by Bill Nugent
Christian leaders are often asked about yoga. Are there any spiritual dangers in being involved in yoga?
Many people have been involved in yoga, and some have even taught yoga, before they came to Christ. Two very prominent former yoga teachers are Mike Shreve of Shreve Ministries and Mike Austin of Publish the Good News Ministries.
Mike Shreve published a booklet titled “Seven Reasons I No Longer Practice Yoga”. Mike has said that there’s no such thing as “Christian yoga.” He says it’s more than a physical exercise regimen. It’s a spiritual practice rooted in Hinduism. It’s also part of Buddhism and Jainism. Yoga means “yoke” in Sanskrit. In yoga, a person is yoked or joined to pagan gods. Yoga is an integral part of non-Christian religions.
Michael Austin has a very interesting testimony. He studied mind control and was in a cult for many years. He followed a “self-realized” guru. He was on drugs and had spiritual experiences. He said that he gave up drugs when he found yoga because he found yoga more intoxicating.
Austin has discussed an article in USA today that mentions that yoga is a fast growing practice in America and is as popular as golf. The article claimed that there were 25 million Americans practicing yoga in 2015, up from 17 million in 2008.
Asenas are Not Just Exercises
Austin has often warned about the various positions of yoga called “asenas.” These are positions that to the untrained eye might look like innocent stretching and bending exercises. However, he said that yoga practitioners are actually prostrating themselves before Hindu deities. One of the very common positions is actually a Hindu asena honoring the Hindu sun god.
Austin has said that he discovered, in the Bible, references to paganism that could be implied references to yoga or yoga-like practices. He quoted Old Testament references to Baal worship. Baal was the sun god and Asherah was his consort. They worshiped on the high places. High places are places in Israel where they first see the rising sun and last see the setting sun. “Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places” (II Kings 17:29).
Austin says that he gets calls from people who attended yoga classes and experienced strange things that could be called demonic experiences. This is not a surprise when you consider that yoga is a part of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism which are pagan faiths. It is certainly extremely foolish to yoke yourself with demonic Hindu gods! According to Hinduism, the supreme deity is an impersonal god that is infused throughout all of creation and manifests itself in about 330 million gods and goddesses.
Hinduism is Pantheism
Hinduism teaches that each person is a god or seeking to realize that he/she is a god. You may have seen Hindu people greet one another. A common greeting or position of the hands is actually a mild form of worship of the person that the Hindu is greeting.
Hinduism is monism which believes that god is infused throughout all creation, even in people and animals. Hindus worship animals, including “sacred cows” because of monism (also called pantheism). Biblical Judeo-Christianity is dualism which means that God is separate from His creation and is transcendent or above His creation and must be worshiped as being above creation.
Yoga was strongly promoted in the United States beginning in the 1960s. It was first called science but that argument fell apart pretty quickly. Then it was called exercise. Lately they’ve tried to call it therapy. Yoga classes are not only expensive but they’re also extremely dangerous and an introduction to paganism and pantheism. If you want a good exercise and stretching regimen, I’ve heard that Pilates is a good choice.
Many Hindus and Yoga Practitioners are Turning to Christ
Mike Shreve’s website, thetruelight.net has a page with photographs and testimonies of many people who have come to Christ and abandoned their former involvement in Eastern religions, yoga and New Age religious practices. God is graciously delivering people out of demonic belief systems.
Many people are taking a new look at Christianity and see that the Christian faith is backed by many fulfilled prophecies and astounding miracles. D James Kennedy has discussed, in his writings and sermons, over 300 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Christ. Josh McDowell, in his book “A Ready Defense” has also written about many of the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. This, coupled with the many miracles that have occurred down through history in Christian settings and the many miracles of healing that occur today in answer to Christian prayer, have served to buttress the Christian faith and prove that it is the one true religion sent from God.
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah, in the 53rd chapter of his book, predicted in detail that the Messiah (Christ) would come and take upon Himself the penalty of our sins. Christ’s death for our sins is called substitutionary atonement. “The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6 circa 725 BC). Christ rose from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who believe in Him, repent of sins and ask for forgiveness of sins. I invite you to turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins.
Steps to salvation:
Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).
Prayer to receive salvation:
“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:
“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!