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Is Yoga the Work of the Devil?
Not everyone sees Yoga as a harmless mind-body workout

Even though the event happened way back in the summer of 1990, copies of the news item still show up now and again at the occasional Yoga studio. Fundamentalist Christians in Georgia stopped the Toccoa-Stephens County Recreation Department from offering a Yoga class. Philip Lawrence, who headed the fight against the class, solicited help from a number of local church organizations. He claimed Yoga could lead to devil worship. Fundamentalist Christians, Christian conservatives and other rigid and dogmatic religious sects have some serious issues with Yoga. But they do have a point - look at some of their arguments:

(Article continued below.)

Yoga creates an altered state of consciousness, both passive and alert, which is the door to the occult!

Apparently this refers to the sense of relaxation, calmness and well-being brought about by Yoga practice. It's akin to the feeling one has after a good night's rest. And actually, yes, this is the same state of consciousness which can be used for creative visualization, meditation and even spell-casting - all of which Fundamental Christians term "occult." Most people who practice Yoga, however, just walk away from class, carrying their good feelings with them and don't go any further. If they choose to practice witchcraft, imagine themselves wealthy or anything else mystical, it's really outside of Yoga's realm. But there's always that possibility....

The practice of Yoga encourages Eastern belief systems!

It certainly can do that. The Yoga Sutras offer a philosophy which includes the Yamas and Niyamas - suggestions for living. These suggestions encourage honesty, purity, devotion, chastity, non-violence and non-stealing. Many people who practice Yoga eventually find themselves embracing many of these ideals. Of course, according to Fundamentalist Christianity, good works will not get you into Heaven - only accepting Jesus Christ as Lord will do that. While Yoga says nothing against accepting Christ, it doesn't say anything for it, either.

Yoga encourages man to see himself as God, a false belief which leaves him open to demonic possession!

The first part of this statement is illustrated quite succinctly by the term "Namaste," which means "The Divine inside of me bows to the Divine inside of you." People who delve into Yoga beyond its physical practice will quickly discover the Hindu belief that a spark of the divine exists within every living being. Hindus also believe in an immortal soul. Fundamentalist Christians disagree completely with these ideas - according to their beliefs, seeing God in yourself creates a void which can be filled with very dangerous forces. In addition, there are many conservative interpretations of the Bible which assert that the soul is not immortal and can be destroyed.

To practice Yoga is to worship false idols!

Many Yoga practitioners look up to a guru such as Paramahansa Yogananada or Babaji, for example, as a personification of the divine. That's something that would definitely put a Fundamentalist Christian on the road to Hell. Not all Yoga practitioners worship gurus, of course - the majority of them these days just take the class and go home - but there is always the risk of being tempted by one of those guru-worshippers or, worse yet, a Hindu who might start talking about Krishna.

Next page >> If Yoga's so heathen, now what? >> Page 1, 2

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