“Christian Yoga”? No, Yoga and Christianity Do Not Mix
by Dr. Laurette Willis, Founder of PraiseMoves Fitness Ministry
As a child growing up on Long Island, I was quick to entertain–I was also quick to follow my mother into the practice of yoga (we'd not heard of so-called “Christian yoga” yet). We both thought yoga was “only exercise.”
Yoga is not “just exercise.” You may even be familiar with so-called “Christian yoga” which is VERY different from PraiseMoves, the Christian ALTERNATIVE to yoga.
Yoga seems to be 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 with your dog, goat, or snake! There's “RAGE Yoga” where people scream obscenities and drink beer while doing yoga exercises. No, I'm not making that up.
People are so hungry for a spiritual experience there is even Yoga in the GRAVEYARD?!!! Yes, believe-it-or-not, there is a practice called “Yoga Mortis” – yes, like rigor mortis.
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 stylish yoga pants (featuring her favorite cartoon character).
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 close to 40 million people practicing yoga in the U.S., over 52,000 Yoga teachers and over 18,000 yoga schools registered with the Yoga Alliance (Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance 2016).
Yoga is the Missionary Arm of Hinduism and New Age Spirituality
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.
My mother, an attorney (and the first woman to become an Assistant District Attorney on Long Island), enjoyed yoga so much that she became a yoga instructor and gave free classes to small classes of college students in our home. I was the little “demonstration model” and loved the attention!
For the next 22 years, I was heavily involved with yoga, metaphysics and New Age spirituality 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” — and I'm not the only one.
Swami Sivasiva Palani in his January 1991 “Open Letter to Evangelicals” in Hinduism Today, yoga instructors are “Yoga Missionaries.”
“A small army of yoga missionaries – Hatha yoga (the form of yoga taught in most fitness centers and churches), Raja, Siddha, and Kundalini (other forms of yoga) – beautifully trained in the last 10 years, is about to set upon the western world,” wrote Swami Palani.
“They may not call themselves Hindu, but Hindus know where yoga came from and where it goes,” Swami Palani said.
These concerns have caused many to wonder what they can do as a yoga alternative–stretching exercises? Or are there some kind of “Christian moves” that could serve as an alternative to yoga?
IS there such as thing as yoga for Christians? No. And here's why…
Yogis are Surrendered “Fully unto me” (said Hindu god Krishna)
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 pieces of evidence, 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.
What is New Age Spirituality?
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.”
Yoga Poses are “Offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods”
How can that be?
“Yoga is Hinduism,” said Subhas Tiwari, Professor of Yoga Philosophy and Meditation. “Efforts to separate yoga from its spiritual center reveal ignorance of the goal of yoga.” –Subhas Tiwari, Professor of Yoga Philosophy and Meditation at the Hindu University of America in Orlando, FL (Hinduism Today – Sept. 2009).
* Yoga Poses are “Offerings to the 330 Million Hindu gods.” Read Here.
So, How is PraiseMoves Different from Yoga?
Certified PraiseMoves Instructors offer PraiseMoves, the Christian ALTERNATIVE to Yoga at churches, fitness centers, retreats and conferences, schools, retirement centers and elsewhere in their communities.
If you'd like to know how you can become a Certified PraiseMoves Instructor yourself, here you can enjoy Dr. Laurette's Fitness Ministry webinar replay.
If You Wonder “Do Yoga and Christianity Mix?”
* The “Lord of Yoga” is Shiva the Destroyer. Read More Here.
* So-Called “Christian Yoga” is an Oxymoron. Read Here.
* The Founder of “Christian Yoga” was a Hindu. Read Here.
* Pranayama Breathing in Yoga Opens Demonic Doors? Read Here.
Yoga's Beginnings in America
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.
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.
Yoga Connects Christianity and Hinduism?
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.
From experience, I can say that yoga is a dangerous practice for Christians 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 Namaste' Gateway?
|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.”).
This gesture done with the palms of the hands together is called a “mudra.”
According to the Yoga Journal:
“Mudra means ‘seal,' ‘gesture,' or ‘mark.' Yoga mudras are symbolic gestures often practiced with the hands and fingers. They facilitate the flow of energy in the subtle body and enhance one's journey within.”
The gesture done with palms together is known as the Prayer Mudra, or Anjali Mudra in Sanskrit. It is known as the heart seal.
I'd rather be sealed by the Holy Spirit of God. “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:21).
Another common mudra is called the Gyan Mudra — the placement of index fingertips to thumbs — used in many meditation practices. Practitioners teach mudras are a “gateway” to spiritual enlightenment–or demonic influence (which I call “endarkenment“).
Jesus said, “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23).
Poses and Chakras and gods–oh my!
Yoga poses have names such as Savasana (the Corpse Pose) and Bhujangasana (the Cobra or Snake Pose).
According to Dr. George Alexander, former Professor of World Religions at Biola University, Yoga Poses are “Offerings to the 330 Million Hindu gods.”
Do you see a “twisting” of Romans 12:1 where we are encouraged to “Present your body a living sacrifice…”?
“Abstain from things offered to idols” we're told in Acts 15:29. Would you say yoga poses are “things”? And are Hindu gods “idols”?
Even some so-called “Christian yoga” practices keep these poses in their classes (with Christian music in the background, which apparently makes them okay?).
In PraiseMoves, we are very careful to let people know we are not yoga or so-called “Christian yoga” (an oxymoron, like a “Christian Buddhist” — no such thing!).
PraiseMoves is the Christian ALTERNATIVE to yoga. Check out my debate on Moody Radio about the difference between PraiseMoves and so-called “Christian yoga” here.
When I Taught Yoga Classes as a New Ager
Before I came to Christ I taught yoga classes and attended numerous yoga classes at ashrams, fitness centers, yoga studios, gyms, New Age communities — even churches! References were made to chakras or “power centers” in the body, such as the “third eye.” Raising the kundalini (serpent energy) was promoted and sought.
The breathing done in yoga, pranayama, involves what some call the “manipulation of prana (life force energy).” Yoga instructors invite their students to “inhale, drawing in the positive energy of the universe through the top of your head–now exhale and send any negative thoughts and energy out through the soles of your feet…”
This is not an innocent physical practice. It involves dabbling in the spiritual realm — and most practitioners don't even realize that is what they are doing!
Prana's counterpart in other mystical and martial arts traditions is “chi” (Tai Chi), “ki” (karate) and “mana” (Hawaiian Huna religion). Could there be other dangers involved in yoga and Tai Chi?
These practices open one up to spiritual influences even if they say they are not doing “all that chanting and meditation stuff…”
Remember Paul the apostle, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, called Satan “the prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians 2:2 — and he wasn't speaking about oxygen or the physical atmosphere.
For more information about the dangers of yoga, hear from a former yogi, a student of “The Maharishi, and Transcendental Meditation devotee HERE
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.
When I was a Yoga Instructor (before I came to Christ, during my 22 years in yoga, ages 7 to 29), the relaxation period at the end of yoga practice was when I shared my skewed beliefs. When students were relaxed, after an hour of being told “empty your mind,” they were defenseless targets for the enemy's New Age religion which I spouted.
As Christians, we are instructed to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2), not the emptying of your mind.
Many believe that the 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” see Christian Meditation: What Is It?
CAUSING A BROTHER OR SISTER TO “STUMBLE”?
We are an example to others. There are young believers and unbelievers watching you.
Keep in mind that yoga postures are “offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods,” according to Dr. George Alexander, 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.”
Are we our sister and brother's keeper (Genesis 4:9)?
“Yoga…It’s just exercise…right?” Or is it?
For more, please see “Yoga is Religion” by L. G. Marshall, a former yogi.
* “Meet the HINDU Founder of ‘Christian Yoga'”
[…] Laurette Willis’s article on the danger of Yoga […]
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!
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.
[…] http://praisemoves.com/about-us/why-a-christian-alternative-to-yoga/ […]
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!
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!
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.
[…] 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 […]
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!
Wow That is amazing information! Thank you so much for opening my eyes and helping understand the dangers of yoga!!
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.
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!
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!
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)
This is an absolutely phenomenal ministry of insight & truth!
God bless you for this vital message!
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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!!!
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
[…] See Laurette Willis, “Why a Christian ALTERNATIVE to Yoga?” Praise Moves. Online at: http://praisemoves.com/about-us/why-a-christian-alternative-to-yoga/.  Kurt E. Koch, Occult Practices and Beliefs: A Biblical Examination from A to Z (Grand Rapids, […]
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!
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.
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!!!!
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.
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?
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
‘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%.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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
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
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!
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!
[…] 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 […]
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.
Hi, Jennifer – we have some answers here: http://praisemoves.com/faq
Thank you for your comments!
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.
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
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.
A thoughtful, rationale, thorough article that provides valuable insights above a sea of opinions and cloudiness about yoga and the Christian.
[…] A Christian Alternative to Yoga? Read this article! (this one, she has a PDF version, you can give to a […]
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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……..
[…] Laurette Willis, “Why A Christian Alternative to Yoga?” http://praisemoves.com/about-us/why-a-christian-alternative-to-yoga (Accessed Dec 14th […]
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.
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.
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!
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!
[…] PraiseMoves: http://praisemoves.com/about-us/why-a-christian-alternative-to-yoga/ […]
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.
For years, I have wanted to try yoga but always felt life it wasn’t right as a Christian. Not truly researching why, I just chose not to partake. “Christian yoga” confused me. I thank God that he lead you to help redeem the art of stretching while meditating on the goodness of God. Thank you. Be blessed.
Thank you for writing this! I appreciate the information contained here.
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.
This appears to be a great thing, but do you have anything a Senior Citizen could do….like OLD senior 🙂
Absolutely, Betty! Here you go: http://praisemoves.com/store/dvds/praisemoves-gold-dvd/
[…] Christian yoga alternative | praisemoves […]
I am not in the yoga..I dont know about yoga poses..Is stretching is demonic,Gymnastic moves like Aerial and other moves needs flexibility so Stretching is important..yoga and stretching are same or different?..
You are correct, Daniel. Simply stretching is good for the body. Gymnastic moves and physical stretches are completely fine. Yoga has a lot more attached to it on levels we cannot see. To learn more, you can pick up my free eBook here: http://bit.ly/TheTruthAboutYoga Thank you for your question. 🙂
Our 30 year old son has been faithfully practicing yoga for a year. It has helped with weight loss, stress and lower back pain. Unfortunately, about a month ago, he had a nervous breakdown and is under treatment for a newly diagnosed mood disorder(bipolar). The one thing that gives him stability is yoga from our observations. Also, He cannot work now so it also gives him something to do. About two weeks ago, he participated in some type of altered consciousness work at his yoga studio and it was revealed through this, some trauma in his childhood which was uncovered and he spoke to me about which involved me. No abuse etc. but something that as a sensitive child really traumatized him. I am very concerned that he did this and opening himself up to the evil spirits. He isn’t a practicing Christian and it is challenging to talk to him about this because of the fragility of his condition right now.
Trudy, you may want to show him this non-confrontational, enlightening eBook I put together for free here: http://bit.ly/TheTruthAboutYoga
Thank you for sharing, and I pray that your son come to a knowledge of the truth in peace and joy. Thank you for sharing with us.
My daughter, Amber, has been taking Judo. Is that similar to Yoga?
But I noticed in church that her hands were in a position that she uses when there is a brief meditation at the end of her class
Praising God making that symbol was offensive to me but I don’t know how to convince her otherwise.
Amber believes in her mind she is worshipping our God so it shouldn’t matter,
“Namaste” hands, as they’re sometimes called, predate Christianity. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, we praise God with “uplifted hands,” as we see in the Bible.
The main concern with martial arts is the spiritual aspect — the manipulation of “life force energy,” see Ephesians 2:2 — having to do with “the prince of the power of the air” (spiritual realm).
Glory to God!!! Reading this article was very much needed. It involved some tears, and a need to ask for forgiveness. Truly learning what God has to say about conforming to the things of this world, and being reminded of the truth of The Word that should be evident in all areas of our lives was amazing.
God has called me to be the salt of the earth – Mt. 5:13; The Word of God reminds me that a city set on a hill shall not be hidden – Mt. 5:14. – Today reading this article, I grab hold of His truth for my life.
Thank you Laurette for reminding me that we are an influence on others, and as they look on or follow – my prayer is that they see Christ when they see me.
I’m excited to continue applying the Word of God to my life, and becoming a certified CPI.
Enjoy this Blessed Day!!!
Do you have an updated link to your ebook? or a free download of it in PDF?
Hi, Tammy – You can have it sent to you by filling out the pop-up which appears when you come to http://PraiseMoves.com
It will be sent to you immediately. 🙂
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