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Yoga Isn’t an Exercise, it’s a Spiritual Practice

Yoga is a type of train, particularly stretching and deep respiratory to alleviate nervousness and stress. It’s good for the physique. It’s nice at calming the thoughts.

That doesn’t sound harmful, does it?

Well … If that’s what yoga is actually all about, then no. There’s nothing flawed with stretching the physique and training deep, calming breaths to assuage the nervous system. After all, our our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). It’s a great point to deal with ourselves. Particularly in instances of high-stress and trauma, self-care is crucial.

The downside is, yoga is an Eastern pagan spirituality. And, it’s an open door to alternate spiritualities.

Open one door and … be careful.

You can’t separate yoga from the non secular energies inherent within the follow. Practicing yoga with out incorporating Eastern pagan spirituality into the routine can’t rightly be known as “yoga.” In this case, a individual is merely stretching and respiratory.

Yoga was first talked about within the Rig Veda (one of many 4 canonical sacred texts of Hinduism), which dates to round 1,000 B.C. It incorporates and intertwines respiratory practices (pranayama) with meditation, mantras, asanas (the bodily postures) and mudras.

In case you’re unsure what a mudra is, and assume you’re not actively collaborating in Hindu spirituality if you follow yoga, a mudra is a sacred symbolic hand gesture designed to “deepen one’s practice and awaken the power of the Divine,” in accordance the favored journal, Yoga Journal. So sure, even the way you place your palms in a yoga pose has a non secular element to it.

It’s a widespread misperception within the Western world to imagine that yoga is all in regards to the bodily poses and deep respiratory, and nothing else. I’ve introduced up this subject a number of instances on Twitter, and invariably I’ve obtained the identical misguided misperceptions: folks blasting me for claiming that yoga is non secular and needs to be averted by Catholics. They state that I’m a narrow-minded and ignorant idiot for even suggesting such a factor. These folks declare that yoga is wholesome for the physique, and there’s nothing flawed with it.

They make this false declare as a result of they’ve been gaslit by the Western interpretation of an Eastern spirituality. They view yoga from their remoted perspective with out bothering to grasp its deep non secular roots—and the gods, goddesses, energies and spirits intertwined inside the follow.

It was across the centuries of 500 B.C. to 800 A.D. that yoga started to achieve recognition. Buddha, who lived between the sixth and 4th centuries B.C., developed the eight-fold path, a non secular follow that’s now thought-about the precursor of Yoga Sadhana (every day non secular follow). The purpose is specializing in controlling the thoughts by bringing the bodily physique and the consciousness underneath tight management with a purpose to expertise “nirvana.”

In different phrases, moderately than focusing one’s thoughts on Christ, the purpose is to focus solely on the inside self.

Hmm. That sounds a bit egoistic. And it leaves the door open for all types of evil to enter—starting with the unique sin, that of pleasure.

When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes by waterless locations in search of relaxation, however he finds none. Then he says, “I will return to my house from which I came.” And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put so as. Then he goes and brings with him seven different spirits extra evil than himself, they usually enter and dwell there; and the final state of that man turns into worse than the primary.” 

(Matt 12:43-45)

Although a cradle Catholic, I wandered from the Church for 9 unhappy, darkish years. During that point, I used to be concerned in a number of harmful spiritualities—I even went as far as to acquire a bachelor’s diploma in interfaith theology. (I’ve since redeemed myself by incomes a BA in Catholic theology.) I additionally attended yoga trainer coaching to develop into a licensed yoga teacher.

The bodily actions of yoga are of comparatively minor significance to the follow, whether or not the one who thinks they’re “only exercising” realizes it or not. It’s true that within the Western world, yoga has been convoluted and contorted to the purpose that individuals assume it’s stretching solely, however sadly they’re being deceived by darkness shrouding itself in a false aura of sunshine (2 Cor. 11:14).

Yoga is, at the beginning, a spirituality. If you don’t notice or acknowledge this, when you assume yoga is mere train, you don’t have any concept what yoga is.

And you’re setting your self up for a downfall.

If you authentically follow yoga, you’re by default training Hindu spirituality and honoring false gods and goddesses. Deities such because the elephant-like Ganesha or the scary, demoness Kali are half and parcel of a yoga routine and its varied asanas, mudras, and inside mindsets—whether or not you notice it or not.

“Yoga is not an exercise regimen. The eight limbs of yoga provide a spiritual way of life designed to unite us with the whole of existence. There is a tendency in the West to focus on only one limb of yoga, the asanas, or postures. This ancient science goes far beyond the mere physical aspects, by way of deepening the connection between mind, body and most important of all, the spirit. The spiritual aspect of yoga can help yogis develop integration of the inner being as well as oneness with the Supreme Consciousness. And it all starts with the body and the asanas or postures.”

(The Himalayan Yoga Institute)

Do you actually wish to join with “the Supreme Consciousness”? What does that even imply? Who are you invoking? Even if in goodwill and with good intentions, it’s simple to invoke evil spirits, as yogic philosophy proves. “Supreme Consciousness” means nothing greater than trickery at finest, and an opening to demonic forces at worst.

Don’t go there. Just. Don’t.

The well-liked journal Yoga Journal isn’t shy on touting the spirituality of yoga. Yoga is so much more than just asana. This path can also take you on an interior journey to meet your true Self.” Yet how are you going to actually discover your “true Self” if you get rid of the True God by participating in pagan practices?

You can’t. It’s unattainable. You’ll simply be opening doorways that ought to by no means exist within the first place.

I stretch on a regular basis. Every day, actually. I’m a health skilled, somebody who has made well being and wellness my profession. In 1999 I based a firm known as Advanced Workouts—a enterprise I offered in 2015 so I might write full time and research theology. However, throughout these sixteen years I supplied health consultations, taught courses at varied gyms, offered at-home exercises and tools, and have become a licensed diet marketing consultant. And, as I discussed earlier, I even turned so closely concerned in yoga that I enrolled in an intensive course to develop into an teacher.

In different phrases, I do know well being. I understand how to deal with my physique—which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19)—and tips on how to assist others discover ways to cherish the bodily present God has given them.

This means I additionally know yoga. And stretching. And the essential distinction between the 2.

“Yoga originated in ancient India as a form of religious practice that later went on to become its own theological school. It is considered to be one of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism. Yoga as a Hindu theological school is seen as a form of mysticism, but it has the same goals as any school or tradition in Hinduism. Yogis, or yoga practitioners, aim to obtain moksha or liberation from the suffering of samsara, the cycle of birth, death and rebirth that is at the center of Hinduism.”

(Stephanie Hertzenberg, Belief.web)

Catholics can and will stretch their our bodies. There are many stretching strategies and actions that assist improve flexibility, launch muscle stress after an intense exercise, and promote rest. There’s no want to interact in a yoga follow with a purpose to acquire these advantages.

Don’t assume, merely since you stretch your hammies or quads, twist to lubricate your spinal column, or arch ahead to ease the ache in your core after a robust ab routine, that you just’re training yoga.

Don’t unintentionally invite evil spirits to enter the place you don’t actually need them.

Please, by all means, make train a common a part of your life. And after a robust routine, stretching is a should. If you wish to breath deeply to calm anxious nerves, by all means accomplish that—God created your lungs, in any case. Breathe deeply and peacefully, whereas interiorly praying within the identify of Jesus.

There’s nothing flawed with this, as a result of it isn’t yoga. Yoga doesn’t have a copyright on deep respiratory and stretching. Realizing the distinction is essential.

Although the disintegration from yoga’s true non secular and cultural roots could water-down the danger of training this sort of pagan spirituality, it under no circumstances eliminates it. Remember, evil disguises itself as gentle (2 Cor. 11:14). Also keep in mind, those that follow a watered-down model of one other tradition’s spirituality are nonetheless overtly exposing themselves to the unique roots of their false-god worship and paganism.

This publish was initially printed on Missio Dei and is reprinted right here with permission of the writer.


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