No, There is Nothing Holy About Yoga

Hello me lads!

The Mouse `ere, fresh off the aircraft at Dulles airport, searching for my earplugs while the Yanks expend large amounts of colorful explosives celebrating the old colonial stiff-arm to the magnificent British empire.  While I acknowledge that several good things have come out of America, tonight I call your red white & blue attention to a tie-dyed stain upon the glorious Adventist landscape.

The Arizona Conference has been hosting Adventist ‘Holy Yoga’ events in SDA churches throughout the Phoenix Valley.  They are calling it the Breath of Life Worship and Meditation event.

These events are wrapped in eastern mysticism (yoga) and airbrushed with a thin veneer of Christian-speak to make it appear . . .‘faithy.’  In their own words:

Breath of Life is a worship experience that combines movement, breath, and meditation in God’s Word to enhance whole body wellness.
Breath of Life is designed to help you enter into a worship experience with God.  Through connecting our minds, bodies, souls and spirits in this engaging physical form of worship, we allow God to move throughout our entire beings, we experience His breath of life.
We believe presence, love, divinity, being, consciousness, energy, individuality, creation, possibility, perspective, relativity, freedom, and collective solidarity are the core of life and reality.

This mystical ‘Adventist’ amalgamation is conducted by Golden Thread Productions, an organizational hub for Holy Yoga, Environmentalism and Interfaith Social Justice.   Golden Thread Productions has held “Holy” Yoga at Camelback Road SDA, Glendale SDA, Foothills Community SDA (Alicia Johnston’s previous church), Scottsdale Public Library.  One of the founders of Golden Thread Productions says she is a “Holy Yoga Instructor, a gift that God has given her.”  Another founder’s interests include Psytrance, Goa Trance, Shiva Shidapu, and transformational festivals.   And this is all done in the name of Jesus.  

Some photos from the Breath of Life page:

The Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists appears to be closely aligned with The Golden Thread Productions, through the Arizona Young Women's Experience.  From their website:

The Young Women's Experience is sponsored by the Youth Department and Women's Ministry under the AZ Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. Our purpose is to foster the young women of AZ while making connections across the generations in order to open doors for mentorship, relationship, and support.  Follow the Young W.E. to find out information about our exciting plans for the Young Women's Ministry in Arizona. 
Text and photo taken from the Golden Thread Productions  Facebook Page .

Text and photo taken from the Golden Thread Productions Facebook Page.

The Seven Seals Of God Consciousness

"Reclaiming wholeness and divine union with our God self requires us to not only embrace the physical body but also our spiritual or energetic bodies. Our energetic body surrounds and penetrates our physical body with our predominant energy centers or chakras running from the top of our head, down our spine, to the bottom of our feet. Chakra literally means “wheel of light.” Chakras are energy vortices that bring energy from the universal life field into our entire human system.  Chakras are the regulators of spiritual life force energy, prana or chi.  Without properly functioning chakras our health is vulnerable due to a of lack of healthy energy that is able to move through our chakras. In addition, the lack of chi or energy that can be brought into our system will limit the potential for a spiritual opening that leads us into greater states of consciousness."

While claiming to be all about Jesus, this 'spirituality' is about as murky as a cesspool outside a bean and cheese factory in Mexico.  

Can Yoga actually be Holy?

While yoga has been around for a long time, only recently has it made inroads into Christianity.  In the eastern world of its origin, yoga is a spiritual practice connected to the worship of Hindu false gods.  In the western world,  it is being presented as a stress reliever or physical exercise.  

The goal of yoga in Hinduism is to acquire deep knowledge of the Self and to unite the Self with the impersonal, all-pervading Brahman (the transcendent Ultimate reality).  Holy yoga tweaks that goal so that it sounds more “Christian”; the goal of holy yoga is to acquire deep knowledge of the Self in Christ.  During holy yoga sessions, Christian music is played in the background, and the chanting of names of Hindu deities is changed to the chanting of Bible verses.  All of this is an attempt to use yoga as a Christian worship experience to deepen one’s faith in God.  Is that even possible?  Not in a dozen fortnights.

Yoga's focus on self is fundamentally unbiblical.  The word of God never tells us to focus on ourselves, rather we are to die to self and follow the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:24).  Our focus is to be on Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith.  Concentrating on (or worshiping) creation rather than the Creator of heaven and earth is explicitly condemned in Romans 1.  

Connection with God does not come through yogic meditation, aerobic concentration, or the disassociation of one’s senses from one’s Self.  Scripture tells us that Jesus is the only way to “connect” with God (John 14:6), and the Word of God itself is sufficient to guide us through life (2 Timothy 3:16–17).   Reading the Bible and praying may sound a bit tedious to some, but those are the means God has given us to know Him better.  Holy yoga is a form of Christian mysticism that exalts experience over traditional Bible study and prayer.  Holy yoga advances the notion that breath control and the position of the body are somehow related to spiritual and mental health.  There is absolutely nothing in the Bible to suggest such a relation.

Photo from GTP Facebook page.

Teachers of holy yoga promote the practice of meditation as understood in New Age and Eastern mysticism. Yogic methods such as visualization, controlled breathing, and chanting are recommended to help practitioners clear the mind, calm the body, and connect with God.  In holy yoga, the image visualized might be a candle, a cross, or a picture of Jesus; the problem is, such visualization is not taught in Scripture and is exactly the method used in transcendental meditation and other mind-altering Progressive Spirituality techniques.  Also, Scripture warns against the empty repetition of words (Matthew 6:7), and clearing our minds is not a biblical command.  There are thousands of vulnerable young people who seek a method of forgetting God that will pass as a method of remembering Him.  Pray for these wandering Adventists that they will hit a wall in their progressive spirituality experiments and turn to the one true God for genuine freedom--as did Rick Howard, and Yip Kok Tho.

Brooke Boon, a prominent promoter of holy yoga, wrote, “Yoga can be thought of as a philosophy.  It’s the idea that by bringing a union of focus between mind and body, while simultaneously making the mind and body stronger and more flexible, we become more authentic people, able to hear God and experience Him in previously impossible ways” (Holy Yoga: Exercise for the Christian Body and Soul, New York: Faith Words, 2007, p. 8–9; quoted by Elliot Miller in “The Yoga Boom: A Call for Christian Discernment,” Christian Research Journal, volume 31, number 02, 2008).  Examine carefully what Boon says: if holy yoga allows Christians to “hear God and experience Him in previously impossible ways,” then why is the Bible silent about yoga?  Why didn’t Jesus teach yoga?  To “become more authentic people” and truly hear God, do we really need to borrow a technique from eastern mysticism?  Indeed not, Sir.

Yoga, with its roots in Hinduism, is a spiritually dangerous practice.  Simply changing the intent of the practice does not negate its inherent theological problems.  Holy yoga’s reliance on pagan notions of man’s nature, its linking of physicality with spirituality, and its support of contemplative prayer are all reasons to avoid the practice.  By the third session, you will be looking within for enlightenment.  There is none to be found there.

Yoga meditation at Camelback Rd. SDA - Phoenix.  May 11, 2017

Yoga meditation at Camelback Rd. SDA - Phoenix.  May 11, 2017

Dear friends, God is not deceived by appearances.  Putting Christian labels on conjuring techniques does not change His mind about them.  Whatever conjures up a spirit is always an offense to Him and sin for us.  Whether ignorantly conjuring up a spirit by the Kundalini energy released by Yoga exercises, or deliberately conjuring up spirit guides through meditation, the silence, or contemplative prayer, it is all part of enchantment or divination: “discovering things secret by the aid of superior beings, or other than human means.”  God clearly forbids this kind of activity:

"Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times. . . . Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God" (Leviticus 19:26, 31).  

Go, and don't do likewise.