LTRP Note: The following article is posted for research and informational purposes and not as an endorsement in any way for Yoga or Yoga positions. However, this is important information for Christians to know as the practice of Yoga has not only significantly increased overall in America, but it has increased within the mainstream Christian church as well. Even many once-discerning Christians now think Yoga is OK. As the article below explains, the increase in number of Yoga practitioners in America since 2012 is staggering. At this rate, in just a few years from now, there could be over 55 million people in America practicing Yoga! Couple that with all the other forms of meditation that Americans are practicing, and we surely are living in a “namaste nation.”
“2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance Reveals Growth and Benefits of the Practice”
BOULDER, Colo., Jan. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The newly released 2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance shows that the number of US yoga practitioners has increased to more than 36 million, up from 20.4 million in 2012, while annual practitioner spending on yoga classes, clothing, equipment, and accessories rose to $16 billion, up from $10 billion over the past four years.
The results indicate that women represent 72 percent of US practitioners, with men and older Americans doing Downward Dog at a growing rate. Thirty-four percent of Americans, or 80 million people, say they are likely to try yoga for the first time in the next 12 months.
“The data tells a compelling story,” says Carin Gorrell, editor in chief of Yoga Journal. “More people than ever across all age groups are realizing the benefits of yoga, from stress relief to flexibility to overall well-being. Yoga is a thriving, growing industry.” Click here to continue reading.
Caryl Matrisciana discusses Yoga positions (Are they OK?)
To experience the stilling or emptying of the mind, Yoga practitioners must first master the physical postures and movements of Yoga meditation. The physical exercises, themselves a religious Hindu ritual, are designed to bring a person into contact with spiritual beings. Speaking of her Yoga sessions, Cindy Senarighi said she noticed she was “in the presence of God in a way that I had never been before. The more I practiced, the more I experienced God’s presence.”1
Yoga positions facilitate altered states of mind so that one may experience a mystical presence. But does Yoga facilitate God’s presence? Can the use of a mantra or Yoga meditation really bring Christ into our lives? George Alexander, author of Yoga, the Truth Behind the Posture, answers this important question:
You cannot force Jesus to come into your life. But [a] mantra is something that . . . force[s] a spirit to come into your life. [The] Bible very clearly teaches you cannot force the Spirit of God to come into your life by repeating His name.2
The Bible teaches that the presence of God cannot be manipulated by man’s desire for His presence. One is granted access to the biblical God only through Jesus Christ His Son, who declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
The born-again Christian has a personal connection with God because of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Jesus has promised to abide with us as we abide in Him through His grace and the power of His Spirit. There are no body movements or special positions necessary to bring one into communion with God’s Spirit. The only connection to God has been made by Jesus Christ Himself.
Demons, however, easily make contact with individuals using visualization, imaging techniques, mantras, and so forth. They are able to manipulate people’s minds, to make themselves appear as benevolent or superior beings or even as Jesus Christ Himself. Through Eastern meditation techniques, many mistake evil spirits appearing as Jesus for the actual Jesus Christ. The real Jesus is the only way to God the Father—no one else can also be a way to God—not Mary, not an angel, not a spirit claiming to be Jesus, not any other being.
God is not deceived by appearances. Putting Christian labels on conjuring techniques does not change His mind about them. Whatever conjures up a spirit is always an offense to Him and sin for us. Whether ignorantly conjuring up a spirit by the Kundalini energy released by Yoga exercises, or deliberately conjuring up spirit guides through meditation, the silence, contemplative prayer, it is all part of enchantment or divination: “discovering things secret by the aid of superior beings, or other than human means.”3 God clearly forbids this kind of activity:
Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times. . . . Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:26, 31)
Interestingly, George Alexander says that the serpent “is a very prominent deity” in Hinduism. He explains the significance:
If you look in the picture of Lord Shiva in Hinduism, you see a snake wrapped around his neck. They believe that the serpent power is in every person and the serpent power is sleeping in you. By practicing Yoga, it awakens that Kundalini power in you. . . . [W]hen the Kundalini power is awakened, that goes up to the brain and awakens the psychic power.4
This is why the positions in Yoga are so important; they are based on serpents’ movements to facilitate the flow of the Kundalini serpent energy. Western Yoga practitioners think this energy is a neutral force. It is not. Yoga exercises do not release the energy from within a person’s own spine. The sensations of Kundalini energy and an altered state of consciousness are produced by a demonic presence.
Most cultures view the serpent positively and worship it for its wisdom. Only the Bible describes the serpent as man’s enemy, a usurper who wishes to take the Creator God’s rightful place in the mind of mankind. In Hinduism, the serpent (Kundalini) is believed to be awakened through Yoga meditation, granting the practitioner an awareness of God, a stillness, a god-consciousness.
The Bible records that Satan, in the serpent, cunningly beguiled Eve and seduced her mind, corrupting her from a sincere, whole-hearted and pure devotion to God. He deceived her into believing a lie: that she, through her mind, could be like God. Ironically, Yoga, through arousal of snake power, the mind-altering experience of the Kundalini spirit in the body, continues to deceive all its practitioners with the same lie (excerpt from Out of India)
To understand the true spirituality behind Yoga, read Chris Lawson’s booklet tract, Yoga and Christianity: Are They Compatible? and Caryl Matrisciana’s book, Out of India.
1. Yoga Uncoiled: from East to West (Menifee, CA: Caryl Productions, 2007) quoting George Alexander, quoting Cindy Senarighi.
2. Ibid., quoting George Alexander.
3. Smith’s Bible Dictionary, http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/D/Divination.
4. Yoga Uncoiled: from east to west, op. cit., quoting George Alexander.