“Christian yoga” tycoon Brook Boon, creator of brand leading “Holy Yoga,” has a new brand extension called Kid’s “Holy” yoga. You too can become an accredited Kid’s Holy Yoga instructor for $475 by watching six two-hour webinars. You will be taught how yoga, breathing exercises and meditation will bring you children closer to (G)od.
My question is whether Ms. Boon will attempt to teach alternate-nostril “pranic” breathing techniques to the little ones. (Brooke Boon, “Holy Yoga,” 2007, p. 81) But it really doesn’t matter because Ms. Boon has written, “our use of the postures of Hatha Yoga together with the spiritual intent- although thoroughly Christian – of Bhakti Yoga are what make our practice of yoga truly holy.” (p. 8, italics in the original)
“Bhakti” yoga is the Hindu path of “devotion” to the divine. It is one of the four major paths of salvation in Hinduism. Bhakti yoga’s goal is being absorbed into the godhead and achieving “god realization.” A former Lutheran standing in front of the Anglican Cathedral in Sydney, Australia several years ago approached me passing out tracts espousing the benefits of Bhakti yoga I quizzed him on Bhakti yoga and he informed me that it would be completely compatible and additive to my Christian experience. However, it would be important to become a vegetarian for it to really work for me. It is no wonder that Minnesota Diocese’s Episcopal House of Prayer retreat center (a.k.a. yoga retreat center) specializes in vegetarian meals for its retreatants.
Ultimately, salvation through yoga is self-salvation through self-work and self-worship. The Cross of Jesus Christ and the blood atonement are often the casualties in my experience with “yogic” Christians. It ultimately leads to the denial of the necessity of blood sacrifice in Judaeo-Christian theology.
If yoga isn’t allowed in state schools in India why are evangelical pastors allowing it churches in the U.S? It would seem that the secular community in India understands something we are blind to in the U.S.
Great article from the BBC via RealClearReligion.org:
Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s top exorcist understands the reality of Yoga as do most Hindu converts to Christianity that I have met overseas. Pope Francis recently performed an public exorcism in St. Peter’s square and Fr. Amorth is petitioning him to train and allow all priests to perform the ritual.
If only pastors in the United States would read their Bibles and understand the spiritual realities behind the deceptive practice of yoga and the occult in the church, it would keep the church from further spiritual death. This includes prominent Christian leaders such as Timothy Keller and Rick Warren. Keller sees no problem with reading demonically downloaded Harry Potter books whose author purports to have been given the plots to the first several books via automatic handwriting. Warren has been courting new age healers at church conferences.
What’s next, “Christian” firewalking to build self-esteem and confidence? Yes, but that has already been practiced by the Anastenaria of Northern Greece and Southern Bulgaria. There is nothing new under the sun.
If you thought self-canonized and brand leading “Holy Yoga” wasn’t enough in the megachurches, we now have a new yoga brand extension called “Atoning Yoga.” It is “atonement,” “at-one-ment ,“and “a-toning-up” yoga combined. You get a triple benefit as you deal with your past sins, become one with “the divine,” and tone-up those flabby quads all at the same time. As the typical venues for yoga: the YMCA, community colleges and fitness centers become saturated with yoga, those pesky proselytizing yoga teachers must move further into faith-based venues (see “An Open Letter to Evangelicals”). Getting to “Moksha,” whoops, I mean grabbing a “mocha” is the order of the day at your church’s barista bar at the end of yoga class.
Seriously now, are pastors totally clueless as to what pantheism looks like? Yoga is the perfect embodiment of pantheism, monism and is extreme self-worship. Our western material culture and the fact that most seminaries do not require a single course in world-religions and alternative spiritualties has most pastors unable to easily distinguish the Christian faith from many others. Bakthi yoga and many strains of Buddhist meditation have led the mainstreamers away from the faith to the point of renouncing it altogether. Now we have the self-incarnating missional emergents becoming like the Episcopalian retreads of the 1970’s embracing almost any experiential form of faith expression as long as they can put Christian wrapper on it. Some reality and historical free-basing is in order, but never mind as there are too many videos to be sold, classes to be taught, seminars to be given, and retreats to be led. Cah-Ching! Cah-Ching! (Modern translation: the sound of your credit card being swiped through an iphone “square”)
I say this all as a believer who came to faith in a highly-reformed Calvinist church but have spent most of my Christian life in the Episcopal Church with diversions into the big box evangelical faith.
This article is linked from The Huffington Post. Christians that are into so-called “Christian Yoga” must begin to do their own research to understand what Rajiv Malhotra is saying before they make any comments regarding the compatability of Christianity and Yoga practice. I hope to later expand my comments on this important article.