Ex-Yogi Counters “Yogaphobia” Claims

PraiseMoves Founder Answers Christianity vs. yoga debate.

Press Release Summary:  Laurette Willis, former yogi and founder of PraiseMoves (“The Christian Alternative to yoga”), agrees with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Dr. Albert Mohler's view that yoga is more than just exercise, and is not for Christians.

According to Dr. Mohler, Christians who adhere to the Hindu practice of 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.”

Those who agree with Dr. Mohler and Ms. Willis have been labeled “yogaphobic” in dozens of articles and blog posts.

Ms. Willis seeks to “clear the air of our detractors’ ‘incense-itivity,’” she says.

PraiseMoves (“The Christian Alternative to yoga”) has been mentioned in a number of recent articles in response to Southern Baptist Leader Dr. Albert Mohler’s blog post “The Subtle Body—Should Christians Practice Yoga?

The Wall St. Journal (“Can Yoga be Christian?”), Religion Dispatches Magazine (“Is Downward Dog the Path to Hell?”) and Toronto Life (“Saluting the Sin”) and others have given PraiseMoves a nod in recent days. Several of these articles have also mentioned that Christians who alert others to the fact that yoga has its roots in Hinduism are fear-driven and “yogaphobic.”

Laurette Willis, the founder of PraiseMoves Fitness Ministry, disagrees with the “yogaphobia” label and believes Christians and Hindus alike are being unfairly persecuted for their stand that yoga is much more than just exercise.

“It is a common practice nowadays to classify anyone who embraces a different standard or viewpoint as phobic,” Willis said.  “Any logic contrary to our own must be driven by fear. The tactic seems to work. Even the most stalwart detractors are hushed when the threat of being labeled an ignorant sufferer of ‘fill-in-the-blank-phobia’ is in the air. They are hushed for, well, fear.”

Willis was a yoga practitioner and adherent to New Age ideologies for 22 years before becoming a Christian. The information she presents on her PraiseMoves.com website she says “is not fear-driven, but offered in love and based on three things.” These are:

1.     Biblical studies which counter yogic philosophy;

2.     Personal experience; and

3.     Research on yoga’s origins and religious practices [using primarily the words of Hindus, swamis, gurus and yogis (a.k.a. “Hindu missionaries” according to Swami Sivasiva Palani in his article “An Open Letter to Evangelicals” from the January 1991 issue of Hinduism Today: “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.”)].

Yoga “Religion” in Public Schools?

Recent online debates confirm that people are questioning yoga’s roots and spiritual influence. Willis believes “We may open another can of annelids when ‘inquiring minds’ investigate yoga in public schools—aren’t they ‘religion-free’ zones?”   

She adds with a wink, “Would those who refuse to look at this subject be guilty of     ‘edu-phobia’?”

Those who want to learn more about yoga, “Christian yoga” (which Willis called an “oxymoron” in TIME magazine “Stretching for Jesus” 8/29/05), and the PraiseMoves difference, visit “Why a Christian ALTERNATIVE to yoga?” (http://praisemoves.com/calt) and its accompanying article “Yoga IS Religion” by L.G. Marshall, former yogi, TM’er and follower of “The Maharishi.”

Willis shares, “As the unabashedly outspoken apostle Paul wrote to the young Timothy, ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind’” (2 Timothy 1:7).

“No fear here,” she concludes. “Just amazing grace.”

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