions. I thought God’s design of the human body was none of the devil’s business and that he could not restrict my freedom of movement. And because many yoga poses are similar or identical to positions in other legitimate, non-religious movement systems like dance, gymnastics and sports, I reasoned that the whole system was acceptable based on the acceptability of some of its parts. So I accepted entire sequences of poses like the sun and moon salutations and advanced poses like lotus and other poses unique to yoga due to the validity of basic poses that yoga shared in common with other forms of exercise.

      However, I became suspicious of yoga after an an [pastor and prayer minister] named Gary Hixson cast a demon of oriental medicine out of me with an unusual word of knowledge. He suggested that yoga was also demonic. Having been broadsided by the discovery that I had a demon of oriental medicine, I became open to the possibility that I might have a demon of yoga as well. Why? Because all eastern health practices and healing arts center on cultivating a mysterious life principle. Chinese call it Chi; Japanese call it Ki; Koreans, Thai and Vietnamese have their own names for it, and Indians call it prana. Prana is Sanskrit for “always moving” or “vital life”. Westerners translate this concept as vital energy, life force, or bio-electricity, and regard it as a purely physical phenomenon, similar to the property of electromagnetism in the body. But in eastern cultures, the concept is not just physical; it links air, breath and spirit together, much like the Greek word pneuma. Health practices and healing arts that cultivate life force or vital energy typically involve breath control and intentionality--the application of human will to achieve a supernatural result through natural methods, for example, healing the psyche through the body or healing the body through the body. The expectation of a supernatural result requires faith, and faith is an invitation for the spirit realm to get involved in the activity. Basically, vital energy or life force is a substitute for the Holy Spirit; it is another spirit. The kind of the spirit depends on the culture: Chinese practices like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Tai Chi are likely to conjure up a Taoist spirit while Indian practices like Ayurvedic medicine and yoga are likely to conjure up a Hindu spirit.

      Disturbed by the implications, I fasted and prayed to the Lord to show me whether yoga is also demonic, and He kindly gave me a nightmare. I found myself in a gym setting like the ones where I taught yoga. A woman was reclining on a yoga mat. She said to me, “I live here.” Next to her, a gargantuan bodybuilder was doing a military press. Then I found myself in my home office, where I had prepared class materials like yoga syllabi, choreography, and handouts. I lit something like incense or pot, and the smoke arose. Then I looked out the window into my backyard and gasped. There was a huge, inflatable, phosphorescent altar to Hindu deities and a banqueting table with a place set for me. I was gripped with fear and wanted it cleared from my property, but a giant festive dragon flew like a kite or windsock up to the window and rattled its face at me. I cursed it and pounded on the window, but it wouldn’t retreat until I yelled for Jesus.

      The nightmare exposed the presence of a strongman or demon of yoga, as depicted by the steroidal bodybuilder and the woman lying on a yoga mat who said, “I live here,” in other words, “I inhabit yoga and you.” My lighting a fire to burn incense or pot portrays yoga as an act of worship with a subtle, beclouding, mind-altering influence, like intoxicating smoke permeating an atmosphere. The altar and banqueting table to Hindu deities equates yoga with communion and fellowship with Hindu deities or demons. Behind the Hindu deities is the dragon, or Satan. But one thing puzzled me. Why was the demonic portrayed in a toy-like manner? Why was the Hindu altar and banqueting table inflatable and glow-in-the-dark? Why was the dragon a kite or wind sock? The Lord showed me I was playing with something dangerous and didn’t realize it: Yoga appeared as innocent to me as playthings to a child. At this point I offered to tear up my yoga instructor certifications, and the Lord approved, but something inside me hedged, no doubt the demon. I tore them up anyway.

      Then I set a full length mirror in front of me because I wanted to see the demon of yoga manifest before expelling it. I commanded it to present itself. It first manifested as a pleasurable surge of energy--a full body rush to my head. But then a fierce, ugly, snake-like expression settled on my face. The upsurge of energy and the snake face were in line with Hindu paintings of kundalini energy coiled like a cobra at the base of the spine and rising to the third eye or crown of the head of the aspiring yogi. The demon first insisted that it served Christ, but after I pressured it with God’s judgment, it admitted that it served Satan and that its nature was evil. Because I had wasted about ten years on this practice, I cross examined it by the power of the Holy Spirit. The main lie it tells believers in Christ is that yoga is purely physical and not at all spiritual--that it is strictly a health practice and exercise system with many benefits. By this deceit, it lures unwitting Christians into idolatry with promises of weight loss, physical fitness and stress reduction. The main lies it tells unbelievers is that they can have power and control over their lives, improve their sex life, and cultivate siddhis (supernatural powers in the Hindu system) like levitation, mental telepathy and telekinesis--byproducts of demonic activity.

      After I cast out the demon, I purged my office of thousands of dollars worth of yoga books, videos, DVDs, and workshop manuals. I trashed teaching materials that I had painstakingly perfected over the years, including college syllabi, choreographed yoga classes and plans for a yoga video series. For a year afterward I searched the scriptures, and the Lord gave me understanding of why yoga is demonic. I share some of it here.

      In its origin, design and intent, yoga is worship of Hindu deities. The word yoga means “to yoke” and by extension “union,” as when two oxen are joined together under the same harness to plough a field. It refers to the yoking or union of the individual with the divine, and specifically, to Hindu deities. In India, hatha yoga is the physical path to the divine; the devotee dedicates his body to god through ritualistic exercise and hygiene practices. The centerpiece of yoga is the sun salutation in which an invisible entity receives homage through a series of bowing, kneeling and prostration poses and is entreated through a series of supplicatory skyward reaching poses and prayer gestures. Aside from the salute, many yoga poses represent Hindu deities and/or are designed to direct or contain energy flow, like canals and locks that channel or dam water.

      Yoga is idolatry and incompatible with Christianity. Despite the practitioner’s best intention, yoga cannot be divorced from its original purpose and redirected to some other use such as mere exercise or communion with the God of Abraham. Why? Because God does not accept a revised version of idolatry as a neutral activity or satisfactory form of worship. Christians may justify yoga as a great workout or as worship of the SON, not the SUN, but the intent and good will of the practitioner are not enough to make the practice acceptable. Why? Because the giver can give a gift that is acceptable to him but not the recipient. The critical question is not, Are you offering worship to the God of Abraham when you practice yoga? but, Is yoga an acceptable form of worship to the God of Abraham? There’s a difference. The first perspective focuses on how the worshiper views the act of worship. The second focuses on how God views the act of worship. The worshiper may approve of something that God disapproves of; he may offer worship that pleases himself but not God. Admittedly, Christians ought to please God and not themselves. Offering God a form of worship that has already been consecrated to other gods is like giving God second-hand goods used by the devil; it’s like giving your fiancée a recycled wedding ring previously worn by an arch enemy. There’s no way to adequately describe the abhorrence God has for such offerings. They are abominable to Him.

      The Bible indicates that the God of Abraham is very prescriptive about what constitutes acceptable worship. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were expressly and repeatedly forbidden to offer sacrifices to God on pagan altars or to introduce pagan forms of worship in God’s temple. Pagan altars are those built to other gods. Yoga is essentially a pagan altar. Ez 8:16 specifically identifies sun worship as no trivial matter, but a turning of one’s back to God and anathema to God. In the New Testament, Christians are forbidden to partake of anything or participate in anything that has been offered to idols: Acts 15:20, 28-29 (Amplified version): “Abstain from and avoid anything that has been polluted by being offered to idols. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to lay upon you any greater burden than these indispensable requirements: That you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols.”

      The Amplified gives the clearest meaning and broadest scope of application. Other translations such as the NIV and NKJ render the passage as, “Abstain from food offered to idols,” which may seem antiquated and irrelevant to modern readers. But food can be understood in the figurative sense of what we live for, what gives us life and enlivens us, what inspires and motivates us, what enables and empowers us. Food can be anything that nourishes, sustains and supports a person--body, soul or spirit. Jesus used the word food figuratively when He said, “I have food to eat you know not of. My food is to do the will of Him who sent me,” (John 4:34) and when He identified Himself as true spiritual food: “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.” (John 6:54-55).

      Yoga may be food for the practitioner, but it is also food for demons: “Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What am I saying then? That an idol is anything or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, the things which the Gentiles [heathen, pagans] sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 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. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” (1 Corinthians 10:18-22)

      This passage indicates that Christian worship and other forms of worship are mutually exclusive. Why? Not because other gods are real gods that threaten the one true living God, but because other gods are demons that threaten the Christian and offend God’s love. In yoga, the mat is the altar, the practice is the sacrifice, and those who partake are the practitioner and Hindu demons. Put in starker terms, the mat is the altar, the practitioner is the sacrifice, and those who feed on the practitioner are Hindu demons. Yoga, at the very least, opens a Christian to demonic influence and at worst, demonization. Either way, demons will hinder the Christian’s full potential in God; there will be inexplicable or ill defined pressures, resistance to the abundant life, and frustration. I know from personal experience. I pray that others who have been misled as I was will be undeceived: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).


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