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Why a Christian ALTERNATIVE to Yoga?

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BREAKING NEWS:

Whatever happened to Separation of Ashram and State?

$500,000 from Guruji Jois’ Ashtanga Foundation speaks.

Christian yoga - not quite - plain old yoga.


“Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009)”
Notice Ganesha, the Hindu Elephant god in foreground.

“Guruji” Jois at right.

I am honored to be able to share with you an eyewitness account of the ruling that went forth today in the case against yoga in the Encinitas Union School District in San Diego County, CA. For understandable reasons, this person prefers to remain anonymous.

To read the background on this case, please see my posts: Parents May Sue over Yoga in Schools and CA School District Sued over Yoga

Encinitas Judge Ruled in Favor of Yoga over Suit brought by Parents

Just think–when Johnny and Susie grow up and are invited to the Ashtanga yoga class, or see the book on Kundalini yoga, they will associate it with the harmless little yoga classes they took as their PE classes in school.

Be aware that the yoga agenda is to be in EVERY public school in America – not just these nine (and it already is in many schools from rural West Virginia to metropolitan New York City to well, Encinitas).

Efforts to separate yoga from its spiritual center reveal ignorance of the goal of yoga. (Professor Subhas Tuwari, Hindu University of America, HinduismToday.com – 9/1-3/09)

“Criss-Cross Applesauce”

Do you detect a note of sarcasm and belittlement in the following opening words to Sophia Rosenbaum’s article from today’s NBC News?

“A San Diego judge ruled Monday that yoga poses like downward dog and ‘criss-cross applesauce’ are not religious, allowing a yoga program to continue in a Southern California school district.”

She goes on to share: “Yoga instructor Jennifer Nicole Brown, who demonstrated some of the yoga positions in court, said when parents complained about their children chanting, she removed it from the lesson.”

Isn’t that good that, for now anyway, chanting is not a part of the Physical Education class?

An Anonymous Eyewitness Account of the Trial

I have honored this eyewitness’ desire to remain anonymous. This person has followed the trial since its beginning. (READ REST OF BLOG POST AND EYEWITNESS COMMENTS HERE).

Yoga Defined & Personal Experiences

Why a Christian ALTERNATIVE to Yoga?

(Download a PDF version of this article) Read Spanish translation.

by Laurette Willis, Founder of PraiseMoves Fitness Ministry

As a child growing up on Long Island, I was quick to entertain, singing “Hello Dolly!” I was also quick to follow my mother into the practice of yoga. We both thought it was “only exercise.”

Yoga–and now there’s even so-called “Christian yoga.” It’s everywhere. In ads for everything from IT to ice cream, meditative supermodels sit cross-legged in the Hindu Lotus position, contemplating “nirvana.”

There are yoga videos for pregnant mothers, senior citizens, toddlers and babies – even yoga for you and your dog! You can work out with yoga straps, blocks, bolsters and balls. The well-dressed yoga practitioner can wear her loose-fitting yoga togs, carry her yoga mat in her matching yoga tote and dress her daughter in Sesame Street yoga pants (featuring Elmo!).

Since yoga is everywhere, it must be okay. Or is it?

Those who think yoga is little more than a series of stress-relieving stretching exercises may be surprised to learn about true foundation of the multi-billion dollar yoga craze in North America.

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, yoga (coming from an east Indian Sanskrit word which means “union with god” or “to yoke”) is

a mystic and ascetic Hindu discipline for achieving union with the supreme spirit through meditation, prescribed postures, controlled breathing, etc.

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines yoga this way: “Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation.

Yoga in the Mainstream

Over the last several decades yoga has been embraced by the mainstream of society – and even the church.

We find yoga classes offered at YWCAs, church fellowship halls, and even elementary schools. There are an estimated 15-20 million people practicing yoga in the U.S., and estimates of 50,000 to 100,000 yoga instructors offering classes at 20,000+ locations.

As a child growing up on Long Island, I became involved with yoga at the age of seven when my mother and I began watching a daily yoga exercise program on television.

For the next 22 years I was heavily involved with yoga, metaphysics and the New Age movement until I came to the end of myself and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I call yoga “the missionary arm of Hinduism and the New Age movement.”

We don’t often think of other religions having missionaries, but the philosophy and practice of yoga have been primary tools of Hindu “missionaries” to America since “Indian priest and mystic” Swami Vivekananda introduced yoga to the West at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

Swami Vivekananda Swami Vivekananda “Indian priest and mystic” who first introduced yoga to the West at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Called “Hinduism’s greatest modern missionary” by Swami Palani in Hinduism Today.

Interestingly, Swami Vivekananda is attributed with the idea of combining the theory of “evolution of the soul” with his teachings of Hinduism. Instead of working out one’s “karma” by becoming a grasshopper, ant or human in progressive lives, he taught an “evolution of the soul” whereby the individual continues in an evolutionary process to “manifest the god within.”

Apparently he understood that Americans wouldn’t buy into the traditional Hindu belief in reincarnation. Not many westerners could imagine they would ever come back as a lower form of life. A higher form of life perhaps, but certainly not a lower one. Have you noticed how many people – even Christians – believe in reincarnation? One can just keep coming back until they get it right.

Sadly, this false teaching leads people away from the necessity for a Savior. And if we progressively get better with each life, why aren’t we all living in Blissville now?

Some consider this Hindu belief a theory to be embraced. Interestingly, definitions of “theory” in Webster’s include, “a speculative plan, conjecture or guess.” Do you remember when evolution used to be called the “theory of evolution?” It’s seldom called a “theory” any longer outside of Christian circles.

Promote a theory long enough and it becomes the truth? “Not hardly,” as my country cousins would say. But I digress…

Another Hindu missionary welcomed into elite circles was Paramhansa Yogananda who started the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles.

Yogananda cleverly chose to demonstrate that yoga was completely compatible with Christianity. Wearing a cross, he came to America in the 1920s with the Hindu religious text, the Bhagavad Gita, in one hand and the Bible in the other.

He reasoned that yoga was the binding force that could connect all religions.

Personal Experience

From experience I can say that yoga is a dangerous practice for the Christian and leads seekers away from God rather than to Him. You may say, “Well, I’m not doing any of the meditation stuff. I’m just following the exercises.”

It is impossible, however, to separate the subtleties of yoga the technique from yoga the religion.

I know because I taught and practiced hatha yoga for years. Hatha yoga is the most popular yoga style available on store-bought videos and in most gyms. For an eye-opening account of the background and meaning of “hatha yoga,” please see my notes at the bottom of this page.

Perhaps you have sensed uneasiness while doing yoga (what some call a “check in your spirit”), but you ignored that quiet nudge. I urge you to pay attention to it. Jesus Himself said, “…the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice” (John 10:4).

The yoga mudra (hand gesture or “gateway”) for Namaste (“I bow to the divine in you”), is a Hindu gesture that pre-dates Christianity. The Bible speaks of praying with uplifted hands or “hands spread up toward heaven” (1 Kings 8: 22 and 54; 1 Chronicles 6:13) “Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” Psalm 145:1

Your yoga teacher may bow to her class saying, “Namaste” (“I bow to the divine in you.”).

Poses have names such as Savasana (the Corpse Pose) and Bhujangasana (the Cobra or Snake Pose).

References are made to chakras or “power centers” in the body, such as the “third eye.”

The relaxation and visualization session at the end of yoga classes is skillfully designed to “empty the mind” and can open one up to harmful spiritual influences.

As Christians, you are instructed to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2), not the emptying of your mind.

Many believe that transformation process occurs as we meditate and feed on the Word of God – renewing our minds by filling them with God’s thoughts, not emptying them or filling them with the prideful thoughts of man.

For an enlightening article and brief video on what the Bible says meditation REALLY is — and the dangers inherent within “creative visualization,” “contemplative prayer” and even what some are calling “Christian meditation” — please see: http://praisemoves.com/2010/10/christian-meditation-what-is-it/

The Dangers of Yoga

(and what about Tai Chi?)

It seems the enemy has a counterfeit for almost everything the Lord offers.

(NOTE: When I use the phrase “the enemy” I am not referring to a person or group of people. Rather, “the enemy” refers to satan, the devil, the enemy of your soul. We love people. We hate sin and the author of it; the one Jesus calls “the thief” in John 10:10 and “a murderer” and “the father of lies” in John 8:44.)

While mind-numbing tranquility may feel good for a time, it’s a poor substitute for the “peace which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) and “the joy of the Lord (which) is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Yoga’s breathing techniques (pranayama) may seem stress-relieving, yet they can be an open door to the psychic realm – inhaling and exhaling certain “energies” for the purpose of relaxation and cleansing.

What is Pranayama?

According to one yoga website: “Pranayama forms a vital step in the path to ascendancy (i.e. liberation, freedom or salvation) through Yoga.

Pranayama is derived from 2 Sanskrit words – Prana (life force) and Ayama (control). Therefore, in its broadest description, Pranayama would mean the control of the flow of life force.”

In other words, pranayama involves manipulation of so-called life-force energy, and is part of the twisted “plan of salvation” through yoga.

In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he refers to the enemy of our soul as “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). “Air” in this instance does not mean the oxygen we breathe. Rather, Paul is referring to what some call the “second heaven” or “psychic arena.”

The first heaven is the atmosphere we can see (planets, sun, moon and stars). The third heaven is where God dwells (2 Cor. 12:2). Hence, the “second heaven” is that realm in-between, an atmosphere wherein angelic and demonic forces dwell (Daniel 10:10-13).

Dabbling in this arena as if it were a playground is certainly not what we as believers are called to do. It can be quite dangerous manipulating “life force energy.” Those who do so are moving into the realm of psychism, magic, and witchcraft—where the “god of this world” as Paul called him has “blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:4).

[Be sure to read "The True Meaning of Yoga" at the end of this article by Yogacharya Vishwas Mandlik, Vice Chancellor of Yoga at Vidya Gurukul (Yoga University). He outlines the true meaning and purpose of Hatha Yoga, the form of yoga taught in most gyms, fitness centers and even churches.]

What About Tai Chi?

Whenever you see the words prana (Hinduism), chi (Chinese, Tai Chi), ki (Japanese, martial arts), or mana (Hawaiian Huna religion), they are all referring to the same thing.

Like yoga, Tai Chi and traditional martial arts involve similar manipulation of life force energy, thus opening the door to deceptive spiritual influences. One sees falsehood even in the symbolism of Tai Chi and yin-yang.

In it’s simplest sense, yin-yang illustrates the belief that “there’s a little good in evil and a little evil in good.”

This is false and leads to confusion (andGod is not the author of confusion but of peace” – 1 Corinthians 14:33). “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (James 1:17). “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 118:1).

PraiseMoves Scripture Sequences, where we flow from one PraiseMoves posture to another as we recite verses of Scripture, may be considered “The Christian Alternative to Tai Chi!”

Chanting and Out-of-Body Travel

Both chanting and the customary relaxation period at the end of a yoga session also have an agenda that may surprise the weekend yogi. Before becoming a Christian, I remember numerous instances of “traveling outside my body” during yoga relaxation periods. I wonder who – or what – checked in when I checked out? Whether you believe such phenomena can happen or not, some medical professionals claim such experiences have led to psychosis.

(Note: While Christians cannot be “possessed” since the Holy Spirit resides in your re-created human spirit, one may be “oppressed” by demonic influences.)

Nine out of Ten Hindus agree: “Yoga is Hinduism”

Again and again we hear or read, “Yoga is just exercise,” or “Yoga is a science. It is not religion.” But what do Hindus and true yogis say? TIME magazinefeatured a quote from Subhas Tiwari, a professor of yoga philosophy and meditation at the Hindu University of America in Orlando, Fla.:

Yoga is Hinduism,” said Professor Tiwari of the Hindu University of America.  You may read the full article from the Sept. 5, 2005 issue at: “Stretching for Jesus” – TIME Magazine.

From the article in TIME: “‘Christian yoga is an oxymoron,’ agrees Laurette Willis of Tahlequah, Okla. She says yoga led her to dabble in a rootless New Age lifestyle until she became a Christian in 1987. Willis now speaks to Christian groups against yoga, offering instead a series of poses called PraiseMoves.”

The same TIME magazine article describes the viewpoint of Pope Benedict XVI when he was Cardinal Ratzinger: “Catholics face a more formidable skeptic. In 1989 the Vatican issued a document saying the practice of Eastern traditions like yoga ‘can degenerate into a cult of the body,’ warning Catholics against mistaking yoga’s ‘pleasing sensations’ for ‘spiritual well-being.’ It was signed by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger–later Pope Benedict XVI.

In a 2003 document the Vatican further distances itself from New Age practices, including yoga.”

Quoted in Hinduism Today At left, Professor Subhas Tiwari of Hindu University of America. “The simple, immutable fact is that yoga originated from the Vedic or Hindu culture. Its techniques were not adopted by Hinduism, but originated from it… The effort to separate yoga from Hinduism must be challenged because it runs counter to the fundamental principles upon which yoga itself is premised

Efforts to separate yoga from its spiritual center reveal ignorance of the goal of yoga.(HinduismToday.com – 9/1-3/09).

A staff member of an east coast Classical Yoga Academy wrote to me, “Yes, all of yoga is Hinduism. Everyone should be aware of this fact.” This staff member went on to say she didn’t appreciate my “running down of the great Hindu/Yogic religion.”

Power Mass and Gentle Genuflecting?

Swami Param agrees that Yoga IS Hinduism and cannot be separated from its religious elements.

In an article in the Coast News (March 2013) he writes: “The ‘Soul’ purpose of the asanas (yoga poses) is to create a healthy body, calm mind and emotions in order to enter the spirit realms.

“It is for this Soul purpose that, of all the Hindu/Yogas, Hatha Yoga was supposed to be kept, relatively, secret. Sages realized that the immature would emphasize the body, thus, completely distorting the spiritual intent. Feeling good at the expense of others is not an ethical choice.

Imagine treating Baptism and Communion as an Underwater Therapy and Wine Tasting business!” says Swami Param. “Envision a Fitness Rabbi, Diet Pope and Gaming Imam! Picture Hot Baptism (at your local gym), Power Mass and Gentle Genuflecting! How about a 200 hour Certified Communion Teacher greeting students with Hallelujah and denying any Christian connection? How about marketing Baptism pants to display one’s physical accomplishments!

“As ridiculous as this seems, this is exactly how callous, absurd and insulting is the NAY (New Age Yoga) crusade.” Swami Param is president of the Classical Yoga Hindu Academy in Barnegat, N.J.

“The Lord of Yoga”?

Yoga is “just exercise,” right?

Guess who is “The Lord of Yoga”?

This Hindu idol (god/demon) is only 1 of the 330 million Hindu gods. Yoga postures are offerings to these gods.

This “Lord of Yoga” is also known as “Shiva, The Destroyer” and “The god of Death.”

Who is Shiva?

While Hinduism recognizes 330 million gods, the trinity of chief Hindu gods includes Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (destroyer).

According to Websters, Shiva is the Hindu god of destruction and rebirth. Shiva is Lord of Yoga (Yogeshwara) – according to Bhagavad-Gita And the first Hatha Yoga teacher – according to Hatha Yoga Pradipika The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (HYP) is a classic text for Hatha yoga (the type of yoga taught in fitness centers and many churches).

According to this text, “The (real) Yogi becomes the creator and destroyer of the universe, like God.” Ch. 4.76, HYP Yoga is motivated by a spirit that inspires self-deification — with a promise of reincarnation. That sounds familiar!!!

And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).

“But They Do Yoga in My Church.”

shivaYoga means “yoke” in Sanskrit.

It’s a different yoke from the one Jesus talks about when He said “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

Why would churches of the Lord Jesus Christ have a practice yoked to Shiva the Destroyer, the Lord of Yoga?

Would you agree that the root of something can affect its fruit?

Jesus said, speaking of satan, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

In Ephesians 6:12, the Holy Spirit wrote through Paul:

“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Perhaps you can see the potential spiritual influence of yoga in the Church.

“Christian yoga” is an Oxymoron (no such thing)

People ask me, “Christian Yoga is okay, right?” Well, you tell me.

Listen to the description of this book about “Christian Yoga Metaphysics” and tell me if you can spot anything Christian about it: Christian yoga = no such thing!The Life and the Way: The Christian Yoga Metaphysics – by A.K. Mozumdar

“A. K. Mozumdar was the founder of the Christian Yoga Society and this book outlines much of its spiritual philosophy. East and West are brought together to allow those from both spiritual backgrounds to enhance their growth and to possibly experience an all-pervading Oneness in the universe. This is an important spiritual work that is capable of transforming an individual. From reading it, one may discover a unique path to follow and achieve spiritual peace of mind.”

Uh-huh.

This “Father of Christian Yoga” lived from 1864-1953. Here’s an interesting quote from Mozumdar who obviously denies that Jesus came to earth in the flesh, as a man (a basic tenet of Christianity):

Christian yoga founder is Hindu!“If man thinks and acts, is not the thinker and actor God? If God is all life, then all lives are God. The creative power is the very nature of the being of the Creator; hence the creative power is God. Life is the Creator, and will never be reduced to the level of its own creation. This knowledge sets a man free.”

No, A.K., knowledge of the truth that Jesus is the only Way, the Truth and the Life sets one free. I for one am SO grateful that Jesus, the King of Glory, lowered Himself and came to earth as a man, His own creation, that He could be the perfect sacrifice for mankind.

BUT WAIT A MINUTE!!!

Proponents of today’s “Christian yoga” are not followers of A.K. Mozumdar!

Most likely that’s true. However, consider the intent of Mozumdar calling his book, magazine and practice “Christian yoga.” He was named the “Father of Christian Yoga,” and the Founder of the “Christian Yoga Society.” And he was Hindu!

Why did famous yogi Paramhansa Yogananda come to the U.S. in the 1920s wearing a cross and saying that yoga was completely compatible with the Christian faith? How many gullible people were drawn away from Christ as a result and into Yogananda’s SELF-Realization Fellowship?

Take a look at the “Aims and Ideals” of the Self-Realization Fellowship:

  • To disseminate among the nations a knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God.
  • To teach that the purpose of life is the evolution, through self-effort, of man’s limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness…
  • To reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna…

A Possessed Evangelist?

Why did the apostle Paul finally tire of the bewitched woman who was proclaiming what many would say was the truth about them?

“Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, ‘These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.’ 18 And this she did for many days.

“But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities”(Acts 16:16-19).

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, would YOU want a devout Hindu, or a New Ager, or secular humanist, or a person possessed by a spirit of divination to teach and proclaim the Gospel to YOUR children?

God is NOT the Author of Confusion

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Question: If God is not the author of confusion, who is?

Answer: The enemy of your soul, satan.

“Christian Yoga” versus PraiseMoves

Listen to a debate Moody Radio in Chicago asked me to do.

A so-called “Christian yogi” and I shared our viewpoints on “Up for Debate.”

You can hear the debate and read two astounding testimonies from women who listened to the program HERE.

Even more deception with so-called “Christian Yoga.”

There are those who seek to validate their teaching yoga to Christians by placing words such as “Holy,” “Scripture,” “Atoning,” even the redemptive name of our God (Yahweh) before the word yoga.

Do not be deceived. Remember, so-called “Christian yoga” IS yoga.

I’m reminded of these words from Timothy:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:1-7).

I was one of those gullible women! I was “always learning,” but I was never able to come to a knowledge of the truth–until I came to the end of myself and surrendered to the One whose name IS Truth.

What does that mean? You can find out more here: A Very Special Invitation

Christian Counselor ties Yoga with “Chaos & Confusion”

“I’ve noticed a consistent pattern in my clients who are Christians and are involved in yoga, whether it is ‘regular yoga’ or ‘christian yoga’…their lives are marked with chaos and confusion.”

- Celeste Davis, The Wellness Workshop (www.TheWellnessWorkshop.org)

And the Source of My Comfort is…

Whenever we habitually go to anything for comfort apart from God, strongholds of addiction follow.

For example, when we use ‘comfort food’ instead of going to the Comforter — or we go to alcohol, illicit relationships, drugs, smoking, pornography, and yes, even yoga for comfort — to change our emotional state in some way, addiction follows.

Having experienced much of that myself, I think it is because these things can only offer a temporary fix, a tattered band-aid.

Only the peace of God in the Person of Jesus Christ is everlasting, eternal and has the ability to comfort and change us from the inside-out. Glory to God!

“ChrIslam” is to Islam what “Christian yoga” is to…
ChrIslam is supposedly Christianity mixed with the Moslem faith. Most Christians would agree that Christianity and Islam cannot be mixed. So, why are some so ready to believe one can mix Christianity with Hinduism?

ChrIslam = Islam, just as “Christian yoga” = yoga. Christianity is a relationship, not a religion (although many have made a religion out of it). Relationship is God-made. Religion is man-made. Note: I’ve been told the church sign photo at right is a fabrication. However, you can Google “Chrislam” and see where it is an emerging trend among those who seek to discredit the truth of God’s Word.

Read full article:  “Meet the Founder of so-called ‘Christian Yoga’” HERE

Yoga postures are offerings to Hindu gods?

Did you know that yoga poses are offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods?

Can you see a twisting of Romans 12:1 here (“present your bodies a living sacrifice”)?

George P. Alexander, Ph.D., who taught World Religions at Biola University, is a friend of our family.

Born in Sri Lanka, George grew up in India, the birthplace of Hinduism and yoga. He told us that yoga poses are actually offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods.

“Many Westerners who practice yoga today are unaware that the physical positions assumed in yoga symbolize a spiritual act: worshiping one of the many Hindu gods,” Dr. Alexander said.

“To a Hindu, yoga is the outward physical expression of a deep spiritual belief. You cannot separate one from the other.”

Since yoga is tied so strongly to Hinduism, can there be such a thing as “Christian yoga,” or would that be an oxymoron (a contradiction in terms)?

Many practicing Hindus as well as Christians agree that since yoga IS Hinduism, the two cannot be combined.

One of our PraiseMoves Instructors spent three months on a missionary trip to India several years ago. She said her group often saw people performing yoga poses in front of statues of the gods in the streets! Some brought offerings of flowers, some fruit, some themselves…

Acts 15:29 tells us to “abstain from things offered to idols.”

Where Yoga Leads (according to Hindus)

In an article dated May 14, 2006, Darryl E. Owens of the Orlando Sentinel quoted Sannyasin Arumugaswami, managing editor of Hinduism Today.

Arumugaswami said Hinduism is the soul of Yoga “based as it is on Hindu Scripture and developed by Hindu sages. Yoga opens up new and more refined states of mind, and to understand them one needs to believe in and understand the Hindu way of looking at God. … A Christian trying to adapt these practices will likely disrupt their own Christian beliefs.”

In an article entitled “An Open Letter to Evangelicals” from the January 1991 issue of Hinduism Today, Swami Sivasiva Palani writes:

“A small army of yoga missionaries – hatha, raja, siddha and kundalini – beautifully trained in the last 10 years, is about to set upon the western world. They may not call themselves Hindu, but Hindus know where yoga came from and where it goes.”

Swami Palani goes on to write:

“We hope this proves useful to you. I close with a quote from Swami Vivekananda, Hinduism’s greatest modern missionary, spoken in January of 1895, ‘What I now want is a band of fiery missionaries.’ It’s a hundred years late. But it appears he’s going to get his wish.”

In the West, the term “yogi” is used to refer to anyone who practices yoga. However, in the Bhagavad-Gita, the god Krishna says that the true yogi is one who has surrendered himself “fully unto me.”

Besides these historical evidences, I can clearly state from my own experiences and those of many I knew while in the New Age movement, yoga class was the door that led us into the New Age Movement.

New Age is a combination of a number of religions and has as its foundation pantheism (the doctrine that all forces, manifestations, etc. of the universe are God; also, the worship of all gods) and astrology (the belief that the positions of the sun, moon, stars and planets guide or affect human affairs, and can foretell the future).

According to Swami Vishnudevananda, one of yoga’s most influential leaders, hatha yoga “prescribes physical methods to begin … so that the student can manipulate the mind more easily as he advances, attaining communication with one’s higher self.”

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi taught that through meditation, not salvation through Jesus Christ, “a sinner comes out of the field of sin and becomes a virtuous man.” This is an example of the erroneous philosophy of “salvation by works.”

It seems the student is being manipulated as well. Yoga’s “least religious” form, hatha yoga, influences one’s spiritual life as unmistakably as any one of the dozens of other yoga techniques.

Hatha yoga is actually seen as the stepping stone to raja yoga (the form said to involve “psycho-physical meditation techniques to attain an experience of the truth and ultimate liberation from the cycles of death and rebirth, or moksha”).

Yoga claims physical and mental disciplines bring about union with God. According to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (once associated with the Beatles), meditation “brings us more ability for achieving something through right means, and very easily a sinner comes out of the field of sin and becomes a virtuous man.” Sounds like salvation by works (instead of by grace) doesn’t it?

The Bible tells us: “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in His gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins… We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing His life for us” Romans 3:23-25 NLT.

“You make me SICK!” Well, thank you.

While most of the emails I receive are positive, there are a few which disagree with my viewpoints about yoga – some strongly (I was even credited with the remarkable ability of making someone “sick” once or twice!).

You may study or teach yoga (or so-called “Christian yoga”) and believe it is completely compatible with your Christian faith. Perhaps you feel your relationship with the Lord is unshakable, but I ask you to consider for a moment the young Christians and non-believers in your life.

We all have people we influence by how we live our lives. In light of the facts – the religious philosophy and history of yoga – take a look at Paul’s warning to believers in the Corinthian church about meat offered to idols:

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being… If anyone says to you, ‘This was offered to idols,’ do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake…not your own, but that of the other… not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24; 28-29, 33).

Consider the Example You Set

To strong Christians (strong in their relationship with the Lord as well as the strong-willed, strong-minded ones) I say:

Certainly, you may not be adversely affected by the subtle seeds of doubt and New Age thought planted in yoga classes. You may even be going to a yoga class that is devoid of much of the New Age lingo and Hindu phraseology.

And if not, perhaps you are able to see there is nothing inherently right or wrong with the “meat” or poses offered to idols (1 Corinthians 8: 4-8).

Perhaps you are oblivious to the visualizations and suggestions during the “meditation and relaxation” at the end of yoga class, the talk of chakras, auras, breathing in prana (the “life force” connecting us to the “Universal Life Force”) and getting in touch with our higher self to unite with “Universal Mind” (remember, I was a student and teacher of this stuff for 22 years).

However, would you agree there are people in your life you influence?

Do you think there may be some unbelievers and new believers watching you?

Might someone young in the faith be watching you and saying to herself, “You know, she’s a strong Christian and loves Jesus. She does yoga at the YMCA (what does that ‘C’ stand for? Oh, yeah ‘Christian’). Seems there’s nothing wrong with it. But the Y is six miles from my house. I think I’ll take that yoga class being offered down the street at the Ramalama-DD Ashram”

(NOTE: Not its real name, but those who have been there with me know the place of which I speak.)

This young follower may not have your discernment. She may be like my mother and I were – weak and unskilled in the Word of God and open to the deceptions of the enemy.

Do you think she could perhaps wind up in the New Age movement as I did? Are we responsible for living our lives in such a way as to be a help or a hindrance to the cause of Christ? That’s a pretty tall order, isn’t it?

What’s wrong with this picture?

A young lady, perhaps in her 30s exclaimed to me recently, “The ‘C’ in YMCA stands for ‘Christian’? I didn’t know that!!!”

That should be a clarion call to the YMCA/YWCA. Perhaps the wrong message is being broadcast.

“They are teaching YOGA in my child’s school.”

I receive a lot of emails from concerned parents who tell me they just discovered their child is being taught yoga in school. Should you be concerned? I would. “But they’re not teaching any of the religious aspects of yoga, just the exercises.” Okay. What are they calling it? “Uh, yoga.”

So, in future years when your child is visiting a bookstore and passes by the ‘metaphysical/Hindu/Buddhist/occult/what-have-you’ section and sees books on “yoga” (some of which are highly religious and occult in nature), he/she will equate it with the warm fuzzies received during those “harmless little yoga sessions” in Ms. Winkie’s 3rd grade class, and immediately buy the book.

Or, they may later go to college and live down the street from an Ashram, see the word “yoga” and get those wonderful warm fuzzies, sign up for classes and be on a whole ‘nother path quicker than you can sing, “Swami, how I love ya.”

(I was “blessed” by famed yogi Swami Satchidananda at the Ananda Ashram in upstate New York when I was ten years old–less than three years after we began yoga “just for exercise.”)

Many parents have written to me with their concerns about the various yoga curricula being offered around the U.S. and Canada.

I’m sure parents in Europe, Australia and elsewhere are encountering similar challenges. When something is so widely accepted in mainstream society, those of us who sound the clarion call are seen as “fearful” and “extremists.”

PMK posture photos on DVD (left to right):The Oak Tree - Character Trait: Respect One of the quotes for Respect: “Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.” Tecumseh, Shawnee Indian Chief (1768-1813)The Strong Heart - Character Trait – Courage One of the quotes for Courage: “Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.” Amelia Earhart, American aviatrix (1897-1937)The Arrow - Character Trait – Honesty One of the quotes for Honesty: “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” William Shakespeare, English dramatist (1564-1616)

If it were me, I would urge the principal to look into offering stretching exercises instead. That’s one of the reasons why I developed PowerMoves Kids (PMK).

I was concerned about the prevalence and growing acceptance of yoga in schools. “PMK” is being used in a number of public schools (as well as private and home schools). It’s completely non-religious — plus it has the added benefit of Character Education (and all Character Education points back to Truth, doesn’t it?).

“PMK” combines stretching with character-building quotes. It’s the first classroom program to combine Fitness with Character Education – please see: www.PowerMovesKids.com .

From personal experience, I know where the study of yoga can lead for children as well as adults. If your children are at a Christian school (yes, believe-it-or-not, some Christian schools are teaching yoga) or home school, know that PraiseMoves for Children is also available (DVD, not curriculum–yet).

We also have a the PraiseMoves Kids TV Show on a number of Christian television stations, also on DVD.

ANY good stretching program is a better choice than yoga. Look around, there are several good DVDs available on just good, healthy stretches for children, athletes and adults.

See article “Parents May Sue Over Yoga in Schools” – in California public schools.

Concerning Things offered to Idols…ouch.

Keep in mind that yoga postures are “offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods,” and Acts 15:29 admonishes us to “abstain from things offered to idols.” Quoting from 1 Corinthians 8:1, 9-13 – be forewarned this is hard to read:

Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up (makes arrogant), but love edifies (builds up). But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”

So it is not out of a spirit of fear we avoid yoga, but could it be out of wisdom and love for others – perhaps those who are not as spiritually mature as we are? Can we do such things out of love for others? That’s too hard, isn’t it? What if I LIKE IT???!!!

Christian Schools and home schools may also use PraiseMoves for Children

Again, looking at the “ouch” from 1 Corinthians 10: 28-29 and 33:

But if anyone says to you, ‘This was offered to idols,’ do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake…’Conscience,’ I say, not your own, but that of the other… not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”

So – it’s not all about ME after all. I win when I make the decision to come in third place: 1st – “Love the Lord your God with your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” 2nd – “and love your neighbor” 3rd – “as you love yourself” (Matthew 22: 37-39).

What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?Rather, that the things which the Gentiles 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 10:19-23).

Your Walk versus Your Witness

While practicing yoga may not seem to have an adverse effect on your Christian walk, it may be affecting your Christian witness. Of course not everyone who knows and trusts you will jump into yoga and find themselves engulfed in a New Age lifestyle for 22 years as I was, but some weak ones might – and be hopelessly lost as others have been. Would you agree that we are responsible for planting seeds of faith or doubt that can lead people to Christ or away from Him?

Planting Seeds of New Age Religion

I remember planting numerous seeds of New Age philosophy when I taught yoga classes – enough to make anyone without a firm foundation of Biblical knowledge doubt the veracity of God’s Word and fall prey to satan’s question to Eve, “Has God indeed said…?” (Genesis 3:1).

For example, I was convinced that there was no such thing as “sin.” All we had to do was “get in touch with god within and connect to Universal Mind.”

One of my favorite New Age parrot-isms was, “Nothing is either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so” (quoting Shakespeare like it was Bible!). Another favorite: “All is good. All is God.” And the real kicker whenever something bad happened to someone, “Well, they obviously drew this to themselves on some level to learn something.” What insensitive nonsense!

“Sin” I reasoned “is an acronym for self-inflicted nonsense.” How clever. How humorous. How deadly – for if there is no such thing as sin, then there’s no need for a Savior.

And if there’s no need for a Savior, then why did Jesus come? Oh, He was “just a good Teacher.” Then why didn’t I follow His teachings?

In John 3:3 Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again (from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

But Yoga is NOT Meat!

For those who would argue with the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 and say, “But yoga poses aren’t MEAT!” Okay. Here’s a scripture that’s even clearer. I believe the Lord drew me to this scripture when I was praying to understand the differences among yoga, so-called “Christian yoga” and PraiseMoves – Acts 15:29.

The apostles were gathered together considering what rules should be placed on the Gentiles who were coming to Christ. Should they be circumcised, follow the dietary laws, etc.? Led by James, Jesus’ half-brother, they wrote a letter that has since become known as the Jerusalem Decree. In it they wrote:

“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: That you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, From things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell (Shalom)” Acts 15: 28-29.

BUT!

“But I have a lot invested in being a yoga instructor (or student)” you may say.

Sometimes the measure of our growth in the Lord equals the size of the sacrifices we make to follow Him.

If you’ve been feeling “stuck” spiritually, letting go of yoga may be the next step the Lord is asking you to take.

“Yoga is Like Meth”???

Some may remember the great controversy stirred up by Rev. Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist Seminary when he wrote in October 2010 that Christians who practice yoga “must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga.”

I stood up for Rev. Mohler and shared in an interview my take on his comments.

“I agree,” says Laurette Willis, Director of PraiseMoves Fitness Ministry. “I admire Rev. Mohler for taking a stand, and we can see from comments he has received that many have been angered by someone standing up for the Truth.“Yoga is like a drug to some,” she says. “I noticed that Mohler said he was ‘really surprised by the depth of the commitment to yoga found on the part of many who identify as Christians.’

“Something amazing happened to a Fitness Center owner in Texas a few years ago,” Laurette continues. “She and her husband wanted to get rid of the yoga classes in their 4 facilities in order to have their instructors teach PraiseMoves instead.  She told me that some of her members were so incensed that their yoga ‘drug’ was being taken away that it reminded her of people coming off Meth when she worked as a drug rehab counsellor!

“The Fitness Center owner told me, ‘We felt convicted by the Lord to get rid of the yoga classes since we’re followers of Jesus Christ. We decided to replace the yoga with stretching/toning classes until our trainers were certified in PraiseMoves. But a number of the members went ballistic! I asked them what they liked so much about the yoga – and they told me the stretching and toning! I told them we had that, but no! They said they HAD to have their yoga. It was like a DRUG!’

“Amazing,” says Laurette. “That’s why we call PraiseMoves ‘The Christian ALTERNATIVE to yoga.’ The foundation is the Word of God we meditate upon when doing these stretching and strengthening postures. Bible-Jesus-the Word is ALL THE DRUG WE NEED!!!”

*HINDU SCHOLAR AGREES with Rev. MOHLER*

“‘Christian yoga’ is an oxymoron,” Malhotra says.

Rajiv Malhotra (Hindu scholar and yoga practitioner, pictured at right) wrote:

“The assumptions and consequences of yoga do run counter to much of Christianity as understood today. This is why, as a Hindu yoga practitioner and scholar, I agree with the Southern Baptist Seminary President, Albert Mohler, when he speaks of the incompatibility between Christianity and yoga, arguing that “the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine” is fundamentally at odds with Christian teaching. This incompatibility runs much deeper…

“Some have responded by distorting yogic principles in order to domesticate it into a Christian framework, i.e. the oxymoron, ‘Christian Yoga.’ Others simply avoid the issues or deny the differences. Likewise, many Hindu gurus obscure differences, characterizing Jesus as a great yogi and/or as one of several incarnations of God. These views belie the principles stated in the Nicene Creed, to which members of mainstream Christian denominations must adhere. They don’t address the above underlying contradictions that might undermine their popularity with Judeo-Christian Americans. This is reductionist and unhelpful both to yoga and Christianity.” — from “A Hindu View of ‘Christian Yoga’” Huffington Post 11/8/10.

PraiseMoves is Born

PraiseMoves certainly isn’t for everyone, but stretching exercises are! Find a good book on stretching and flexibility. Look for videos that are purely about stretching the body – not the mind and spirit.

The believer’s walk is one of renewing the mind on the Word of God (Romans 12:2), as we do in PraiseMoves, not emptying it – a practice common in yogic meditation.

No, you don’t have to do PraiseMoves – but why not consider a stretching and flexibility class instead of yoga? If still unsure, please pray and ask the Lord about it.

“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God” 1 John 3:21.

PraiseMoves History

The first Harvest House-published PraiseMoves DVD (2006).

In February 2001 I began praying about an idea I believe the Lord gave me for a Christian alternative to yoga, PraiseMoves. I’m careful to tell people it’s not “Christian yoga,” which I believe is an oxymoron (a contradiction of terms). What would you say about the woman who says she’s a “Christian Buddhist?” Wouldn’t you think she’s bit confused?

“Christian yoga” is an example of syncretism (an attempt to blend conflicting beliefs, religions or philosophies).

Actually, PraiseMoves is a Christ-centered alternative to the practice of yoga.

When I told my husband Paul (also a former New Ager) about the idea, I asked him what he thought of the name PraiseMoves. His first words were, “Well, praise moves God.”

That’s it! I thought. Here’s exercise we can do which is good for the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (our body), which also renews our mind on the Word of God, refreshes us spiritually, and moves us to praise our Beloved Lord! Praise moves us closer to Him, too!

Over the next two years, I prayed, studied and developed the PraiseMoves® technique.

Our foundation scripture is 1 Corinthians 6:20, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” People who have been looking for a safe alternative to yoga have told me PraiseMoves is answered prayer. I also believe it can be a “witty invention” to win the lost.

Intermediate/Advanced PraiseMoves Posture: The Altar This is its accompanying scripture we meditate upon or say aloud while doing The Altar: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1

PraiseMoves postures are integrated with corresponding Bible scriptures. For example, during a posture named “The Altar” (at left), we consider the scripture from Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Dr. Steven J. Scafidi, a chiropractor in New Jersey writes:

“I have been experiencing terrific results using PraiseMoves and have been recommending it to my patients. I am thankful to Laurette for a program that combines Christ-centered worship with the physical benefits often attributed to yoga.” (read more Testimonies)

There are several PraiseMoves DVDs, and we are blessed to train people interested in becoming Certified PraiseMoves Instructors, starting their own Fitness Ministry to bring this Christian alternative to churches, gyms, health clubs and recreation centers across the U.S., Canada, in Europe, South Africa and Australia.

More Information

Holly Robaina, in article entitled “Take a Pass on Yoga” on ChristianityToday.com does a marvelous job explaining the dangers of yoga, so-called “Christian yoga” and how PraiseMoves is definitely different. Read it here. Other links available with good info about yoga:

PraiseMoves Postures Look Like Yoga?

“But wait a second, these postures sure look a lot like yoga poses.”

Intermediate/Advanced PraiseMoves Posture: Lamed (one of the PraiseMoves Alphabetics postures based on the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, below). In Hebrew, Lamed means the Tongue. This is its accompanying scripture we meditate upon or say aloud while doing the Lamed posture:“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit,” Proverbs 18:21

The body can only move in a finite number of ways – not an infinite number of ways.

There are currently over 140 PraiseMoves postures – each linked to a portion of scripture.

Some of the PraiseMoves postures resemble yoga poses while others do not. For example, the 22 PraiseMoves Alphabetics postures are based on the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (such as Lamed, at right).

Remember, the enemy (satan, the adversary, the deceiver) is NOT a creator. God alone is the creator. The enemy can only take things which God has created and “twist” them to bring people to the feet of a false idol (I’m sure you’ve seen that in relation to music –>> same music scale, same notes on a piano, but the music itself can glorify God or it can have the opposite effect).

If I may be so bold, I consider PraiseMoves to be a redemptive work of the Lord. Realizing that “redeem” means to “buy back” or to “restore” something to the way it had once been, I like to think that moving our bodies to glorify God may not be such a new idea.

Two thousand years ago Paul wrote that “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” and that we are to “glorify God in our body and in our spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). King David “danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14) around 2800 years ago. After the Exodus from Egypt and crossing the Red Sea on dry ground Moses’ sister Miriam and the women danced and sang a song of victory to celebrate God’s triumph over their enemies about 3500 years ago (Exodus 15:20).

Critics tell me yoga is a “science” that goes back at least 5,000 years. If that is true, then I KNOW glorifying the God of the Bible in body, soul and spirit must go back further than that.

How can I possibly know that in light of the fact there doesn’t appear to be any references earlier than Exodus 15:20? I know that satan is not a creator. He is not capable of creating anything. God is the Creator (John 1:3 says of Jesus, “the Word made flesh” that “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” and “For by Him all things were created…visible and invisible… All things were created through Him and for Him” Colossians 1:16).

The enemy can only twist what God has already created to serve his own wicked purposes. In fact, the word wicked means “twisted,” like the wick on a candle or wicker furniture.

Rescued from a Honky Tonk? Here’s an example:

Imagine a piano was taken from a “honky-tonk” that was consumed by fire. Nothing is left of the place but ashes and rubble. The establishment was one that was clearly dedicated to carnality and sin, as well as “filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness,” as the James 1:21 in the King James Bible would call it.

The piano is the one thing that survived the blaze. Is it possible to “redeem” (to buy back, to bring out of darkness) this piano once used to glorify the enemy?

Can we clean it up and use it in a church? Is that possible? Or should we destroy it?

Is it beyond being used to bring glory to God? Can we redeem the actual notes of the music scale once used in songs that worship everything but the Lord God — and use these SAME NOTES to offer praise and worship choruses to our Creator? Yes, indeed! Glory to God!!

Destroy all music because of ungodly music?

Are we to throw all music out the window because of the ungodly music in the world? Or can we redeem the notes on the music scale, the instruments, and the singers to offer worshipful praises to God? Of course we can! Since “wicked” actually means “twisted” (like the wick on a candle I mentioned earlier), I like to think of PraiseMoves as a way to “untwist” beneficial stretching and strengthening exercises back to glorify God.

There are certain postures we will NOT do in PraiseMoves

I’ll admit there are certain poses and gestures we will NOT do in PraiseMoves because of their appearance and close association with other religions.

For example, did you know that the so-called “Praying Hands” gesture (putting one’s palms together with fingers pointing upward) is a mudra (Hindu prayer gesture) which pre-dates Christianity?

Yes, even though we love the paintings of the little children with their hands in that position while kneeling beside their beds saying, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” It is still too closely linked with the Hindu “Namaste” greeting (“I bow to the ‘divine’ within you”) and other Eastern religious practices, so we will not use it in PraiseMoves.

Besides, the Bible speaks of praising the Lord with uplifted hands, not palms pressed together: “Thus will I bless Thee while I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name” (Ps. 63:4); “Lift up our hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord” (Ps. 134:2); and “…and the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering” (Ps. 141:2). At right is The Standing Cross posture with its accompanying scripture, “For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing; but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

What Does “Namaste” Mean?

From YogaJournal.com Basics by Aadil Palkhivala:

“The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.

“For a teacher and student, Namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection. If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.

“The teacher initiates Namaste as a symbol of gratitude and respect toward her students and her own teachers and in return invites the students to connect with their lineage, thereby allowing the truth to flow—the truth that we are all one when we live from the heart.”

It all *sounds* so nice and spiritual, doesn’t it? But it is not Truth (the Way, Truth and Life that Jesus is) and it is so very, very deceptive and deadly.

Instead, let us be the ones who are found with hands upraised, praising the Lord:  \o/

Having spent 22 years in yoga, metaphysics and the “New Age” movement, I am like Christianity Today writer Holly Robaina in the “Take a Pass on Yoga” article (link above). I have a “big nose” for anything even slightly metaphysical or leaning toward “mystical Christianity.”

Just like a recovered alcoholic or former smoker can smell alcohol on someone’s breath or can tell if there’s been smoking in the non-smoking hotel room, former New Agers like Holly and I are super-sensitive to anything even vaguely “New Age-y.” And yes, as a recovered alcoholic and former smoker myself (by the amazing grace of God), I’m super-sensitive to those smells, too.

The Real Foundation of PraiseMoves (it’s not exercise!)

Radical Thought Alert: The Postures are NOT PraiseMoves’ Foundation

What?! Isn’t this all about the stretching postures? No. The foundation of PraiseMoves is neither exercise nor the stretching postures.

The FOUNDATION of PraiseMoves is the Word of God which we speak aloud or meditate upon while doing the PraiseMoves postures.

The healthful stretching postures are merely a “witty invention” to get us more into the Word of God – and to get more of the Word of God into us!

If the truth be known, the stretching poses are not the foundation of yoga either (as you see from its history detailed above).

Have you heard this, or said it yourself? “My doctor told me to do yoga…”

“But yoga poses are beneficial!” I hear some say. “My doctor/chiropractor/physical therapist told me to start doing yoga and now my shoulder/arthritis/fibromyalgia is better.”

Well, certainly. There is evidence that yoga poses are quite helpful for physical ailments. They can even be stress-relieving (although yoga cannot bring true peace-only God through a relationship with Jesus Christ can do that).

True, one could hardly imagine something entirely unfruitful to be much of a trap for anyone. Without physical benefits, I doubt people in the Western hemisphere would ever practice yoga. I don’t argue with its physical benefits.

If every time someone did yoga they said, “You know, I would rather have hit myself on the head with a brick,” we wouldn’t even be discussing yoga—few would do it!

May I throw a wild analogy at you?

If one wanted to poison an animal, they wouldn’t plop a glob of poison on a plate and yell, “Here, boy!”

A more likely scenario would be to put the poison in the middle of a nice hunk of juicy meat or some other food they’d enjoy.

“Hmmm. Looks good,” thinks the animal. “Smells good. Sure gonna taste good.”

Yep, it sure tastes good. Ah, but at what price?

Did you know that 98% of rat poison is corn? Only 2% is the arsenic that poisons the rat.

Sorry. I told you it was a wild analogy.

Interested in More Information? Please see: Compelling Evidence by a former yogi, TM’er and student of “The Maharishi.”

And one more…

The True Meaning of Hatha Yoga

– it’s NOT what you think

(Note: Hatha yoga is the style available on most DVDs and presented at most fitness centers, health clubs and sadly, even churches – you know, the kind that’s “only exercise”)

by Yogacharya Vishwas Mandlik, Vice Chancellor of Yoga at Vidya Gurukul (Yoga University)

“The term Hatha Yoga has been commonly used to describe the practice of asana (poses). The syllable ‘ha’ denotes the pranic (vital) force governing the physical body and ‘tha’ denotes the chitta (mental) force thus making Hatha Yoga a catalyst to an awakening of the two energies that govern our lives. More correctly the techniques described in Hatha Yoga harmonize and purify the body systems and focus the mind in preparation for more advanced chakra and kundalini practices.

“Let us see the meaning of word Hatha, it is made up of Ha + Tha. “Ha” means Ida nadi, (moon principle) or left nostril and “tha” means Pingala Nadi (sun principle) or right nostril. Nadi means psychic passage of energy which can be compared with nerves in physical body. Hatha means balance of Ida and Pingala Nadis, or balancing of mental energy of Ida and Vital energy of Pingala Nadi. Ida Nadi can be compared with Parasympathetic Nervous system and Pingala nadi can be compared with Sympathetic Nervous System. So Hatha Yoga practices results in balancing the entire nervous system. The basic purpose of Hatha Yoga is to purify the Ida and Pingala Nadis and then uniting these 2 forces with the third Psychic Nadi Sushumna, which carries Kundalini at Ajna Chakra (eyebrow center).”

“It’s just exercise…right?”  Or is it?

For more, please see “Yoga is Religion” by L. G. Marshall, former yogi

and the blog post “Meet the HINDU Father of ‘Christian Yoga’

Christian Yoga“? NO!

PraiseMoves is the Christian ALTERNATIVE to yoga! Join us on Facebook to learn more about the Christian Alternative to yoga – and ALTERNATIVE to “Christian Yoga,” too!

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72 Responses to “Why A Christian ALTERNATIVE to Yoga?”

  1. The Truth Behind Yoga « Grove Online's Blog Says:

    [...] Laurette Willis’s article on the danger of Yoga [...]

  2. Jeanne Says:

    Thank you for writing this! I learned so much about Christianity and Yoga! I will never look at yoga the same way again. So much good information in your writing!

    God bless!

  3. VITANGALEE DEONARAIN Says:

    I completely agree and believe all the info you have posted. I encourage you to proclaim the word of God and expose the Devil’s tactics.

  4. » Grace you should read these sites: http … Grace and Hope Says:

    [...] http://praisemoves.com/about-us/why-a-christian-alternative-to-yoga/ [...]

  5. Robin Says:

    This is wonderful! I too was indoctrinated into Yoga in the 70′s & became an instructor as well for a few years. 30 yrs later I became a Jewish believer in the Messiah Jesus! I am VERY interested in learning how to share this with my Christian friends. God bless you for being used in such an important way. P.S. I am also in preschool ministry & would love to share with the children as well!

  6. Laurette Willis Says:

    Thank you for your encouraging words. I’m grateful that more and more people are seeing we cannot blend religious practices with our relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Just today I was reading an article about so-called “Chrislam.” Christianity and Islam IS Islam — just as Christianity and yoga IS yoga.

    If you don’t find the answers you’re looking for on the site, feel free to contact me via the Contact button on the menu bar. May God richly bless you!

  7. Dana Says:

    I wish more people could read this. I have friends who do yoga and I keep trying to tell them about this information. Thanks for exposing it. God bless you.

  8. A Perfect Daily Jumpstart! | PraiseWalker Says:

    [...] of mine: Laurette Willis of PraiseMoves. The main focus of Laurette’s ministry is a “Christian Alternative to Yoga“. I’ve used many of her programs, and I find them all really [...]

  9. Rebecca Says:

    Thank you so much for this! I was looking into something to help me during my monthly times. One article suggested yoga, but I did not feel good about trying that, so i googled “Christian yoga.” As I looked, I came across your very informative and scriptural articles, and I want to thank you for that. I look forward to using stretches that incorporate the Word of God but do not involve yoga. Thank you! May the Lord Jesus bless your ministry!

  10. Fonda Says:

    Wow That is amazing information! Thank you so much for opening my eyes and helping understand the dangers of yoga!!

  11. Caroline Says:

    Wow, This is amazing! I am a Christian Leader of the Children’s Ministry at my church and I just finished physical therapy for back and neck injury. My therapist is highly into yoga and she suggested Yoga at first. I felt really uncomfortable doing the poses and I opted to stay away from it. This morning I was looking for some therapy exercises on-line and immediately Christian Yoga came to my mind. I found your page and found myself in amazement with your information. In my spirit, I felt wrong about yoga and your information clarified my feelings. I am so glad that God used you in such a great way to teach others of the hazards of yoga. May God bless you even more.

  12. Sarah Says:

    This could not be more timely for me. I stumbled upon your website while searching for information about Yoga because I was considering a school that practiced “centering” in the classroom. As well as having the children say, “Namaste” at the end of the daily “centering”. There were a number of other things that the school teaches the children that I felt somewhat uncomfortable about. Like the trees being guardians of us all and to hurt a tree would be like hurting yourself. I was really against these ideas. My husband and I are christians and it has been tough finding a school in the area that would serve all of my son’s needs. I am now considering homeschool more than ever or atleast a christian based school.

    Thank you for all of this great material you’ve presented, and the scripture to back it up! You should be happy to know that God has turned your gifts into something pleasing to Him and for His glory! Keep doing what you are doing, praise Jesus!

  13. Rico Says:

    This afternoon I have been reading websites from pastors that warn against yoga. I thought, “Easy for you to say. You’ve never tried it. You don’t know the health and physical benefits of hatha yoga.” And then God led me to your website and here you are. You’ve been through yoga and God has let you out of it by His grace and power. May God bring me out of yoga, too. In Jesus’ name!

  14. Laurette Willis Says:

    Thank you for letting me know, Rico. Yes, it’s different when one has been in something and then brought out of it. I was also an alcoholic, a smoker, a New Ager — so am acutely aware of all of those strongholds. And the Name of Jesus is greater, higher and more powerful than any of them. And His Name belongs to us! Glory to God. “He who the Son sets free is free indeed!” (John 8:36)

  15. Clif Payne Says:

    This is an absolutely phenomenal ministry of insight & truth!
    God bless you for this vital message!

  16. patty Says:

    I understand yoga is evil, but my son is clueless. He is all into it and won’t listen to me… All I know is to pray that God will open his eyes. It still makes me sad. Thank you for sharing the truth.

  17. Michael Coughlin Says:

    Laurette – I am so grateful for this article. I have sent it to countless brothers and sisters in Christ over the past few years as I have found it to be the BEST article ever written on this topic. I appreciate your honesty and boldness.

    I want to briefly share my story in order to exalt and magnify Christ if you’ll allow.

    My testimony is this: I became deeply involved in yoga in 2006. I found it to be relaxing, good exercise and fun. I particularly enjoyed lusting after scantily clad women in my yoga class, of which there are plenty. It soon became my “main” exercise as I bought videos, even getting my children involved at home.

    In July 2006, the Lord graciously reached out and saved me from my sin and placed me in Christ. The church I attended TAUGHT YOGA at the time, so I had little reason to question this involvement. My yoga continued as before. But like a newborn babe, I craved the milk of the Word of God, and I studied it daily.

    Eventually, I started to feel uncomfortable during yoga. I could no longer enjoy the sessions, and especially not the reading of cards after with the class. I didn’t know why, but I had begun to hate doing yoga! Eventually, I simply quit. I had no real reason to explain, other than maybe I just didn’t like the new yogi.

    Little did I understand at the time that the Holy Spirit, by His grace and infinite love toward me, had changed me in such a way. It wasn’t until months later that I heard a preacher mention yoga and its danger. Desperate to educate my “church family” at the time, I sought resources on yoga and found your site. You had written what the Spirit had borne witness to in my heart. Praise God for His mighty power, and for using you to encourage this brother.

    Sadly, my former church would not repent, but I now go to a bible-following church and am growing in Christ all the time. A brother at church is into yoga now, so I was at your site again, forwarding this link him, in the hopes that the Holy Spirit will work in his life.

    Thanks again. –Michael

  18. Laurette Willis Says:

    Glory to God for His marvelous works and mercy toward us, Michael. Your words and witness, as well as those of other brothers and sisters who have shared their testimony mean so much.

    It’s sad that many still see this as an article of “intolerance” and “hate” written by a “fear monger” (I do get those comments, believe it-or-not). Wisdom and warning spoken in love and obedience often sound like intolerance and hatred when the words run counter to what WE want (or our flesh craves).

    The person standing on the precipice of a cliff, thinking he can fly like Superman, hates the “intolerant fear-filled” person who warns him about the law of gravity — until the second after he realizes the law applies to him, too.

    Thank you for sharing your testimony, Michael – and for sharing this article with others. God is able – and His Word will not return unto Him void. Amen!

  19. Katherine Torres Says:

    OH MY!!!!

    Thank you so much for providing this very informative publication on your website. I googled “Christian Yoga” and there it was amongst other links that will take you to Christians website selling books, videos, or praising health benefits of yoga with a Christian twist, along with those voicing the cons of practicing it.

    This scripture came to mind: Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” Something like practicing yoga can destroy my witness of Christ to others!

    The very fact that you revealed that yoga poses are dedicated to the sole worship of 330 Hindu gods blew my mind. I in no way want to open a door for the enemy to come in and oppress me.

    Yoga is marketed as very beneficial for mental and emotional well-being. I was looking for something to add to my cardio workout, and I’m so glad Holy Spirit urged me to research it first. No matter how it’s packaged, the scriptures you provided illuminated the truth, and the Spirit brought on the conviction to steer clear of pursuing it in the popular Christian form.

    God bless your ministry and may many that God has drawn unto Him be urged by His Spirit to seek the truth in all things.

  20. Laurette Willis Says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the Word, Katherine. Yes, it certainly is beneficial that we be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” as Jesus said in Matthew 10:16.

  21. Stella Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this insight.I knew Yoga was wrong but I could not decide why especially if one was just participating in the stretching exercises. Now I know it was the Holy Spirit restraining me until I could better understand the subtelties involved. Thanks again and may God bless you and your ministry.

  22. Victoria Says:

    Thank you so much for your insight and information on this subject!!! I had practiced some yoga in college and, more recently got involved again as a middle-aged Christian. I pray during all the ‘chants’, breathing techniques, and ‘relaxation’ period and have found that I am uncomfortable with much of this, despite my praying. It’s as if I have been fighting back something subtle with my prayers. And, at the end, when the class says the ‘namaste’, I have felt that, if someone I knew were watching me, who isn’t saved, how would they be able to distinguish that I, in my mind, am praying to the Lord Jesus Christ and not to “the god inside oneself”?
    This morning I got up and began an at-home practice of stretches and the desire welled up in me to find a Christian alternative – I thought, “I’ll google ‘Christian Yoga”. I found your site and am filled with joy with what I am reading. I agree with you, and the part that especially impacted me is the influence on my non-Christian friends and your quote of 1 Corinthians 8 & 10. Thank you and God mightily bless you!!!

  23. Laurette Willis Says:

    I appreciate your thoughtful, heartfelt words, Victoria. Those verses in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 have had a similar impact on my life also. Thank you so much for letting me know. Your testimony means more than words can say. May God richly bless you, too!!!

  24. Kristi Says:

    Thank you so much for your precise information on yoga. I knew yoga was wrong as a Christian and you have systematicly provided the evidence. I have many Christian friends who do yoga classes and I will send them your web link. I teach Hebrew and I am excited that many of the moves represent the Hebrew letters. What and answer to prayer. Blessings to you and may “Praise Moves” overtake yoga where people can come and be blessed and not cursed.

  25. Laurette Willis Says:

    Thank you, Kristi. We so love the Hebrew language – which to me has always looked like “flames” written in stone by the finger of the Lord Himself. You may enjoy learning about Hebrew Word pictures, too. We cover a bit of that in PraiseMoves Alphabetics, but also the remarkable work of Messianic Jewish scholar Dr. Frank Seekins. May God richly bless you in all you are doing to promote His kingdom. Shalom-shalom!

  26. Thankful Says:

    Thanks for your effort of enlightening us.
    I was considering going against my knowledge of the two worlds jumping into Yoga and decided to read about it again.
    Insider information is a very valuable thing.

    God bless you for being so bold and speaking the truth.

  27. Cheruba Says:

    Thank you Laurette for sharing your personal experience, the detailed explanation about yoga and its origin and with Biblical references!

    I have your DVD and am blessed doing the “praise moves’.

    Praise God that you responded to His calling and have come up with something that we can please our Creator by keeping His temple clean and fit!

    God Bless you.
    Cheruba from UAE

  28. Nancy Says:

    Thanks for this information. I have various relatives who are involved in yoga classes and even teaching yoga. These are all people who grew up in a strong Christian family with a father/grandfather who was a pastor. I knew in my spirit yoga was not compatible with my Christian beliefs but your website and articles helped me know why I felt that way.
    Blessings! Nancy

  29. Guarding His Flock Ministries Says:

    [...] See Laurette Willis, “Why a Christian ALTERNATIVE to Yoga?” Praise Moves. Online at: http://praisemoves.com/about-us/why-a-christian-alternative-to-yoga/. [6] Kurt E. Koch, Occult Practices and Beliefs: A Biblical Examination from A to Z (Grand Rapids, [...]

  30. Iliana Says:

    Thank you so much for this informative article. There are so many little things that creep up in our culture especially the church and believers are not careful to be watchful of their witness. I just posted your article on my facebook page and the article from Probe ministries hoping that at least some believers will heed your warnings and see the truth of yoga practices. The deception of the evil one comes as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I pray the Lord blesses your ministry in abundance, for the glory of Christ!

  31. Debbie Says:

    Thank you for this eye opening information. I’ve always stayed away from yoga. There was always something in my Spirit that didn’t feel right. I have a friend who loves it and keeps telling me you can replace what they say with Jesus but I just didn’t like the whole sound of that. I’ve seen the benefits yoga has done with her body and flexibility though.

    So I’m glad that you are doing a stretching type of exercise but not associated with yoga. Btw, even my doctor recommended yoga. It is widespread in acceptance. I will look into your exercise program. And thank you for the links to the other articles. I will share them with my friend who practices yoga and thinks it’s fine.

  32. Melissa Says:

    GOD BLESS YOU! I thank God that He led me to your site; and I am very appreciative that you listened to God and changed your life to help give edification of the Word for the ones of us purposely living through the grace of God. I woke this morning for some reason thinking about what was out there on Christian yoga. I’ve never considered it, looked for it or saw things about it before. I have no idea why I woke with that on my mind to research. I had done some yoga poses and DVDs some family members had but for some reason (no that’s not true — but for the leading of the Holy Spirit!) We never could get into it — it just didn’t feel quite right. Now I know why! This is such a wonderful fully researched explanation (with use of the Word to back it up! Amen!!!!) — an article that I will be sharing with many family and friends. Thank you for letting God use you to speak truth to His people! His truth will certainly set us truly free!!!!

  33. Laurette Willis Says:

    Thank you for sharing your kind words, experiences and thoughts with us, Melissa, Debbie, Iliana, Nancy, Cheruba and “Thankful.” All praise, honor and glory goes to our Lord Jesus Christ, who does ALL things well. So grateful He chooses the FOOLISH things of this world (like ME!!!) to confound those who are wise in their own eyes, and the “weak things” to “put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27).

    Let’s keep spreading the Good Word! He is able – and YOU are loved.

  34. Anne Says:

    I read your article with interest. However, I have also come across Christian Yoga sites and books. The authors say they are Christian, play Christian music, say Christian prayers. How would you respond to this? Are they doing the same as you? Or are they still too close to yoga?

  35. Laurette Willis Says:

    Hi, Anne – Thank you for your comment. Please see the info above on so-called “Christian yoga,” which I call an oxymoron (as do many Hindus, too!). It’s not possible to combine a religion (Hinduism) with a relationship with God through Jesus Christ (Christianity). Also, the info on above on A.K. Mozumdar (the Hindu founder of “Christian yoga”) is stunning, isn’t it? Article about him is also here: “Meet the Hindu Founder of Christian Yoga” praisemoves.com/2011/03/meet-the-hindu-founder-of-christian-yoga

  36. Mariane Says:

    Laurette, Thank you for your website and informative article. ~12 years ago I read a book (now out of print) from a woman who lived in India in the 70′s and saw Yoga practices for many years. When she moved to the USA, she was shocked to see so many people “worshiping” Hindu gods under the guise of yoga exercise. I have never forgotten this. As a Christian and Physical Therapist, I have always been uncomfortable with colleagues instructing patients in yoga poses for strengthening and have even opposed “Healing Touch” treatments at the hospital in which I worked. Now my 10 year old son’s “Highlights Magazine” recommends poses to stretch and strengthen kids. My son asked his father who told him to ask me if these were good to do. I realized right away looking at the pictures that they were yoga poses but not labeled as such. What a deception! And parents think its okay because its in “Highlights Magazine.” So my son and I googled “yoga positions” and found them. Then I took him to a yoga website to read exactly what yoga was and if we as Christians want to “position our bodies and minds to worship other gods”. He understood but wanted to find a way to stretch and strengthen his body. Then I found your website when I googled: yoga vs Christianity. Thank you for a Christian alternative, and Thank you for “proclaiming” what yoga really is. We can praise our Lord and Savior and stretch and strengthen to His glory. To Him the only Real God that exists. The others are not gods, just demons. Thank you.

  37. Elaine Says:

    Good Morning,
    I just turned 70 and need some physical exercises to keep my limbs and joints in good shape, and to get my all-over body in better shape. My mother, in her gentle manner, warned me of deceptive dangers of joining a new yoga class nearby, so I have held off on going there. This morning on TV I saw a program of exercises along with scriptures that I knew might be the answer. I found on the computer a list of Christian exercise websites, logged into yours and have found your information so enlightening. I think the PraiseMoves idea might be just what I need! So glad I came across your website!
    Elaine

  38. Laurette Willis Says:

    Hi, Elaine! We’re glad to hear from you! The “20-Minute PraiseMoves” DVD is a great place to start — http://praisemoves.com/store/dvds/20minutepraisemoves/ — it has beginner (with modifications), intermediate and advanced workouts. Let us know if you have any questions – I think you’re really going to enjoy PraiseMoves!

  39. Maggie Says:

    Thank you, Laurette, for the information. I’ve not really practiced yoga myself, but I am glad to have this information about it. I most assuredly will not ever get into yoga now. I’m glad you opened my eyes to this. Yet another way the enemy tries to seduce and trip us up. Thank you again.

  40. Beverly Turner Says:

    ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’

    ‘I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father, except by Me.’ Jesus

    There it is in a nutshell. Thank you, Laurette, for using your experiences growing up, and your extensive research, to educate well-meaning Christians. I stand with you 100%.

  41. Jess Says:

    I am so excited now that I’ve learnt about this! I’ve always been interested in this kind of thing but I warned away from it by others because it concerns things that are un-Christian. I thought maybe if I just ignored it, it would be ok but I know now it is untrue and now I’m glad I never had a chance to get it into it. Now here is a true answer. I will be definitely checking out PraiseMoves further and promote it as a true Christian alternative.

  42. Keri Lee Says:

    Hello Laurette,
    I just attended my first yoga class at the request of my best friend after months of her asking. I have been a Christian for many years and was not looking forward to the religious aspects (which I now know is really all of it) She is also a Christian. I could tell when I walked in that there would be things I was not comfortable with but I went ahead and did the class. When the “meditation ” was mentioned I prayed and focused on Christ all the while knowing this would be my last class. Now I have an issue with my friend. She wants me to sign up and get the same “relaxation and exercise” that she is gettting. I cant do that and will be shareing your site with her. I know she really enjoys it so part of me is nervous about it. Thank you for such a clear explanation of the roots of yoga, please join me in prayer for my friend. Thank you.
    Keri Lee

  43. Kelly Says:

    This is a bounty of well-written information. I feel like I’ve just been given a Christian university-worthy education on the evil that can sneak into our lives through yoga. Just knowing that yoga is Hindu missions – I feel my blinders in this area have been removed. I’ve never practiced yoga regularly, but I do have a “Christian yoga” dvd (which never actually mentions Christ – just leaves out the eastern philosphies and meditations). I’ll be getting rid of that, as well as trying to make restitution for allowing my oldest son to do yoga in kindergarten class, and for the kid’s yoga dvd I had both my sons doing several years ago. I should have listened to the still, small voice telling me there was something dark lurking there. Even though it was years ago, my 8 yr old still occasionally poses his hands and says “ommm”. Time to undo the damage…. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  44. Betty Says:

    Praise God. I injured my back and am healed in Jesus. I thought that perhaps a Hatha yoga class would help me stretch the area and help take that last kink and ache away. Before going to the 12:00pm class offered at my gym today and to be sure that I would not aggravate the injury further, I researched its poses and because of its roots, if yoga is an exercise that Christians should do. I was led to your article which opened my eyes and my heart to the truth. THANK YOU! and thank God for hearing and answering me. Jesus is Lord!

  45. AD Says:

    I have practiced yoga (because of a spinal deformity and debilitating pain) off and on for the last 20 years (mostly off I must say). I always thought that Christians who were against yoga were fanatics! I had never participated in the religious aspects of any class and certainly didn’t worship any 6 armed, 2 headed Hindu deity, nor have I ever been part of the New Age Movement.
    Now I see however, that yoga is a subtle way of drawing people into a religious form of worship. Evil is often disguised as something good, beautiful, tantalizing, harmless, innocent, etc…
    I will certainly check into PraiseMoves and will never again practice any form of yoga. Thank you for the information and praise God!!

  46. TamborineMiriam Says:

    Thank you for finally setting the record straight for me. Like some of the other Christian Brothers and Sisters who have written to you, I practiced yoga. Initially I experienced the benefits of the stretching and relaxation. Gradually, I became an endorphin junky. Fortunately, I had Christians around me who warned me that the practice of yoga is not Scriptural and is counter to the will of God. But no one really articulated the most basic truth: YOGA IS HINDUISM!

    Christian yoga is syncretism in much the way that santeria and voodoo are syncretist. But, even armed with this knowledge, I just wanted a way to stretch and relax my body that didn’t leave me vulnerable to all kinds of spiritual “nuttiness” On the one hand I wanted a calming, relaxing yet invigorating workout (that wasn’t soul-stealing) on the other hand I didn’t really want to listen to the top 40 “rump-shaker” explicit lyrics while working out either. I appreciate the genuine Christian focus of your workout. God Bless you.

    Grace and Peace

  47. Lorraine Howell Says:

    I found your articles very interesting as I have just started attending yoga classes. I was feeling very stressed and found them so relaxing and calming, especially the breathing. I am however a christian and asked the instructor the meaning of the words we were chanting as this was the only bit that concerned. I was quite happy with his explanation that Hindus, Jews and Christians come from different villages that look up to the same mountain (God). So much of his phraseology sounded so Christian. I left feeling happy enough to indulge and decided to attend a Yoga Rock dance. That was my wake up call. I left after 1 and a half songs which were clearly in worship to Hare Krishna. I felt deceived and so pleased to have found your article clearing this up for me. Please can I find out about Praise Moves and how would I become an instructor. Many Thanks Lorraine Howell

  48. Laurette Willis Says:

    I’m grateful you were alerted by that “wake-up call,” Lorraine. I used a lot of enticing phraseology when I was a yoga instructor on my “B.C.” daze, too. You may learn more about our Certified PraiseMoves Instructor program here: http://praisemoves.com/about-us/instructor-training/

    Thank you for posting! Let us know if you have other questions: info@PraiseMoves.com
    May God richly bless you!

  49. Stace Webb Says:

    Thank you for the warning of Yoga vs. Christianity–yoga is Hindu, not Christian!

    Unfortunately, several family members practice YOGA!

    PraiseMoves is the Christian alternative!

  50. Holy Yoga | Sound Doctrine Ministries Says:

    [...] are many alternatives to yoga available for exercise in our society . One similar alternative is PraiseMoves. Satan’s modus operandi is deception, counterfeiting and corrupting that which is good. If [...]

  51. Jennifer Says:

    Hi there! Fabulous article! I never really liked yoga for whatever reason and now I really know why! Can you tell me if Pilates is the same thing? Isn’t that yoga moves but faster? I would like to know if I should avoid that too.

  52. Laurette Willis Says:

    Hi, Jennifer – we have some answers here: http://praisemoves.com/faq
    Thank you for your comments!

  53. Dr. Vera Mumbauer Says:

    My question is: how do we stop mental health clinicians from offering yoga techniques to clients? More importantly: how do we stop psychologists and other clinicians from presenting seminars that promote use of yoga for alleviation of psychological and mental health problems? I have been in mental health field for more than 15 years now and every second Cont. Ed. Seminars brochure I get nowadays has to do with some form of meditation or yoga. I am honestly sick of how professional boards allow this to happen. I tried several times to ask presenters how they can encourage and teach yoga/meditation techniques without revealing true source/foundation of yoga, and they always stayed away from correct answers. Plus, those people who were present at seminars always intterupt me and tell me that “it’s almost like Christianity. Chanting here is the same as Psalm reading”. I get so irritated by going to these seminars and I try to avoid them, but no matter what topic I choose (several times I chose seminars which agenda had nothing to do with yoga), but somehow most presenters always end up either with teaching/lecturing about meditation, yoga or some forms of pagan or non-Christian practices. I feel it is a real crisis in the field of psychology and mental health, in general. I am now thinking about book project where I would like to cover the issue of dangers of yoga for mental health clients and any clients who seek psychological help. Any ideas or recommendations? I am glad we are on the same page here. THanks for your website.

  54. Laurette Willis Says:

    We need more professionals like YOU in the field of psychology and mental health, Dr. Mumbauer! Yes, I believe a book on the subject written by someone of your credentials and experience would speak *volumes* (pun intended) to believers in your profession. I will be praying for you, as I ask all who see this post will do, too. The Lord has granted you wisdom already in this area, and He will continue to pour out His wisdom and understanding upon you as you seek Him. I declare Psalm 5:12 favor over you, Dr. Mumbauer as you go forth into this area – we also bind distraction against you (one of the enemy’s favorite weapons). If he CAN stop us, he will – we are the ones who determine “he will NOT!” You are highly favored and the Lord loves you SO much! Thank you for your comments. You bring up some excellent points, Dr. Mumbauer. I hope you WILL do the book project you suggest and help professionals in your field to rethink these questionable practices. Feel free to share any of our information on the foundations of yoga. All the best to you! Please keep us posted. If you would like to share a guest article in the FitNews, I know you would have a receptive audience among our subscribers. You may write to me at Laurette@PraiseMoves.com

  55. Trish Says:

    Laurette, your work here is an answer to my prayers! And Dr. Mumbauer, please do seriously consider writing a book – your perspective on this is invaluable!

    My brief story: A few years ago a chiropractor recommended that I attend Transcendental Meditation classes for relaxation. At the first class the teacher said each student would be required to bring fruit and flowers and lay them in front of a large photo of the Maharishi each week. The teacher asked us to come privately into his office to sign up, at which point I politely told him I was interested in learning relaxation techniques, but I could not in good conscience offer fruit and flowers before the photo of the Maharishi. The teacher grew visibly angry and his eyes widened as he stared hard at me. I knew right then another spirit was involved in this and I left, never to return.

    Thank you so much Laurette for your Biblical discernment and for your work in this area. I will begin sharing your resources with others right away. God bless! And Dr. Mumbauer, I will promote your book wholeheartedly as well. We need professionals like you to speak out and your words here are most encouraging.

  56. Jeff Says:

    A thoughtful, rationale, thorough article that provides valuable insights above a sea of opinions and cloudiness about yoga and the Christian.

  57. PraiseMoves. {And a GIVEAWAY!!} « Work of HeART and Soul Says:

    [...] A Christian Alternative to Yoga? Read this article! (this one, she has a PDF version, you can give to a [...]

  58. Michelle Says:

    I came across your site while trying to find information on yoga and Christianity. I have been practising yoga for a little while now, wanting to stay limber in my later years. Although yoga has helped me do this, I have felt uncomfortable with the thought of it. Always, I could not get the thought out of my head that I was putting other gods before Christ my Lord.

    I was amazed when I read that yoga can become like a drug, it is funny, I have always found it hard (no will power) to stick to other forms of exercise, but after a few sessions of yoga I was hooked and even thought that I must do my practice before other things. I have stopped doing yoga, I have a dog that will be very pleased about that, she will see a lot more of the world now that I have started walking her instead, and it is the best time to think on things of the Lord.

    Thank you for your site, you have set my mind at rest, I am so glad that the Lord led me here. You are an encourager.

  59. Karen Says:

    I too am glad , so glad that you have written this information to share with others !! This is answers to my many many prayers about this subject and I’m just thanking the Lord -He has powerfully done a wonderful work through you and the way that you easily explain things here will help so very many people !!! thank you and God Bless

  60. Sharon Says:

    Hi. Wow am I glad I came upon your site. I was searching for “Christian Yoga” information as I am getting older and wanted something to help me get my flexibility back and was considering “Christian Yoga” as it were. Upon finding your information that is no longer a viable choice as I am a Christian and want nothing to do with such un-Godly forms of exercise. I will be checking out PraiseMoves…..thanks again.
    Sharon

  61. Laurita Says:

    I’m reading a book REVOLUTION IN WORLD MISSIONS by DR RP Yohannan. A Hindu reformed to Christianity and his life mission to spread the gospel in Asia. This is where he explained how disgusted he was when he relocated to the USA and seeing yoga on tv and everywhere. This is the first time that I’ve come to know that yoga opens the body and mind to foreign spirits and Hindu gods. Naturally I had to research it for myself and your article has got to be one of THE most informative and truthful information that I have found. Thank you for the knowledge. As a deeply rooted Christian I feel it is my duty to spread the word and prevent other Christians from falling into this trap. May God bless you and keep you and your family ALWAYS! Danke schöne

  62. DONNA G Says:

    Thank you for this very informative piece!! I have never been involved with Yoga but my husband and I have recently started an exercise program and your article caught my eye. Amazing!!! I never gave thought to the idea of glorifying God through my excercise–but I love the idea of learning scripture verses as the real foundation of this. Thank you for this “new concept” ( I guess only new to me :) ). God bless you as you continue educating people.

  63. Allecia Says:

    Such an eye opener. I was having reservations about doing yoga and I now know it has been the Holy Spirit guiding me. Stretching is an amazing activity to partake in, I will continue to stretch on my own!

  64. Tony Says:

    Wow!! It’s about time someone dedicates the time and effort like this to thoroughly cut through all the warm fuzzy feel good nonsense in regards to this being just an innocent little stretching routine or program. Yoga is indeed clearly of a completely different faith and/or God than that of Christianity! I’m not cutting down Hinduism or any other religion. I’m saying I’d be quite upset if I was of the the Hindu faith in a country founded on Hinduism and suddenly this new exercise program started sweeping over my nation that was based on Christianity but without informing anyone of this while it was being taught at schools, dance halls, fitness clubs and every place else under the sun.

    INCREDIBLE work! I cannot see how any follower of Jesus Christ that is truly connected with God’s Holy Spirit (the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) could sit through even one minute of this without some red flags going up! Again not that I’m cutting down other religions but Christian Yoga????? Maybe I’ll open up a Vegan steak house……..

  65. Yoga: More than Meets the Eyes?? | Edhird's Blog Says:

    [...] Laurette Willis, “Why A Christian Alternative to Yoga?” http://praisemoves.com/about-us/why-a-christian-alternative-to-yoga (Accessed Dec 14th [...]

  66. Pat Says:

    I, too, thank you for your info about yoga. Also, I was thinking about joining a tai chi class, but now I am thinking that this is not a good idea either.

    However, is it safe to get a Thai yoga bodywork. From my understanding it is just stretching the body in all kind of directions for a few hours.

  67. Laurette Willis Says:

    Thank you, Pat – I see Thai yoga bodywork in the same category as the rest, actually. “Yoga” ties it to a whole bunch of questionable “stuff” many believers would rather avoid.

  68. Erica Says:

    Laurette,
    What a thorough job you did compiling these articles to make such an impacting platform for avoiding yoga! I read some of this a few years ago and used the information to keep yoga out of the gym while I was the group fitness director. It was truly a blessing for the four years I directed. Within one month of me stepping down as director, yoga was on the schedule, and with it I believe, came an undercurrent of grumbling and such that we had not previously had to that extent.

    This morning, during my quiet time I felt the Lord wanted me to go check out praisemoves, for what I thought was to see about getting certified or just practicing to make me more limber for worship dance. I’m now wondering if He wants me to bring all of this to the attention of the owner who professes to be a Christian. I will spend some time praying about it and see how the Holy Spirit leads me. I also have a new friend who teaches yoga, and am waiting for the right time to share this info with her.

    Thank you and bless you! Stay strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! God is good!

  69. Laurette Willis Says:

    Thank you for letting me know, Erica.

    If I can help in any way, please let me know.
    Should the Lord call you in this direction, here’s information on becoming a Certified PraiseMoves Instructor (CPI) – http://praisemoves.com/about-us/instructor-training/
    Our next Online Training is in September, and applications are being accepted now: http://praisemoves.com/about-us/instructor-training/upcoming-dates/

    Thank you for your uncompromising stand, Erica!
    May God richly bless you!
    Laurette

  70. Should Christians practice yoga? | Says:

    […] PraiseMoves:  http://praisemoves.com/about-us/why-a-christian-alternative-to-yoga/ […]

  71. anna Says:

    thank you for writing this. i started doing yoga a few days ago. physically it felt good, but i felt uneasy about it. now i know why.

  72. Randi Says:

    I was invited to do yoga by an acquaintance of mine. I kept turning her down not knowing why I was hesitating. I am glad I found your site.

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