Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Yoga Will Open You Up to Demonic Power

yoga is satanic

Guest post by ObstacleChick

My brother recently posted on social media a link to an article in Charisma Magazine regarding a sermon by John Lindell, pastor of James River Church, a church with four campuses in Missouri (Ozark, Joplin, and two campuses in Springfield) along with live streaming option. The title of the sermon is “Haunted: Pursuing the Paranormal.” According to the church’s website, this James River promotes the Bible as “accurate, authoritative, and applicable”; a Triune God; symbolism of communion of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection to empower us for life; that belief in Jesus along with baptism in water, setting our minds on God and His purposes, and being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit will allow us to lead the power-filled lives that God intends for us; that Jesus is coming back again to rule and reign on this earth and that history will end as the wicked are judged and the righteous will inhabit a new heaven and earth.

If you have nearly an hour to spare and care to watch his message, please watch the following video. (I was cooking at the time, so at least I was productive while listening to this ridiculous message.) Otherwise, I have provided a very brief summary below.

Video Link

In the sermon, Lindell warns of Satanic and demonic influences of five major practices common in our “post-Christian” society. He opens the sermon describing Satan as a fallen angel created by God who convinced a third of the angels to rebel with him, thus becoming demons. He says that as a created being, Satan is not all-powerful or all-knowing, and that Satan is a murderer, a liar, and a destroyer. He will be defeated by God one day.

The first practice Lindell warns against is seeking information via the paranormal, such as reading horoscopes, consulting psychics, using an Ouija board or tarot cards. He says that these people are either charlatans trying to take your money or they are opening a door to Satanic and demonic influences. The second practice is attempting to connect to powers, energies, or forces by using physical objects such as crystals or amulets or dream-catchers which supposedly open a portal to demonic activity or influence. The third is practicing Wicca, and the fourth is the typical admonition not to watch movies or read books or participate in any other media not promoting Jesus/God/True Christianity. The fifth is the warning against practicing Yoga, and his description of yoga is one of a false demonic religion (Hinduism) that opens one up to demonic influences.

As an atheist who does not believe in deities or any other supernatural forces, beings, or auras, my reaction to his sermon is that this is all ridiculous fear-mongering in order to keep the congregation away from any outside influences that might run counter to the teachings of the fundamentalist religion. Indeed, Lindell says that opening one’s mind is dangerous. Of course it is dangerous to fundamentalism, as someone may learn concepts in biology, physics, sociology, psychology, archaeology, or any of a variety of other scholarly pursuits that contradict dogmatic religious teachings.

What fascinates me is that these Christians believe that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit and all the angels are on Team Good and Satan/Beast/False Prophet/Anti-Christ and demons are all on Team Evil. It reminds me of comic books or novels, but these Christians believe that Real Live Spirits are duking it out for possession of our puny little human souls. Pastor Lindell believes that physical paraphernalia such as crystals, Ouija boards, and movie posters as well as the practice of chants, mantras, or poses (as in yoga) open up actual portals that allow these demonic spirits to affect us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (and frankly, I don’t know what spiritualism is so I use the term loosely). Pastor Lindell states that all religions other than Christianity are false religions and therefore demonic. Practicing these religions is tantamount to inviting demons into one’s home.

Yoga isn’t my favorite type of exercise, but I do it from time to time and find that it can be good for stretching and for improving my flexibility and balance. These aspects are important as we get older, particularly for those of us who do exercise in a single plane of motion such as running and weightlifting. Additionally, I like wearing yoga pants, as they are comfortable and encourage easy range of motion. Never have I experienced any demonic influence or activity while wearing yoga pants, though according to my husband and 16-year-old son, they may have had lustful thoughts – possibly demonically inspired – when seeing attractive women wearing yoga pants. That’s their problem, not mine.

Here’s what my fervently devout Christian brother commented on the article:

In its origin, design and intent, yoga is worship of Hindu deities. The word yoga means ‘to yoke’ and by extension ‘union’, as when two oxen are joined together under the same harness to plough a field. It refers to the yoking or union of the individual with the divine, and specifically, to Hindu deities. In India, hatha yoga is the physical path to the divine; the devotee dedicates his body to god through ritualistic exercise and hygiene practices. The centerpiece of yhoga is the sun salutation in which an invisible entity receives homage through a series of bowing, kneeling and prostration poses and is entreated through a series of supplicatory skyward reaching poses and prayer gestures. Aside from the salute, many yoga poses represent Hindu deities and/or are designed to direct or contain energy flow, like canals and locks that channel or dam water.

Yoga is idolatry and incompatible with Christianity. Despite the practitioner’s best intention, yoga cannot be divorced from its original purpose and redirected to some other use such as mere exercise or communion with the God of Abraham.” (Quoted from an article written by Corinna Craft)

It is no secret that meditation and prayer exert positive activities in the brain. Research shows through magnetic resonance imaging that the medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex — the mid-front and back portions — are activated during prayer or meditation. These regions are responsible for self-reflection and self-soothing. Meditation and prayer can also trigger the release of oxytocin and other “feel-good” hormones in the brain, therefore positively reinforcing the behaviors. Stretching, on the other hand, promotes other types of benefits such as increased flexibility and range of motion, improving posture, and increasing blood flow to muscles. Paired with meditation, as in certain types of yoga, these activities can allow one to experience physical and mental benefits concurrently.

Of course, a fervent Christian who believes that yoga provides demonic pathways would say that demons are deceiving us by creating mental and physical rewards for allowing them into our plane of existence. Honestly, if someone believes that there are demons, that demons are actively seeking to influence us, and that certain objects or activities open portals allowing demons to enter our plane of existence, I really don’t know how to have a rational conversation to allay those fears. Extreme forms of fundamentalist religion do a fantastic job of labeling anything “other” as “demonic,” thus inducing fear in followers in order to dissuade them from seeking activities or knowledge deemed by the religious authorities to be inappropriate. My husband suggests that I continue to be a quiet contrarian, gently stating viewpoints explained through scientific and historical evidence. Perhaps one day a nugget or two of truth will get through to my brother. In the meantime, I will practice my downward dog while wearing my yoga pants.

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11 Comments

  1. Darcy

    I looked up “yoga is worship of hindu deities.” Of course, the first several links are to websites that support that idea. Found one lonely website, Yoga Faith dot org, promoting YogaFaith as a Christ-centered yoga practice. Yup, someone has gone to the trouble of making a yoga practice aimed at Christians who could otherwise be seduced by an enemy created by Christians for Christians. You could waste your time sending that link to your brother. I’ve practiced yoga AND agnostic paganism (or pagan agnosticism?) for years. No more attuned to Hindu avatars than I was before starting yoga. All hail Kali Maa, Mother of Death! #itsajoke

    Reply
  2. Brian

    It is always quite sad to listen to preachers spout shallow parrot noises in order to help people waste their time on Sunday morning or, more seriously harm themselves by actually believing what the ‘shepherd’ is saying. I say it is sad because it harms the mind and heart to be exposed to this kind of malarky.
    And as a man who has always appreciated the human form, I know that the invention of yoga pants proves that there must indeed be a God. He created the first yoga pants and no doubt spoke them into being. Thank goodness Lululemon was listening!

    Reply
  3. Chikirin

    There was a fish who was swimming near the shore and heard Shiva conversing with his consort Parvati. She was tellign him she loved him but had trouble giving herself over to him completely so he began describing the process of doing yoga. As he did, the fish started emulating the movements Shiva was describing and he began to transform and was eventually able to leave the water and he became the world’s first yoga teacher.

    https://theaspiringyogi.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/lord-shiva-the-first-yogi/

    Reply
  4. ObstacleChick

    Darcy, what is interesting is that some of the hardcore Christians say that there is no thing as Christian yoga – that it’s still a deception by Satan. I am pretty sure everything not pastor approved is deception by Satan.

    Brian, you are correct in that this type of preaching is psychologically harmful. As for Lululemon- I have spent a good amount of $ there!

    Chikirin, that’s a nice story. I enjoy learning about mythology.

    Reply
  5. Charles

    You forgot the fundie belief that really-for-real, honest-to-goodness ghosts, ghouls, goblins, demons, zombies, and evil spirits really do come out of hiding on Halloween night and walk the Earth.

    More to the point, I really dislike the term “Post-Christian America.” It is at best a total misnomer. To be fully accurate, we now live in “Post-Christian Fundamentalist America.” I thank God for that nearly every day. Feel free to visit anytime at my blog:

    https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

    I hope you feel well soon Bruce. Your immune system works best when you are relaxed and not stressed out. Try to keep your stress level low and your thoughts and spirits high—with plenty of laughter—if you can find some good comedy on You Tube. I recommend the movie clip where Buddy Love confronts standup comedian Dave Chappelle. Healing laughter is in that one.

    Reply
  6. Chikirin

    What if humans are actually more evil than demons? What if humans don’t need to be possessed by demons to do evil deeds? Christians always warn against demons but what if a person can be evil without any help from evil spirits. Then what happens to all those scare tactics about the devil world when the devil isn’t any longer a necessary ingredient for evil.

    What if my neighbor down the street is the one plotting against me, and not the government? People like to worry about the devil, or the government, but those are just boogie men. The true danger might be something you wouldn’t guess, like your best friend or your neighbor.

    Reply
  7. Sarah

    My Hindu friend- her family is Hindu, she is not a convert (of which there is no such thing in Hindu thought) – says if she ever for some reason became a Christian she would NEVER do Yoga. Why? Because the hours spent in Temple are all hours spent doing Yoga. She didn’t accept that I believe Yoga is simply exercise. Fundamentalists are not the only people who think Christians shouldn’t do Yoga. Signed a Christian who does Yoga

    Reply
  8. Nate Klaiber

    “He will be defeated by God one day.”

    One day? By this very argument it means God could have defeated him in the past and everyone could be spared from all this nonsense. God apparently chooses to keep him around. Instead, the Old Testament shows us all of the innocent men, women, and children that are brutally killed by this God. He clearly intervenes in spacetime to kill people when he’s jealous. But…every hero needs a villain.

    Reply
  9. John

    This one is interesting. I’ve been away from religion for so long now that I forget some of these things that were thought of and said by the flavor of Christianity that I came out of. I remember, now, that a group of Bible school students who worked at a restaraunt I was working in asked if the martial art that I practiced did any kind of satan worship or anything like that. LOL I was like, what? No. We kick and punch and do forms and spar. All the instructors were Christians and at that time, I’d never even thought of the martial arts as being some devil influenced spiritual, whatever. Once I joined this cult, oh sorry, church… I started hearing these kinds of things on a regular basis. It included such things as martial arts, yoga, and meditation. I kept practicing martial arts throughout, and once I left religion behind, got into yoga and meditation. These three activities were key tools (along with a good anti-depressant) in my being able to come out of a crippling depression that lasted for years. I spent hours and hours praying for deliverance from this depression (meds were a no no as well), to no avail. It’s a real shame that so many people are believing that the very things that can help them better deal with life, are somehow going to hurt them.

    Reply
  10. Chikirin

    The bible mentions praying with inexpressible groans, and I think that’s also what happens in yoga where it goes beyond exercise and into a kind of physical act of prayer in an in between zone where the physical bleeds into the pre-vocal stage of thought where it is just energy prior to being formed into words.

    I would go to church and hear a fiery sermon and feel “convicted” but in yoga I just feel relaxed, kind of the opposite.

    Reply
  11. ObstacleChick

    Charles, not surprisingly my brother does believe that real live honest to goodness (badness?) Demons do roam the earth on Halloween and that we make it easier for said demons to prowl because we celebrate Halloween!

    Chikirin, a man who lives 1.5 miles from my house was arrested a few weeks ago for assembling pipe bombs in his basement. No demons were found on the premises….

    Sarah, that’s so interesting that your Hindu friend won’t do yoga!

    Nate, I used to question my mom to death when I was a kid because it made no sense that an omniscient omnipotent omnibenevolent deity wouldn’t intervene to stop evil – or not create it in the 1st place! I don’t know how my mom never became an atheist because of me. But instead she sent me to Christian school to further my indoctrination.

    Reply

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