Is yoga channeling demonic energies?

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I used to do P90x and I still do modified forms of the workout system. One of the workouts is a 90 minute yoga session. I used to do it, though I only did about 20 minutes (I get bored easily). It helped remarkably with my flexibility. Right now I have a bad creak in the neck and I think a form of stretching yogacould help it.

I Have read articles, though, where it was argued that ALL forms of yoga are variations of Hindu worship, even the innocuous stretching is actually a form of prostrating to various Hindu deities. Is there any substance to this?
 

hammondjones

Puritan Board Sophomore
Here is a response from a Hindu.
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.

Yoga's metaphysics center around the quest to attain liberation from one's conditioning caused by past karma.
Yoga is a do-it-yourself path that eliminates the need for intermediaries such as a priesthood or other institutional authority.

No place in a Christian's life. Also, see Biblical arguments against hesychasm.



Rajiv Malhotra: A Hindu View of 'Christian Yoga'
 

Reformed Reaction

Puritan Board Freshman
Agree, no place for yoga in a Christian's life.

Stretching is an important part of weight training, it aids in recovery and helps prevent injuries. The only thing you should think about when stretching is "Am I properly stretching this muscle so as to prevent injury and/or gain flexibility?"

This is and should be completely irrespective of "yoga".

Weight training and stretching are something good that God has given us, it's no surprise that there are those who would corrupt it. I am sure it is no accident that the creators of P90x included a yoga routine in the program, but I digress.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Even if it were true that yoga has connections to Hindu religion, that's immaterial, except that one should not cause a brother to stumble. If it's good for your body, do it; if not, do something else.

1 Corinthians 8:4-13 4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
 

Reformed Reaction

Puritan Board Freshman
Even if it were true that yoga has connections to Hindu religion, that's immaterial, except that one should not cause a brother to stumble. If it's good for your body, do it; if not, do something else.

1 Corinthians 8:4-13 4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
No, it's not. Yoga, if done as prescribed, is demonic.

You have taken this out of context. See verse 4: "As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols,..."

These passages do not give license to engage in demonic activities.
 

AlexanderHenderson1647

Puritan Board Freshman
You and I are in the same boat, in more ways than one. Spinal problems, P90x owners, committed Reformed Christians. Let me try and give an answer, albeit simplistic. Forgive the lengthy nature of it.

1) Our bodies are made by God and there is no other God but Jehovah. If I put my body in the "downward dog" position because my calves and back are tight, am I'm prostrating myself to one of many Indian deities? Nah. What about the fact that I'd used several of these that, as far as I knew, weren't even derived from yoga when I was exercising for American football? I wasn't doing it then either.

2) Further, P90x is done by a goofball atheist (I presume.) It is pretty harmless except for his foolish concessions to the "oneness of the mind, body, and spirit" junk. Flick off the sound or (do what I do) fast forward past it.

The only thing he really gets sideways on is the "Oms" part - again, it is at the end, skip it. He even tries to qualify that it isn't a form of prayer. Buuuuuut, that I would argue is very wicked and idolatrous. It is a known worship chant utilized in a good swath of Eastern religion. I wouldn't anymore encourage you to invoke that term devoted to the Eastern deities than I would encourage you to sit and chant, "come in Satan." It is pretty well documented what that means.

3) If Christian friends are urging others to give this up, why are they not equally stern about wrestling, or running races or certain medicines (even modern, Western types.) The Greeks wrestled and raced to please the Olympic gods. All the Olympic games were for just that. The very word pharmacist come from a word for witch-doctor - can we get meds? Many of them have ancient origins that were rooted in idolatrous worship and trance inducements. Our entire medical system is bathed in Western deities. Look at the standard with the two snakes intertwined. and the Hippocratic oath to wit, "I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment..." Both evil.

4) This exercise is not of ancient religious roots, but rather of very recent innovation that has been hijacked by mystics. If this article (edited below for content and length) has it right, it is based on Indian gymnastics.

"Ask anyone wearing a leotard and staring off into the middle distance how long yoga has been practiced, and chances are they'll tell you that it's around five thousand years old.

"The Reality: Yoga as we know it today -- a set of postures (asanas) combined with breathing techniques -- dates back to around the grand old year of 1960...In other words, yoga is as old as Bono.

"...Well, that "five thousand years old" claim rests entirely on some 5,000-year-old pictures found in the Indus Valley of a man sitting cross-legged. Though this is one of the main yoga positions, it so happens that it's also the position most people take when, you know, they sit on any flat surface.

"Yoga is first mentioned by name in some 2,500-year-old Hindu religious texts called the Upanishads, but this is actually a term relating to a method of strapping horses together -- literally the origin for our word "yoke." The Upanishads use it as a metaphor for a mental prayer technique, but as far as all those weird stretches are concerned, the texts mention exactly one physical posture, and that posture is pretty much "sit in a way that makes meditation comfortable." So the word "yoga" might describe an old Hindu teaching, but then so does the word "avatar," and nobody's claiming that the James Cameron movie reflects an unbroken line of ancient sacred tradition.

"It wasn't until the 19th century that an Indian prince named Krishnaraja Wodeyar III produced something resembling what we call yoga: a manual called the Sritattvanidhi, which listed 122 poses mostly taken from Indian gymnastics. What really kicked-started modern yoga, though, was the influence of the Imperial British, who introduced Indians to the new exercise craze that was sweeping Europe at the time.

"Later a guy named B.K.S. Iyengar came up with the idea of combining these exercise techniques with some of the teachings described in old Hindu texts like the Yoga Sutras and let the result loose on America in the 1960s. Since then, yoga fans have grown by the millions, with few realizing that they are practicing a chanted-up version of early 20th-century gym class."
Read more: 7 'Ancient' Forms of Mysticism That Are Recent Inventions | Cracked.com (be warned, there is some language that is no good.)

Now, would I suggest you head out to a class in town (whether "Christian" or not)? No, they typically insist on the 'spiritual' side of it and you are under the leadership of the teacher there. But, you have a DVD that is an environment that you control. You run no risk of committing idolatry if you come into it convinced that you have no desire to seek mystical experiences or further put yourself to search out things from the religious side of Hinduism. If you are at all tempted by those things, avoid it. If you had a background in those things and it would suck you back in, avoid it. 1. Cor 8.
 
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arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
Do isometric stretching as per Pavel's books, that'll definitely help and eliminate the need to do pagan body prayers.
 

Boosterseat_91

Puritan Board Freshman
Yoga is not inherently evil. The stretches actually do benefit the body. Pagans have an evil motive behind the practice, but that does not make the stretches themselves immoral. It's no different from martial arts. These things can be separated from their evil motive (aka idolatry).
 

Reformed Reaction

Puritan Board Freshman
Yoga is not inherently evil. The stretches actually do benefit the body. Pagans have an evil motive behind the practice, but that does not make the stretches themselves immoral. It's no different from martial arts. These things can be separated from their evil motive (aka idolatry).
Yoga is inherently evil, you even contradict yourself. Pagans have an evil motive because the original motive behind the practice is evil. No one said stretching was immoral. Many traditional Martial Arts are also demonic.
 

Boosterseat_91

Puritan Board Freshman
Yoga is inherently evil, you even contradict yourself. Pagans have an evil motive because the original motive behind the practice is evil. No one said stretching was immoral. Many traditional Martial Arts are also demonic.
Actually, no contradiction is present. I don't think you even meant to say that. What you're actually saying is yes, motive is what makes yoga evil and everyone's motive for doing yoga must of necessity always be the original motive of the first person who did yoga or idolatry. You are therefore contradicting yourself because only a practice that is not inherently evil can be made evil because of an evil motive. For example, riding a bike is not inherently evil, but if a child rides his bike out of spite and disobedience towards his mother who told him not to, then that action is sinful for that child. You are therefore defeating your own argument when you agree it is a matter of motive.

Furthermore, the original motive does not have to be the motive for every single person who ever does that action. A gun may have originally been invented with the motivation to murder someone, but that does not mean every time a gun is used, there's the motivation of murder. We are not to judge peoples' motives but their fruits. Only inherently sinful actions always have a sinful motive. You're arguing backwards by saying that a motive makes something inherently sinful - that cannot be. You must prove from Scripture that an action is inherently sinful, you cannot appeal to motive.
 

Reformed Reaction

Puritan Board Freshman
Yoga is inherently evil, you even contradict yourself. Pagans have an evil motive because the original motive behind the practice is evil. No one said stretching was immoral. Many traditional Martial Arts are also demonic.
Actually, no contradiction is present. I don't think you even meant to say that. What you're actually saying is yes, motive is what makes yoga evil and everyone's motive for doing yoga must of necessity always be the original motive of the first person who did yoga or idolatry. You are therefore contradicting yourself because only a practice that is not inherently evil can be made evil because of an evil motive. For example, riding a bike is not inherently evil, but if a child rides his bike out of spite and disobedience towards his mother who told him not to, then that action is sinful for that child. You are therefore defeating your own argument when you agree it is a matter of motive.

Furthermore, the original motive does not have to be the motive for every single person who ever does that action. A gun may have originally been invented with the motivation to murder someone, but that does not mean every time a gun is used, there's the motivation of murder. We are not to judge peoples' motives but their fruits. Only inherently sinful actions always have a sinful motive. You're arguing backwards by saying that a motive makes something inherently sinful - that cannot be. You must prove from Scripture that an action is inherently sinful, you cannot appeal to motive.
You misunderstand me so I'll try to be clear. The original purpose of yoga is demonic therefore yoga is inherently demonic.

Bad analogies are bad, guns are bicycles were not created for the purpose of practicing a false religion.

By your reasoning one could divorce all manner of demonic activities from their former roots and claim "I have Christian Liberty so judge not the intentions of my heart".

I need not use Scripture to show that Hinduism is a doctrine of demons, it is self evident.

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" - 1 Timothy 4:1
 

Boosterseat_91

Puritan Board Freshman
You misunderstand me so I'll try to be clear. The original purpose of yoga is demonic therefore yoga is inherently demonic.

Bad analogies are bad, guns are bicycles were not created for the purpose of practicing a false religion.

By your reasoning one could divorce all manner of demonic activities from their former roots and claim "I have Christian Liberty so judge not the intentions of my heart".

I need not use Scripture to show that Hinduism is a doctrine of demons, it is self evident.

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" - 1 Timothy 4:1
I did not misunderstand you. You used the word "purpose" which is the same thing as motive. If a rainstick was originally "purposed" for idolatry then the motivation for the rainstick was for it to be used in idolatry. Does that mean it is inherently sinful to put beads inside a stick and turn it up and down? NO.

Yes, you can and indeed have to distinguish an action from its motive. You're saying yoga is inherently demonic because the original people to do it used it for idolatry. That means you believe in principle that whatever original intention an invention had has to be its intention every time it is used. If it had a sinful intention it therefore becomes an inherently sinful action. So my analogies still stand.

You have to use Scripture to show that anything is inherently evil because evil is by definition that which is against God's law which is found only in Scripture. So yes, you must certainly do have to use Scripture to show that Hinduism is a doctrine of demons! It is a doctrine of demons precisely because it disagrees with the Word of God.

Again, when you admit that the motive of idolatry behind yoga is what makes it sinful, you are also admitting that yoga is not in and of itself sinful. An action that is determined to be sinful by its motive must of necessity be neutral in and of itself. Only if an action is inherently sinful must it always have a sinful motive.

Thus, the challenge is on you. What Scriptural support do you have for yoga being inherently sinful?
 

Unoriginalname

Puritan Board Junior
The original purpose of yoga is demonic therefore yoga is inherently demonic.
Many drums were created to channel spirits, therefore drums are evil. That rational is just silly. It would be similar to saying the Olympics are evil because the original ones were done to the glory of the Greek Gods. Like it or not most human activities were at one time tied to pagan worship by some group of people.

Jacob when it comes to P90x if you have an issue with doing the Yoga just do what I do and sub it for the X stretch (cause the Yoga is exceedingly boring) and maybe use the rest of the time for some cross training like swimming or jogging.
 

Rangerus

Puritan Board Junior
“The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours …but it is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walking
 

Reformed Reaction

Puritan Board Freshman
*yawn, I see no edifying purpose in the continuation of this argument.

Read this by Mark Driscoll: Christian Yoga? It's a Stretch | Pastor Mark

Cheers
Jon,

I do hope you think over some of the points made. I find it concerning that you think evil and demonic doctrine can be defined without Scripture.
Duly noted.

I gave a verse, 1 Timothy 4:1.

Please read Mark Driscoll on Yoga and let me know if you disagree with him and his use of Scripture.
 

Boosterseat_91

Puritan Board Freshman
*yawn, I see no edifying purpose in the continuation of this argument.

Read this by Mark Driscoll: Christian Yoga? It's a Stretch | Pastor Mark

Cheers
Jon

I do hope you think over some of the points made. I find it concerning that you think evil and demonic doctrine can be defined without Scripture.
Duly noted.

I gave a verse, 1 Timothy 4:1.

Please read Mark Driscoll on Yoga and let me know if you disagree with him and his use of Scripture.
Simply using the phrase doctrine of demons does not prove that yoga or anything else for that matter falls into that category. That requires exposition and explanation. I believe there are doctrines of demons (which that verse proves) but I do not believe yoga falls into this category (which this verse does not prove the opposite). You also explicitly stated "I need not use Scripture to show that Hinduism is a doctrine of demons, it is self evident," which is a very concerning statement.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I scrolled through that article and did not see a single Bible verse.

Yoga is fine as long as you leave out the mysticism.
 

Reformed Reaction

Puritan Board Freshman
I knew we would agree eventually.

Yoga without the mysticism is no longer "yoga".

So yes, engage in all the secularized "yoga" (stretching) that you like.

Verses that can be used against yoga: 1 Timothy 4:1, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Philippians 4:8, and 1 Peter 5:8
 

Boosterseat_91

Puritan Board Freshman
I knew we would agree eventually.

Yoga without the mysticism is no longer "yoga".

So yes, engage in all the secularized "yoga" (stretching) that you like.

Verses that can be used against yoga: 1 Timothy 4:1, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Philippians 4:8, and 1 Peter 5:8
As far as I know it's still called yoga so therefore yoga is not inherently evil. I think you made the issue much more complicated then it needed to be, especially by saying yoga cannot be separated from mysticism which you now seem to be saying the opposite.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
For most Westerners yoga is just another name for "stretching exercises."

I have heard similar debates about karate because some martial artists get into mysticism.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I guess to sum up where I come from on it. The "yoga" that I have done is at the beginnning part of P90x. It's basically lean over and reach for your toes while exhailing. Some parts are twisting and exhaling, while standing. Basic stretching. I have to admit, doing stuff like chataranga has popped and loosened my spine. But I don't do any of the fancy poses or Ohms.
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
If I say "Happy Thursday," I am not worshipping Thor. Unless I am deliberately thinking of him and promoting him when I say it.

"Thor's Day" used to mean something, now it really does not, except for maybe a few thousand self styled druids, and they do not bind my conscience. If it's Thursday, I'll say so, and not get all guilty about it.

If I bend over at the waist and relax my back, then slowly draw up until my hands reach for the sky, I am not worshipping any Hindu god, whether it is a so-called yoga position or not.

People stretched, in all sorts of ways, before "yoga" was invented or codified. "Yoga" is shorthand for a series of set stretching positions. Some get into the Hinduism, and that is a sin, but most just stretch this way and that, and I don't see any sin in it.
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
I like yoga. If I bring a pagan to church and he sings the songs, listens to the sermon, etc., is he really worshipping God? No, because true worship is in Spirit and truth. Likewise, if I am doing stretches that some fool somewhere claims is a worship position, that fool's beliefs have no impact on me whatsoever. Unless of course I'm doing in public and causing others to "stumble" into the worship of Hindu deities because of me stretching a little.
 
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