If one wants an excellent example of the syncretizing of the Christian faith and the Eastern religious worldview, one just needs to watch the rather remarkable interview linked below between Brooke Boone and Hindu scholar Rajiv Malhotra. If you listen to the timeline of Ms. Boon’s engagement in Yoga and then Christianity, you will see someone who didn’t give herself much time to learn, comprehend or receive discipleship in either spiritual discipline. It appears that she became a yoga teacher and book author on Hindu yoga within just a couple years of starting the practice. It doesn’t appear that she ever really submitted to the teaching of a guru after she gave her life to yoga let alone contemplate the warnings of some of the Christian voices that she heard after she gave her life to Christ. The admonition that she did not comprehend, or chose to reject, is that as a Christian, “no one can serve two masters.” You cannot fully give your life to Christ without renouncing the former life she gave to yoga. What we hear in this interview is a deeply commingled and confused understanding of the Christian faith and a supreme lack of understanding of Eastern religion.
Boone shows this confusion during her discussion with Malhotra of differences in the Hindu doctrine of karma and reincarnation and the Judaeo-Christian view of original sin. She states that “guilt, shame, and sin are an alternate, inferior reality.” This statement seems to imply that sin, guilt, and shame must be transcended through spiritual practices rather than having been crucified with Christ. She also seems to be totally surprised that Hindus might be offended by the Christianizing of yoga and the use of Holy Yoga for Christian evangelism in India. Her understanding of Christian holiness is also very confused. She states that “everything is spiritual” and since she refuses to acknowledge the reality of “false gods” then it follows that everything must be ”of God” and therefore divine.
Interestingly, the Twin Cities of Minnesota is ground zero for the Holy Yoga movement. Some of the more traditionally conservative evangelical churches are now opening their doors and rolling out their mats for Holy Yoga. There is a stunning level of naïveté regarding how Eastern religious spirituality can affect and confuse Christians. There is obviously more “FOMO” (fear of missing out) in these churches than fear of the Lord.
There is also little acknowledgment in the Holy Yoga Churches of the offensiveness of so-called “Christian yoga” in the growing Hindu community in the Twin Cities. The founder of the Hindu American Foundation started the organization while in Minnesota and the organization started a campaign several years ago called, “Take back Yoga” to restore yoga to its original Hindu roots. One of the largest Hindu temples in North America is located in the Minneapolis suburb of Maple Grove.
Lastly, what I find most appalling is that Brooke Boon who self-canonized her version of “Christian yoga” by calling it “Holy Yoga,” then says that she cannot speak for the movement she founded (34:59).
Quotes worth noting from the interview:
“Jesus really is our guru”
“We don’t use the word Namaste but there is nothing inherently wrong with it”
(34:59) – Brooke Boon Founder of Holy Yoga tells Rajiv Malhotra that she can’t speak for Holy Yoga but only for herself when it comes to understanding the difference between karmic theory and the Judaeo-Christian concept of Original Sin.
“Guilt, shame, and sin are an alternate, inferior reality”
“A river is scared because it is an emulation of the creator god.
“Holy Yoga there is no recitation (of Bible verses), you come in and get centered. It is great yoga… The breath can do the work of creating space on the interior and the mind can slow down, the body can actualize that we are the incarnate, the divine is with us. … pranayama is incredibly important, yoga is breath, meditation, and movement. Those are the three pillars. We are not afraid of pranayama. We teach advanced pranayama in our teachers … Pranayama is a distribution method for spirit.”
(57:25) – “( Holy Yoga) Is an opportunity to actualize their (i.e. Christians) own faith, to be intersected by their own diety..”
(Updated, June 25, 2017)