Sunday, May 24, 2009

Yoga- what is it?

Well first of all I would love to thank all of my friend on Facebook who gave their options about my question. The Question- Should Christians and yoga mix? Is yoga exercise or part of something else? What do you think? Is yoga an exercise or is there more to it.
To very honest with you if you asked me this question yesterday my answer would have been quite different then now. This morning I woke up and for some reason I started researching the same question myself. I ALWAYS HEARD things but never knew for myself. I was one who would say, it doesn't mean that to me. I ENJOY THE STRETCHES. But I can't say that any more. Ok, here's my disclaimer.. lol.. I FEEL in my heart that we should love everyone even if they have different views and beliefs as you. I also feel it's about a personal relationship with Christ and not just follow religious view or dogma. Our Father Elohim. even respect our free will, to serve Him or not. And He will not force Himself on a person. We have a choice to follow His ways or men. Ok back to my questions was if Christian and yoga can mix..

The word Christian means a follower of Christ. We have the belief that Christ was more then just a man but the son of the living God. And that God sent his son to save us from our sins to buy back falling men with the price of His blood.

If you consider yourself a Christian keep reading, if you don't the rest doesn’t have much meaning for you.

SATAN IS VERY GOOD OF CREATING COUNTERFITS. And most of the time they confuse people into seeing true from error.

We Christian have the Trinity = Father, Son and Holy Spirit

In Hindu they have The Hindu triad = Brahma the creator, Viṣṇu the maintainer or preserver, and Śiva the destroyer or transformer

YOGA is the creation of one of their gods. Siva is credited for the creation of yoga. Even the poses are a form of worship. One can't separate something that was created by the same origin.
Read the following links and come to you own conclusion. I'm not here to tell you what to believe, but my personal view about yoga has changed. At the end of the day, it’s all about your personal relationship with your Lord and Savior. It’s something you and Him will have to deal with. I JUST WANT people to think about my question. The word Yoga means meaning "to control", "to yoke" or "to unite" you to their gods a way to fill the space between them and their gods. ‘a bridge”

Take it from the source and learn from them first hand. These are popular yoga websites and information from the best in the land on yoga. Notice how they are proud and don’t hide the true meaning of yoga. Even the poses are as part of their worship as the practice of opening ones mind.

Without the Yamas, there is no Yoga
Dharma told us “The goal of yoga is Self-realization: to find out who you are, why you’re here, who
God is. God and the Self are the same – exactly the same.”

Beyong The Pose

Dharma Mittra “ The Jack La Lanne of Yoga” is widely known for the yoga poster which shows him in 908 different poses. The poster, originally a gift for his guru, now hangs in studios worldwide, provoking audible gasps and inspiring his fellow yogis around the globe. Originally from Brazil, Dharma Mittra has been a ‘full-time yogi’, as he puts it, since 1964. He runs the Dharma Yoga Center in New York, and at 65, he is still defying gravity by achieving feats like standing on his head with no hands.
Considering his poster, you might assume that a Dharma Mittra workshop would be full of highly technical instructions for advanced poses. But he flowed from one pose to the next, talking more about Lord Shiva and the spiritual quest than to what degree your back foot should be turned in. “Remember, the goal is not to get your foot over your head,” he told us. “The true purpose of yoga is self-realization.”
As we wrestled with the Dancer pose for a second time, Dharma Mittra talked about the importance of dedicating every pose to the Lord - not an institutional God, but the Divine Spirit, the higher self that is present in all of us. “The pose must come from your spiritual heart,” he enthused. And it struck me that the main difference between Dharma Mittra and most of us in the room was that he does indeed practice yoga as if his life depended on it.

The Origins of the Asanas

Asana means posture or pose. Its original meaning, “seat”, refers to the ultimate goal of Yoga asana: to prepare the body for rock-like steadiness in the practice of meditation. While in a seated, meditative pose yogis discovered that a straight back and deep abdominal breathing were essential to comfort and facilitated concentration. From these needs – a straight spine and deep abdominal breathing – arose the whole system of Yoga asanas.
Many poses developed by mimicking the natural positions of the animals for which they are named. The Surya Namaskars or Sun Salutation was originally a worship of Surya, the sun. As a vinyasa of twelve poses and twelve breaths, it is traditionally done twelve times all reflecting the length of the year and the sun’s path across the heavens.Prerequisites for Asana Practice

Make an Offering of Yourself
Shiva was in the forest, watching. Yet each time the sadhu's eyes turned toward him, Shiva would gracefully turn his back, revealing the splendor of Parvati, the goddess. For indeed, as those who know whisper, Shiva and Parvati, his creative power, are as one. Parvati is but the other face of Shiva.
The sadhu was so intent upon finding Lord Shiva that he did not even notice Parvati. He saw only delicate mosses, white jasmine and knotted trees bent like sages, and not the dark tresses of his Lord within the forest creepers. Shiva circled again and again, turning each time to reveal some new wonder. The sadhu remained oblivious.
The story of Shiva and the hapless sadhu plays upon the mystery of the spiritual quest, that God is both seen and unseen. Its image of Lord Shiva hiding Himself in plain sight is honored in the tradition of hatha yoga by naming the 'rotated' or twisting poses of hatha yoga 'parivritta', after the goddess Parvati, recalling the image of Shiva's turning. In rotated poses, the yogi takes his stance and then twists, turning his back and reversing the pose. The pose is thus turned inside out, bringing to the fore the unknown -- the part of the body which is unseen, hence overlooked and mysterious. Hatha yogis are celebrants of such mysteries, known for turning things -- even themselves -- on their heads to find God. Their tradition seeks the 'unseen' experience of the divine within the 'seen', within the body itself. Their postures and practices venture into the last place one would think to look, and find there the face and gestures of the Lord. The yogi finally 'sees' when he makes an offering of his own vision, sacrificing his ordinary way of seeing things for the sake of a higher, more expanded vision.

In Anusara Yoga we make each pose an offering. But what are we offering, and how? It's not that God looks down from His heaven like a doting parent and says, "Nice Dog Pose -- thank you!" The monk in the forest must have thought -- at least for a moment -- that he was making a tough and noble sacrifice, one worthy of at least a peek at God. But acts of sacrifice truly mean little and can even be deluded, until we are ripe to see through new eyes.

In yoga, spirituality involves sacrifice -- but not sacrifice in the sense of a painful relinquishment or penance. In yoga, sacrifice is not martyrdom. The body is not meant to suffer for the aspirations of the spirit, for the body is not only the offering; it is the altar, the holy ground upon which we approach the Lord. It is in and through this body that we rise higher, not apart from it. What is the offering, the sacrifice we make? We sacrifice the sense that we are separate from god. The body is not the gulf that separates us from god; it is the bridge over which we must pass to meet Him.

True Living Sacrifice:
The Bible tells us to make our self a living sacrifice to the one living God. Rom 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship.
It’s our action with our bodies and way we live our life is an offering to our creator Elohim
If the body is the temple of the living God, why use it to offer a sacrifice to another god.

Meditation, Seva, Chanting, Dakshina, Intensive And Satsang Are The Main Principle Of Siddha Yoga

What Are the Benefits of Siddha Yoga
Siddha yoga has four basic principles. The first one believes that God is in each of us and we must honor ourselves in order to worship God. We must also see God in each other. The third principle says that the heart is a sacred place and we must explore this sacredness in each of us. The fourth principle believes that nothing that is not Shiva, does not really exist.
Siddha yoga aims at bringing alignment in the lives of practitioners through meditation. It aims at bringing about divine consciousness. Siddha yoga practitioners also practice other things like chanting, dakshina, seva, hatha yoga, retreat and satsang for achieving enlightenment.
Siddha yoga teaches people to live life in the exact way and practice correct actions in all situations. It is about internal development and self improvement. It is believed that people can change their own destinies through Siddha yoga since this practice brings about a change in a person’s attitude and actions. Siddha yoga is also said to make a person healthier by curing physical as well as mental diseases. This is based on an ancient belief that the sufferings that we face now are a result of the karma of our past lives.

Lord Shiva: The Father Of Yoga

Shiva! This God represents the process of involution, dissolution, and regeneration. Shiva is the God of death. Shiva is also the father of Yoga. Lord Shiva has the distinction of being the first Yoga teacher, and his first student was a little fish. This complicated being loved deeply, and was not beyond wrath when overcome by grief.

The warrior postures are Shiva poses. Virabradra, a fierce warrior, was born when a distraught Shiva, having lost his true love, ripped the dreadlocks from his head and threw them to the ground. They hit the earth and being hair of a God, were reborn instantly into deadly warriors, who avenged his lovers death. Dreadlocks? Yes, Shiva was a deep meditator and went through a ganga phase. The Hindu Gods are such interesting beings...

Natarajasana, above, is a posture that represents Shiva in a happier phase: Enjoying a cosmic dance at the center of the universe with the Goddess Parvati (Goddess of Wisdom). The cosmic dance called "Tandava" being the starting point for all creation. Symbols in the dance represent blessings, light, and the destruction of ignorance. The dance of Shiva is the dance of life.

Read for yourself from a yoga dictionary

Mantra: "Man" means "mind" or thinking, and "tra" means to "release or free". Mantras are sacred sound vibrations, that asist in freeing the mind and to bring clarity, peace and well being. They can be used in rituals, whispered, or chanted. Hindus believe that god, good health, fortune, and victory over enemies can all be attained by chanting the right mantra.

Mudra: Hand movement mainly of the fingers, capable of expressing ideas and emotions. In yoga these sacred hand positions relate to a particular meditation, enhancing the effect of the posture.

Namaste: A tradtional Indian greeting. Two hands pressed together and held near the heart with the head gently bowed. Namaste means "I bow and honor the divine presence in you." Namaskar is another variation of Namaste.

Om: also written as 'AUM' according the Yogi's and Rishi's OM (AUM) is considered to be the sound that represents the Ultimate Reality, the primordial vibration, which is prefixed to many mantras. Om shares many of the same meanings with its Semitic counterparts: the Hebrew "Amen" and the Arabic "Amin." All three are used to open or close prayers.

Well what about Christian Yoga
Sorry that just don’t fit together.. That like saying. Christian witch, Christian spell, Christian enchantment, or Christian magic. You can’t take the good out something evil and call it good for God’s children to do.

1 Corinthians 10:21;&version=49;
God’s ways and satan’s ways don’t mix.

Isaiah 5:20-21;&version=49;
A warning from God not to call something evil good and good evil.

Acts 8 :1 – 24;&version=49; you will read how the First followers of Christ ( Phillip, Peter and John dealt with mixing of the Gospel with magic for self gains.

Act 13 :4-12;&version=49; Paul encounters an magician who opposed the Gospel and want to stop the spread of it.

Once yoga instructor, now something else!
Laurette Willis is the director of PraiseMoves. This is someone who has teach and practice yoga for 22 years and accepted Christ and developed a safer way to exercise called PraiseMove- the Christian Alternative to Yoga. Go to her website and read more about her first hand experiences with read full article)

Below are quotes from her article.

I call yoga “the missionary arm of Hinduism and the New Age movement.” We don’t often think of other religions having missionaries, but the philosophy and practice of yoga have been primary tools of Hindu “missionaries” to America since “Indian priest and mystic” Swami Vivekananda introduced yoga to the West at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.[i]
interestingly, Swami Vivekananda is attributed with the idea of combining the theory of “evolution of the soul” with his teachings of Hinduism. Instead of working out one’s “karma” by becoming a grasshopper, ant or human in progressive lives, he taught an “evolution of the soul” whereby the individual continues in an evolutionary process to “manifest the god within.”

In an article entitled “An Open Letter to Evangelicals” from the January 1991 issue of Hinduism Today, Swami Sivasiva Palani writes, “A small army of yoga missionaries – hatha, raja, siddha and kundalini – beautifully trained in the last 10 years, is about to set upon the western world. They may not call themselves Hindu, but Hindus know where yoga came from and where it goes.”

Swami Palani goes on to write, “We hope this proves useful to you. I close with a quote from Swami Vivekananda, Hinduism’s greatest modern missionary, spoken in January of 1895, ‘What I now want is a band of fiery missionaries.’ It’s a hundred years late. But it appears he’s going to get his wish.”

In the West, the term “yogi” is used to refer to anyone who practices yoga. However, in the Bhagavad-Gita, the god Krishna says that the true yogi is one who has surrendered himself “fully unto me.”

Outer Body
Yoga’s breathing techniques (pranayama) may seem stress-relieving, yet they can be an open door to the psychic realm – inhaling and exhaling certain “energies” for the purpose of relaxation and cleansing (Paul refers to satan as “the prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians 2:2, and I doubt the air to which he is referring is oxygen, but rather the psychic arena some call “the second heaven” which is certainly not a playground). Whenever you see the words prana, ki or chi, these refer to “life force” energies (see the notes on hatha yoga at the end of this article).

Both chanting and the customary relaxation period at the end of a yoga session also have an agenda that may surprise the weekend yogi. Before becoming a Christian, I remember numerous instances of “traveling outside my body” during yoga relaxation periods. I wonder who – or what – checked in when I checked out? Whether you believe such phenomena can happen or not, some medical professionals claim such experiences have led to psychosis. (Note: While Christians cannot be “possessed” since the Holy Spirit resides in your re-created human spirit, one may be “oppressed” by demonic influences.) This outer body experience actually happen to me back in 1999 when I brought a yoga class to the wellness center I was running. I thought this was a great feeling and something good about yoga. Until now! It really felt great, but now I know the true reason and what was going on. Could this be a reason why people enjoy yoga as well? - CJ

Ok, what does a Hindu professor say about yoga?
Subhas R. Tiwari is a professor at the Hindu University of America. He is a graduate of the famed Bihar Yoga Bharati University with a master's degree in yoga philosophy. ( read full article)

Yoga Renamed Is Still Hindu
From Hinduism Today magazine 2006

I challenge attempts to snatch yoga from its roots
In the past few months I have received several calls from journalists around the country seeking my views on the question of whether the newly minted "Christian Yoga " is really yoga.
My response is, "The simple, immutable fact is that yoga originated from the Vedic or Hindu culture. Its techniques were not adopted by Hinduism, but originated from it." These facts need to be unequivocally stated in light of some of the things being written to the contrary by yoga teachers. The effort to separate yoga from Hinduism must be challenged because it runs counter to the fundamental principles upon which yoga itself is premised, the yamas (restraints) and niyamas (observances). These ethical tenets and religious practices are the first two limbs of the eight-limbed ashtanga yoga system which also includes asana (postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (contemplation/Self Realization). Efforts to separate yoga from its spiritual center reveal ignorance of the goal of yoga.
I believe such efforts point to a concerted, long-term plan to deny yoga its origin. This effort to extricate yoga from its Hindu mold and cast it under another name is far from innocent. It is reminiscent of the pattern evident throughout the long history and dynamics of colonizing powers. Firstly, the physical geography of a people was colonized, then their mental arena. Now we are witnessing the next phase, the encroachment on the spiritual territory of Hinduism which began in the last few decades. Some of the agents behind "Christian Yoga " also draw from the same treasure chest which supports the conversion movements of Hindus and other sacred cultures.

Read what the Southern Baptist Convention said about Christian Yoga:
Here is another source of information but from Anointed Ministries
. I don’t know him and have not reviewed his background. But the information he shares about yoga is worth reading.

My conclusion:
Yoga was introduced to the US back in 1893 as a missionary arm of Hindu religion. And over time it has grown to a point where it is today 15 – 20 million people practice yoga in US. If someone, came up to a person back in the 1893 with pictures of all their gods, how many people do you think they would have attracted to their religion. But by teaching yoga could be a binding force that could connect all religions was easier to adapt. And that idea of mixing truth and error goes back to the Garden of Eden. The human mind will want to try it, and then slowly a person is introduced to the New Age – spiritual practices and beliefs. What seems harmless; turn out to be the Fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Ok, Casio what should I do now?

1. First pray about the information I shared with you. And ask for the Lord to give you an open heart to process this new information. My goal wasn’t to convince you to think a certain way, but I had a conviction to share what I found. And as a Christian health and fitness educator, something I thought to be an exercise method turns out to be something quite different. You have to make that decision on your own. It’s between you and your Savior. I’m not here to judge, but to help share facts. Being a Christian is a hard road to follow, because of all the temptations and ungodly things around us seems so wonderful and a delight. But our delight should come from the Lord Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

2. Search for other safe “exercises” (remember yoga was never created as form of exercise, rather a form of worship) There are other safe movements you can do to increase your flexibility or range of motion. I haven’t made contact with the created of PraiseMoves yet, but I will. But from what I see, it’s something to look into as a safe alternative to yoga. Or just continue to perform basic stretches. There are several posters and book out there.

3. We need to understand we are witness to others and if we call ourselves a Christian our actions needs to display those Christian characteristic that sets us apart form the World. Read Rom 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

It’s not a legalistic approach to challenge yoga, yoga is what it is.

Casio Jones.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Casio - you put a lot of time and research into that. I've read and considered and prayed about all of these things myself. I teach "yoga" in a strictly fitness a gym, no Sanskrit, no meditation, no silliness. But that's NOT to say I'm disagreeing with you. My conclusion (for me) was that I am not subject to the spiritual bondage that can be a very real part of traditional yoga. I've been bought with a price, sin (Satan) has no hold or claim on to be able to say that, I am adamant that to participate in what the world calls yoga, and in what some who don't understand (or who do understand) what they're messing with, can fall into a very real trap, I have to be wary and discerning. Obviously, as an instructor, I do believe Christians can (and from a health/fitness standpoint, should) participate in what we call yoga but MUST be aware of all the issues you raise and must be wise and discerning...a Christian should know their instructor and be very cautious entering a new class with an unknown instructor. We shouldn't be fearful - nothing can "get" us in one class with some weird yogi up front - he doesn't have that kind of power in a believer's life...but he can if we allow a foothold there and willfully continue to participate in something unwise. Good info; thanks for bringing it to our attention.

debbie said...

Thanks, Casio. I appreciate all the research you did. I know this is treading on some tough ground, but it is good for all of us to stop and prayerfully give Jesus permission to show us truth. He loves truth in the inward parts. I am thankful it is an ongoing process and it is designed to draw me closer to Him. I appreciate the reflection of God's grace in your answer. DS

Laura said...

:) Thank you Casio for all the time and effort you have obviously put into this blog. I praise God that He has removed the veal from your eyes concerning Yoga. I pray that your blog has the same effect for many others that read this as they come before the Lord, asking Him with total surrender, what His truth is. Thank you also for the way you used grace to shared the information.

Personally I have always had a check about yoga, karate or any other form of the martial arts. I was tempted to enroll my oldest in Christian Karate when he was younger, as many are and do. I believe they all are from similiar origins and satan uses the "good" that they can provide as the "apple" to get (deceive) people to chose to participate in the actitivy and sadly even their children, too.

My opinion is no one should mix or just add Christian before any of the above practices just like you cant mix oil and water. Thank you for validating my Christian belief concerning yoga. God bless you and all you do!!! & YOU do alot :)