Q. I'm a Christian, and I practice yoga as a part of my daily exercise plan. My sister, also a Christian, keeps warning me about yoga being demonic. I don't believe her. Who is right?
A. You're not going to like my answer.
Yoga is a Hindu practice which has, as its goal, the total loss of self-identity, and the absorption into the Ultimate Being (called Self-Realization). Participants seek to experience their own divinity while linking themselves to Brahman, thereby breaking the cycle of endless reincarnation. In fact, yoga means "to yoke, to join." To what are we physically, mentally and spiritually joining?
The most practiced form of yoga in the Western world is hatha yoga, which is considered a neutral exercise. The Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, YMCA's and gym classes nationwide incorporate it into their programs. It is also one of the six recognized systems of orthodox Hinduism. Although widely practiced, it is the most difficult form of yoga, and is potentially dangerous.
Ha and tha> represent the psychic passages which lie on either side of the spinal column. Hatha yoga suppresses the flow of energies through these passages, forcing the kundalini ("serpent power") to rise from the base of the spine through the central psychic channel in the sushumna(the spine), up through the chakras (the psychic centers of human personality and power).
Deborah Rozman, author of Meditation for Children explains, "The real purpose of yoga exercises is to put the body in a state where meditation on the One is possible." (That's NOT Jesus!)
Asanas (body postures) are the first method of arousing kundalini. Asanas are only attempted after a yogi has spent years mastering physical restraint. Premature attempts, yogis warn, may cause illness, insanity, moral decay, even death! (Your public school tax dollars at work!)
Deep breathing helps the yogi to achieve an altered state of consciousness, in order to develop psychic power. Yogis, like martial artists, acknowledge a force called prana or ch'i; a subtle, living energy force in the air. Controlled, deep breathing absorbs this force.
Next comes pratyahara, a withdrawal or detachment from the world. Pratyahara goes hand-in-hand with dharana, intense concentration. The combination of asanas, prana, pratyahara, and dharana leads to dhyana, meditation. While in an altered state, beginners are warned, have someone periodically check on you; sometimes it is difficult to bring yourself back to reality!
Yoga cannot be divorced from its occult origins.
Confess your yogic activities as sin to the Lord (because it actually is idol worship) and renounce this part of your exercise plan. Beyond that, my advice to you is: take up walking.(c) 1996, Valerie Duffy. All rights reserved.