Yoga and the Occult – A Former Witch Speaks Out

Below is a link to a great article on yoga by Beth Eckert on her website The Other Side of Darkness.  Her blog piece was just featured on the Charisma magazine website.  Beth not only has intimate knowledge and experience with yoga, but she also understands the relationship of yogic spirituality to witchcraft and the occult.

When will Church leaders begin to take the spiritual origins of yoga seriously!  If they don’t, they will have great difficulty reaching those involved in the New Age and yoga (Hinduism). The Church is so concerned about being “relevant”  that they cannot see idolatry when it is staring them in the face.  Meanwhile, young believers are getting confused as the Trojan horse of “evidence-based” research into yoga and “mindfulness” meditation is seen as scientific support for these practices.

Conducting a randomly-controlled scientific study on the effects of an occult practice does not cleanse it of its spiritual dimensions. Furthermore, most of the research on yoga and “mindfulness meditation” is poorly controlled and fraught with expectation bias effects.   Most studies do not have meaningful controls comparing yoga and meditation to other exercise or cognitive interventions.   However, in a quest not to appear to be anti-science and in some cases “spiritually correct,” many Christian institutions use this research to justify the adoption of the highly questionable spiritual practices and syncretize the Christian faith.  Christian leaders would do well by reading Candy Gunther Brown’s, “Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America,” and Farias and Wikholm’s “The Buddha Pill” to understand the theological implications and the state of scientific research into the practice of yoga and eastern meditation.

Beth’s blog post can be found here.  Yoga and the Occult


10 thoughts on “Yoga and the Occult – A Former Witch Speaks Out”

  1. Yoga is not “dangerous”, unless, like exercise, you do too much of it. The god “Shiva” IS the god of destruction – that word not always meaning a negative action. In Yoga it is the destruction of willful egotism, cluttered minds which prevent clarity, and destruction of anything putting a barrier to Love.

    Additionally, Yoga is not damaging or in conflict with Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or Islam and other religions or philosophies which look to Love as the ultimate answer.

    Brahma is the god of creation. Vishnu is the “top god” in Hinduism – the Preserver – of all that is Good – essentially without opposite. This is what Yoga works toward. (Yoga is NOT a religion – developed merely as a practice and ethics consideration in the Himalayas in ancient times, adopted by Hinduism as a healthy practice for body/mind/spirit). Yoga practices usually never mention “God”. The practices work to strengthen body, clear the mind, and uplift the spirit.

    Please do not dub Yoga as a “danger”; the only danger it could pose, just like religion could pose, is if it controls you or you do too much of it instead of listening to your own wisdom and good ol’ common sense!

    ENJOY the health and joy Yoga brings. God meant for us to move, dance, experience the vehicles/bodies given to us — for Good Works!!

    • Julieanna,
      I am sorry but your view is yoga is very uninformed. There are many Hindu scholars that believe that yoga cannot be separated from the Hindu religion. I am not sure where you developed your beliefs but they do not represent what many Hindus believe. The idea that yoga predates Hinduism is the same as saying that there were no religions until there were written records of religions. Many religious beliefs and practices were transmitted by oral tradition prior to the development of written language in their respective cultures. You should read the articles on the “Christian Yoga” webpage on the website as well as take a look at these articles on the “TakeBackYoga” webpage of the Hindu American Foundation which can be found here:

      Your opinions about yoga do not dictate reality. You may have succumbed to a state of “maya.” I have worked with many folks that have had devasting after effects of yoga involvement. These dangers are well documented by others not just by me. You can also read the works of Gopi Krishna and Carl Jung to gain understanding. Just as with prescription medicines, there can be side effects and some of them fatal.

      • Gopi Krishna practiced too much Yoga, and did so, alone.

        This is your view – the “dangers” are real for you.

        But in all my twenty years of moderate/wise practice, I’ve never felt anything but good – greater intuition, greater creativity, greater love. sometimes greater emotions which need moderation (same with Dancing)! And Yoga helps us moderate if we really take in Yoga’s message.

        In addition – what the Yoga does do is stir up people’s inward issues and/or toxins. This is a good thing if they are willing to face whatever is stirred up. If they aren’t willing, then the issues/toxins might be more blatant and cause more reaction. It is the issues and/or toxins, not the Yoga, that cause the “danger” if you will. Mere Yoga practice simply cannot do that unless of course, just like eating too much, you practice too much…extremes….many hours a day and all.

        Some people use Yoga as an escape from issues. Everything is rosy. But finally, the issues, having been repressed for a long time, are suddenly stirred up to come back to haunt and appear as more trouble. The issues, not the practice, is the “danger”.

        Blaming Yoga practice is, to me, not accurate.

        I have hundreds of testimonies from students over nearly a decade at a large HMO network. They practiced Yoga no more than twice a week – 1-1/2 hours each class. Sometimes they asked for help with a Sadhana (a daily practice), but I would give them simple wake-up kryias / asanas / stretches and breathing techniques for a 15-20 minute start for the day. Very helpful! Everyone but two (that I recall) loved the Yoga and reaped documented benefits. (At the end of the class series participants filled out Evaluations.) The two people in question just didn’t like Yoga that much – no bad reactions.

        As for Hinduism, rather than arguing the point as to “which came first”, maybe we should realize that any practice inside a religion may be a useful secular tool, no matter how “religious” it has been made in the religion. I have never attended any kind of Yoga class where “religion” is taught as part of the actual Yoga practice class; occasionally “positive affirmations” are shared, but they are presented in a most secular context.

        I had a friend who “escaped” her childhood abuse via her law practice and sessions with her longtime psychiatrist. And she tried “Kundalini Yoga” (with a different teacher that myself), but would not continue because it “brought up too many past emotions” which were too painful for her to handle. With proper guidance and support from a private Yoga teacher or common sense psychological counselor, I think this kind of Yoga could have been helpful to her so as to eventually come to terms with those childhood situations. Instead, she continued taking occasional Hatha Yoga classes which she enjoyed. But the psychiatric help was getting to be less and less “helpful” – causing her to even feel depressed–and without proper guidance during those down times. I “helped” as a friend, but she did not want to “tell all” that much to me; rather, she wanted to share in other less invasive ways. With her, and as she herself described:

        It wasn’t the Yoga that was a danger; it had been the childhood abuses that were damaging. The Yoga practice (esp. Kundalini) was merely a tool stirring up those memories that needed handling.

        I am not familiar with Carl Jung’s take on Yoga; however, no matter how illustrious his station in the psychology field, if he thinks Yoga is a “danger”, I must disagree on the grounds of what I’ve shared herein.

        MANY people have been helped with Yoga and meditation.

        I am certainly willing to look over the documentation of testimonies where people are saying Yoga was a danger to them. If Yoga is a danger, then I think Dance could be, too–especially Modern Dance (as in Martha Graham et al.) Modern Dance gets deeply into the emotional body and expresses out – either what is really there or as a way for dramatic presentation/taking on a character, e.g. There is much Yoga in Dance – and if you dance too much, it’s a danger, of course–a great taxing of body/emotions/mind!!

        But – much of this depends ON the state of mind of the individual. And, what is “too much” for one may not be “too much” for the next person.

        Thank you for your response…

        Kind regards,

        • The bottom line is that Hatha Yoga is a spiritual discipline that involves manipulating spiritual realities, i.e. the “kundalini” the supposed universal life force to reach spiritual and emotional ends. In a Judaeo-Christian context, much of this activity is sorcery and witchcraft, i.e. the “Siddhi” occult powers which makes it different than dancing. In my experience, and for some that I have tried to help, the kundalini experience it is like dowsing your emotional issues with gasoline and lighting a match to them. This is not the way of Christ. His burden is light. The Holy Spirit is not the same as the “Kundalini” serpent spirit.

          ” the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; ” (Galatians 5:22-23)

          “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)

  2. Father, I lift up Julieanne before You. Revelation comes from you. I bind up the spirit of darkness that has blinded her for far too long. I loose the Spirit of Truth. So, open her eyes that she might see what’s in front of her so that she may know the Truth and make the decision to walk in it. In Jesus Name!

    God loves you!

  3. It just seems like anything to clear your mind, refresh your “spirits”, have mind-fullness, “being still”, having internal awareness, are all against Christianity. And that’s yoga, meditation and even affirmations.

    Like this religions seems just really scared of their gullible followers to think clearly and eventually have some sort of revelation that this deity they believe in is extremely self-centred eg: “stillness of the mind,” which means to meditate in an attempt to achieve altered consciousness, which can allow you to have new “insights.” The Bible says to bring every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). If any humans were more like that, they will be labelled narcissistic.

    The main problem Christians have with yoga is that they believe it is entirely pagan origins, and it is still riddled with verbiage and ideas that propagate pagan practices/Eastern religious thought.
    But I dont see how Christmas and Easter have been banned from churches when in todays era of research, technology and straight up common sense has indicated the Jesus was NOT born in December and that Christmas is a pagan ritual churches adopted to attract followers. [A litttle off topic but let me provide sources. Points:
    1. shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:7-8)
    2. Jesus’ parents came to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census (Luke 2:1-4).
    Both sheperding at night and censuses were not taken in winter (December month in Judea), when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were in poor condition. Taking a census under such conditions and herding sheep would have been self-defeating. And Easter (where do you think the bunnies and eggs got its share of glory?) so I mean you cant reject one notion of what you perceive as paganism and then not only blindly accept another, but practice it annually.

    And now worst of all, one other reason why yoga is bad juju: “Deepening one’s internal-awareness helps to reveal our true nature of love, kindness, strength, and contentment through a clear presence of mind.” Oh, but your God’s word doesn’t say humans have a “true nature of love.” The Bible makes clear humans are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), and that humans are born with a nature of sin (Romans 3:10). And humans are in dire need of a savior, and that savior is Christ Jesus.
    Are you seriously justifying any unlawfulness, sinful actions to the basis of your species. Not at all thinking that you have self-control, or is that also against Christianity.
    How can this religion be so successful in creating such a codependent relationship with their deity from such outlandish claims.
    Oh wait, probably convincing the naive and gullible that – research, mindfulness, logic, science, anything out of the bible is bull crap and simply Satans way of swaying you away from this deity and if it doesnt make sense: then have faith.

  4. I see people’s postings of what they know of. There is a term called kundalini syndrome that many people that practice yoga are not familiar with. It can be very dangerous and majority of people without a proper lead or understanding can end up at crazy from it for many years. There is no such thing of practicing yoga too much or praying too much, as Gopi Krishna did it. Yes, he was dealing with it on his own but also so many people who don’t know what is going on with them deal with it on their own. Thank you.

  5. There is meditating on God, filling your mind with Scripture and prayer to God through Jesus, thinking on Him and listening for his Leading, The God Of The Bible…but this yoga practice is of Satan he wants you to empty your mind so devil’s can enter you/your mind. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit Satan or any of his Angel’s can enter you or your mind. I prayed for Julieanne too! Denounce Satan and ask for the LORD AND Blood of Christ to cleanse you!! Thank you for exposing the wickedness!! May God Bless you and Keep you!!

  6. Dear Beth,
    My name is Jessica Bruzek! I was raised up in the ways of the Bible! I went through Sunday School, Confirmation Classes, Active in my youth group and even helping clean the church among many other wonderful things! I was also in Tae Kwon Do! If it wasn’t for Tae Kwon Do I would have been either in juvy or jail! I was always teased, picked on, bullied, and even my friends were too. So, I fought back physically! However that was not the right way to handle those situations! Well, too make a long story short, Tae Kwon Do saved me from going down a different path! Now that I’m older, I have been doing Yoga here and there! I do pray and rank God that I am able to just stretch and clear my mind just for Him!
    Unfortunately, I have noticed when I do my Yoga, I do end up falling asleep because I’m so relaxed from it! I also get this weird sensation and I like it! But I haven’t done Yoga in quite a few months actually!
    So, should I not do Yoga since it goes against the Bible and God and Jesus Christ? I’ve also done pilates too! You see, I have lower back pain, neck pain, and my legs do hurt from my lower back pain! That’s why I do Yoga! Is there anything in this world not considered “an occult?”


    Jessica Bruzek


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