Yoga & Meditation

Hello Everyone, here now is chapter one of the  book Pathways to Darkness: Exposing the Dangers of Contemporary Spiritualities.
My intent was to present nearly two dozen of the dangerous psychic/occult practices that are popular today. Each chapter I tried make stand-alone pieces, which could be made into tracts to hand out to others or send out email wise to others.
You are welcome to print them out and use them in any way. It is not necessary to even name me as author. Also, and this might be better, and I am not trying sell books here, we worked to get the price of the book to as small as we could and not caring if you made any money on them or not, but if you went to, hit books in the drop-down menu, type in my name, and look for the book, you could get the Kindle version, download it to your computer,  then copy and paste chapters and print them our yourselves. Hope I am saying this rightly as I am not a real techy guy.
Our goal is to reach out to those who are caught up in the very popular demonic practices, which are extremely dangerous. Kent

 Yoga and Meditation

The following is a slightly edited chapter, # 22, “A Note to Christians on Yoga and Meditation”, from Jessica Smith’s book, The Shattering: An Encounter with Truth, published in 2015 by Deeper Revelation Books. Its focus is yoga and meditation, subjects Jessica is well acquainted with. Please keep your heart and mind open as you read this. 

I want to address the subject of yoga and meditation from the perspective of those who follow the Lord Jesus. Please know that the following is shared out of love and not judgment. . . . (Find additional information at: 

Yoga and a new, Eastern definition of meditation are becoming very attractive and popular in our culture today. By nature, we human beings want to fit in and go with the flow. I understand that. And I would guess that many of you who practice yoga or relaxation meditation techniques might rationalize that these practices are okay, because your type is not spiritual or is different from the more overtly spiritual forms I talk about. But I assure you, all forms of yoga are spiritual, and all have spiritual effects. 

In our society, yoga has been cleverly masked, being presented in one of two ways: (1) as a non-spiritual, exercise-only class, or (2) as a practice that retains spiritual aspects that are open to all religions. 

In the latter example, Christian practitioners are encouraged to continue in their practices and simply “plug in” the God of the Bible. As an ex-yoga teacher who trained in India before becoming a Christian, I can tell you that both views are absolutely inaccurate. Yoga is an ancient, pagan, spiritual practice that cannot be separated from what defines it (yoga means to yoke, to open and unite, with the spiritual realm). And the Yoga Sutras— the clear, ancient, little-discussed doctrine of yoga—is clearly antithetical to many religions, including Christianity. 19 

Why isn’t it well known that yoga is an ancient religion? Why is it being masked as a religion-neutral philosophy in today’s culture? . . . 

Fascinating scientific research published in the Journal of Health Psychology finds that while most people start yoga for exercise and stress-relief purposes, over time their purpose for maintaining the practice shifts to spiritual. 

Both students and teachers adopted yoga practice primarily for exercise and stress relief, but reported many other reasons, including flexibility, getting into shape, and depression/anxiety relief. Over 62 percent of students and 85 percent of teachers reported having changed their primary reason for practicing or discovering other reasons; for both, the top changed primary reason was spirituality. Findings suggest that most initiate yoga practice for exercise and stress relief, but for many, spirituality becomes their primary reason for maintaining practice.

1 Crystal L. Park, Kristen E. Riley, Elena Bedesin, and V. Michelle Stewart, “Why Practice Yoga? Practitioners’ Motivation for Adopting and Maintaining Yoga Practice,” Journal of Health Psychology (July 4, 2014):1–10. 

Interestingly, this doesn’t happen when taking a step aerobics class. It doesn’t happen with running or swimming or surfing or birdwatching or pole-jumping. Nor do we, in any other nonspiritual activity, find a gradual shift in purpose from physical to spiritual. Why do you think that is? Author and professor Candy Gunther Brown states the following: 

There’s also evidence that practicing something connected with religion can actually change people’s beliefs. Christians, in particular, tend to think a person’s intent determines whether something is religious. They don’t realize that active participation can actually change someone’s intent. Over time, people who start off attracted to an alternative practice because there’s a perceived health benefit start to embrace the religious ideas underneath these practices.  See Ruth Moon, “What Christians Need to Know about the Alternative Medicine,” Christianity Today, October 22, 2013.

Professor Brown is absolutely right. What is underneath the practice of yoga is what counts. And where it leads is the reason I am sharing these resources with you. 

But you don’t have to take my word for it. And even though she earned her Ph.D. at Harvard and is a leading authority on the subject, you don’t have to just take Professor Brown’s or those who published the secular scientific study in the reputable Journal of Health Psychology, either. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is known as the founder of hugely popularized Ashtanga yoga. His son, Guru Manju Pattabhi Jois, carries on the teaching of yoga throughout the world. In the quote below, Manju Jois explains his father’s stance that practice alone is enough to reap the spiritual effects—regardless of understanding: 

His (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois) philosophy is that yoga would take you automatically to the meditative state, you see . . . that’s how it will draw you into the spiritual path. See, that’s why he says the yoga asanas are important—you just do. Don’t talk about the philosophy—99 percent practice and 1 percent philosophy, that’s what he taught. You just keep doing it, keep doing it, keep doing it, then slowly it will start opening up inside of you . . .3 

3 Guy Donhaye and Eddie Stern, Guriji: A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi: Through the Eyes of His Students (New York Point Press, 2010). 

The Jois Foundation (which changed their name to the Sonima Foundation in early 2013) advocates and makes sizeable donations to public school districts in exchange for Ashtanga yoga to be taught in public schools. They also explain this view that asanas (poses) alone are a spiritual practice. While they have since washed this view from their current website as the controversy grows of propagating such a spiritual practice in public schools, dated websites have been documented expressing that asanas are the most important part of yoga because while the poses of yoga are “in appearance an external and physical discipline,” they can “spontaneously . . . lead to the experience of the last four limbs.”4 

4;http:// Press-Release-2-13-15-FINAL.pdf. (accessed March 30, 2015).13/Jul 31/yoga These last four limbs are varying levels of meditation, ending in the final limb: samadhi, which means “union with the divine.”5 

5 com’about-ashtanga-yoga.html#parampara (accessed March 19, 2015).

In other words, practicing poses alone in the context of yoga can spontaneously lead the practitioner to opening and becoming one with this supreme spirit and the spiritual realm (which is the entire point and purpose of yoga practice) regardless of understanding or intent. 

Professor Brown was invited to testify as an expert witness in the controversial Southern California case, Sedlock vs. Baird, which protested the teaching of Ashtanga yoga in the Encinitas Union School District. After extensive research, this was her finding on the issue: 21 

. . . Yoga practice—whether or not connected with verbal explanations of why one assumes bodily positions—helps one unite with the divine.6 

6 Candy Gunther Brown, “Declaration of Candy Gunther Brown,” Motion for the Issuance of an Alternative Writ of Mandamus; Memorandum of Points and Authorities; Declarations of Jennifer Sedlock, Candy Guther Brown, Ph.D., and Dean R. Broyles, Esq. Note 45, (accessed Jauary 21, 2015).


The following is a list of frequently asked questions about yoga, along with answers I believe you will find helpful. The coverage is not exhaustive; but it should provide some food for thought. 

Q: What are the religious ideas underlying yoga? 

A: Yoga is a pagan spiritual practice and has been for thousands of years. The yogic doctrine called the Yoga Sutras explains the goal of all practices along this path, which is to join or be “yoked” with Ishvara, who is also called the “source of all knowledge,” “ultimate consciousness,” “god,” or the “divine.” The yoga we find in studios and gyms is one of the ways to reach this goal. 

Yoga means “to yoke.” Many have been told it means to yoke together mind, body, and spirit. Although that sounds lovely, it is not what the term means. This yoking goes far beyond connecting the elements of one’s own person. The spiritual practice of yoga is aimed at opening oneself to the spiritual world and yoking with, connecting with, and becoming one with Ishvara, the god of the practice of yoga. This god is called many different names within varying religions and traditions. “None of these pagan gods are the Lord.” 

Everything about the practice is designed to open the practitioner to making these connections and entering a transcendent state of spiritual awakening (i.e., of yoking with Ishvara.) 

Q: Aren’t we supposed to yoke ourselves to Jesus? Why don’t just do it through yoga? 

A: There are two problems with this idea: First, Jesus says to take his yoke upon us—to walk so closely with him, that we emulate everything he says and does in order to learn from him. He does not invite us to become him. In yoga, the idea is not to take a yoke upon, but to become “one with” Ishvara. Think about the contrasts: For Christians, taking Jesus’ yoke means to 22 

walk with him, follow where he leads, and copy his example. For yoga practitioners, having yoked means to open oneself to the spiritual realm and become “one with” in the sense of being God by merging together as one. According to the Bible, we are not God. We never have been, nor will we ever be the Lord or any other version of a “god.” The Bible clearly and adamantly repeats that the Lord is the only God and we are his creation. The desire to be a god has been a deception of Satan from the beginning. . . .7 

7 See Isaiah 14:12–14; Genesis 3:4. 

Q: How do we know that Ishvara is not another name for the Lord of the Bible? 

A: There are many ways to distinguish between the two. The Lord clearly defines who he is throughout the Bible. If this question is important to you, I encourage you to research it. On my website,, you will clearly see evidenced in comparative scriptures of the Yoga Sutras and the Bible that Ishvara is a very different character, a deity whose path and practices are forbidden by the Lord of the Bible.8 

8 (accessed March 30, 2015). 

The God of the Bible is the Lord. He is the Father, the Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in one being. He declares that he is the only God, and also clearly explains that there are false gods. The Lord defines his character throughout the Bible, and he does not contradict himself. So one sure-fire way to tell that the god Ishvara is not the Lord is that Ishvara’s doctrine clearly and repeatedly contradicts biblical instruction. 

Here is just one example (feel free to visit the website for many more): 

Ishvara’s Doctrine from Yoga Sutras 3.25 and 3.32: Through meditation, one can also discover spirits and communicate with master spirits.9 

9 http://www.ashtangayoga,info/source-texts/yoga-sutra-patanjali/chapter-3/ (accessed March 18, 2015).

The Lord’s Doctrine from Deuteronomy 18:9–12: 

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. 23 

Q: Yikes! What does the Bible say about other deities? 

A: . . . The deities being sought in the practice of yoga are not the Lord of the Bible. And the divine energy (or godhead) with which practitioners become yoked is not the Lord, either. The Bible is crystal clear regarding who he is, and also about the dark truth behind any other “god.” 

Q: Well, can’t we just plug Jesus in to our yoga practice? 

A: The Lord gives his clear instruction in Deuteronomy 12:30, which admonishes us to “be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.’” 

Consider also, Deuteronomy 12:2–4: 

Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains, on the hills and under every spreading tree, where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah [the name of a pagan goddess] poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. You must not worship the LORD your God in their way. 

We are God’s treasured people; we are to be sanctified and set apart for him, not copycats of those who don’t know him. God calls us to separate ourselves, not to adapt and blend with pagan spiritual practices. Consider the warning from 2 Corinthians 6:14–17: 

For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial [Satan]? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” 

Throughout the Bible, God gives specific instructions to ensure that his followers remain set apart. He wants us far from anything that even resembles the practices of surrounding nations that follow other gods. God wants his people to be set apart, to be sanctified. 

Q: Aren’t you being legalistic? Aren’t we free from the law as it was presented in the Old Testament? 

You’re right, we are free from the law (see Romans 8:1–2). But this is not a law issue. . . .24 

I ask you to consider your example to others. I ask that, for a moment, you take yourself out of the equation and consider both Christians who are weaker in the faith and the non-Christians around you. I ask you to consider what your example of going to a class called yoga says to them. They know you are a Christian, so they assume the practice is “Christian Approved.” Do you think your endorsement increases or decreases their likelihood of digging deeper and reading up on yogic traditions, chants, and prayers? I assure you, those chants and prayers will be invocations of false gods. . . . 

The Bible, for a Reason 

The Lord gave us the Bible as a guidebook to communicate with him. It is a complete work. He tells us not to add to it, even if we receive revelation from an angel (see Galatians 1:6–12). Everything he wants us to know about how to follow him is in the Bible. Thinking that we might know better ways to commune with the Lord than the ones he prescribes . . . is the snare that has seduced humankind from the beginning: going beyond what the Lord has clearly laid out. In the Garden of Eden, Satan suggested to Eve that there was information beyond what the Lord had made known to the “first couple.” Indeed, there was. The Lord had protected Adam and Eve from it. But Eve chose to disobey, because she thought it better to discover this “truth” than to follow the Lord’s protective counsel. And she, Adam, and all of us paid for it dearly as sin entered the world. 

Not much has changed since then, either in our nature or Satan’s tactics. He still appeals to our pride, our desire to know more than the Lord outlines in the Bible. We’re still suckers for false wisdom and knowledge, even to the point of following the pagan practices strictly forbidden by the Lord. We tell ourselves that if we do them, we will connect with him “better” or “more deeply.” We think perhaps we will feel more spiritual or less stressed or might even hope to encounter a special esoteric experience if we do it our way. 

This thinking, for Christians, is a travesty. Our relationship with the Lord is not based on feelings or mysterious spiritual experiences or even seeming good health. These are quite easily manipulated by the other side. The Bible makes it clear time and time again that our relationship with the Lord is based strictly on faith and obedience—even if we don’t agree and even when we don’t understand. . . . 

Believing you have endorsed yoga (which your participation does), [others] may decide to try a class. The next thing you know, they love the way it makes them feel, so they dig deeper. They try new breathing techniques and some chanting, and soon learn more about meditation and 25 

“opening” their minds. . . . 

This scenario is happening all over the world, and it breaks my heart. Really and truly, it ought not to be. 

Yoga is not a stretch-and-tone class. Please understand this. It is an ancient, pagan, spiritual practice. Spirits have been associated with it and invoked by its practice for thousands of years. Did you know, for example, that the popular sun-salutation sequence is an act of worship to the sun god? Other poses are named after animals, celestial bodies, inanimate objects, and deities representative of pagan gods or spirits. 

There are very real spirits invoked by this practice. Period. They are being masked in today’s culture with a practice that presents itself as appealing, harmless, and even healthy. But the entire aim is to yoke the unsuspecting with the dark spiritual realm. 

MEDITATION (To Think or Not to Think?) 

Let me start this discussion by revisiting Ephesians 6:10–12, because it is so important to keep it in mind: 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

God lets us know we are warring against deceptive spirits that scheme against us. He tells us elsewhere that they are so misleading that Satan, the prince of darkness, masquerades as an angel of light.10 

10 See 2 Corinthians 11:14.It is important to remember this as we seek to uncover his schemes. 

Meditation is a word whose meaning has changed drastically in our culture. The 1828 edition of Webster’s Dictionary defines it this way: 

MEDITATION, noun [Latin meditatio.] Close or continued thought; the turning or revolving of a subject in the mind; serious contemplation. 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14. 

Notice that Webster originally listed only one definition. It was solely connected to the biblical practice of contemplation and focused study, and 26 

Scripture was quoted to show how the word is used. 

Today, popular dictionaries provide two opposing definitions of meditation: one remains rooted in the biblical tradition; another is rooted in Buddhism and Hinduism. The two are completely different, but they are routinely confused as such. It is important to clear up this misconception. 

The Lord’s instruction regarding meditation is to continually fill the mind with thoughts of him. Clearly, his intent is that we love him so much that we think about him always; we seek his will so ardently that we savor his Word, his instructions, and his awesome works (past, present, and future). This strengthens our relationship with the Lord and encourages us to delight in him, worshiping him with our thoughts and prayers. 

This is diametrically opposed to the mindfulness/Eastern spiritual tradition, which instructs practitioners to empty the mind of thought, often by focusing on a single subject such as the breath, a point on the body, an inspirational person, or an object. The term mindful is misleading in that it does not refer to a filling of the mind, but rather speaks of a state that results from the emptying of the mind of thoughts by focused concentration without thinking about the subject of focus. 

For example, if I meditate on Jesus in accordance with the biblical definition, I will think about his teachings. Perhaps I replay one of his parables and think about how it applies to my life; or I might turn my attention to and pray about a message Jesus gave that I am having a hard time understanding; or I may think about the ways Jesus shows his love to me. The point is, I am actively thinking about him. Contrarily, if I meditate on Jesus in accordance with the mindfulness/Eastern meditation definition, I may either picture an image of Jesus in my mind (self-induced visualization) or focus my gaze on a picture that is supposed to represent Jesus. I may concentrate on the sensation of love I feel in my heart that I believe is from Jesus. If thoughts arise, they are to be released. The point is to cultivate the state of detached mind, completely empty of thoughts. Do you see the difference? This is a practice aimed to let go of and clear the mind of thoughts. 

We are never instructed by the Lord to empty or clear our minds with thoughtless focus; we are instead instructed to occupy our minds with thoughts of him, turning them over in our minds. Thoughtless focus on a subject is a very different practice than thoughtful focus. 

Some have tried to meld this biblical paradigm with the mindfulness definition of meditation that is so prevalent in our culture. They claim that biblical meditation is comparable to mantra practice (repeating a sound, word, or phrase). But hopefully the above example has begun to clarify 27 

that these are two completely different and contrary practices. Jesus even specifically warns against praying vain repetitions like those who followed other spiritual traditions (see Matthew 6:7). His intent is for us to think about him and his goodness, which makes us steadfast in his ways. The pagan practice of letting go of all thought and emptying the mind of all thought and emotion leaves the mind wide open, with “space” to receive from the spiritual realm what feels like peace and revelations. . . . 

It is unmistakable that these are two distinctly different definitions of meditation. They are as antithetical as the spiritual sides they represent. 

Our Own Thoughts on Christian Meditation 

Meditation is something that is common to most, if not all, the world’s faiths. Some form of meditation is common to Buddhism (especially Zen), Hinduism (including Yoga), Sufism, Islam, Judaism (particularly Kabbalah, an occult-oriented offshoot of Judaism), and even some forms of Christianity. 

The essential Christian understanding of meditation can be broken down into three parts: a conscious focus on who God is, what God has done, and what God has said. The word “meditate” is found in most English New Testaments in Luke 21:14 and 1 Timothy 4:15. The Greek word in both passages is meletao (in Luke, a preposition comes before meletao). The word means to consider or think about. In the Luke passage Jesus is speaking: “Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer . . .” Clearly Jesus has thinking in mind. In the 1 Timothy 4:15 passage, Paul is giving instruction to his young disciple Timothy: “Practice these things, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress.” Paul urges Timothy to “practice,” with meletao being the word translated as practice. This gives us an idea about the ancient meaning of meditation, which is mindful, conscious, and reality-oriented thinking. 

In the Old Testament, meditate or meditation is found in nineteen places, mostly in the Book of Psalms. For example, in Joshua 1:8, God says to Joshua, who is Moses’ second in command, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night.” Here Joshua is instructed to focus on or think about the Word of God. In Psalm 119:15 we find, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways;” and verse 23 of that Psalm reads, “your servant will meditate on your statutes.” 

In Scripture there is nothing about an emptying or clearing of the mind. The mind, the thoughts, or the reasoning process are a far cry from the kind of meditation found in all other religious practices. 

Christianity does not view the mind as an enemy or thinking as an obstacle. Scripture says nothing about putting the mind into neutral so that the divine can therefore communicate with a person.28 

It is true that Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, among others, including contemporary people in the Christian fraternity, speak of a mystical form of meditation that encourages the blank state of mind, but this is neither biblical nor mainstream Christian practice. 

Meditation or its popular designation, contemplative prayer, may seem good and may bring a measure of peacefulness, but it is still not the same as biblical meditation. 

Why our concern with this subject? Our answer is that in the passive, altered, or trance state of conscious there is a very great danger. 

The Mindfulness/Eastern Teaching (More from Jessica Smith) 

. . . The practice of Eastern meditation operates under many names such as mindfulness and relaxation or stress relief techniques in an effort to appeal to a wider audience. Regardless of the name, the purpose and results remain the same. It often starts with feelings of peace, deepens to trancelike states of deep euphoria, and intensifies further as the practitioner “yokes” with whatever is invoked to create the state of openness. The peaceful feeling is not a physiological reaction to breathing or focusing. Eastern meditation is a spiritual practice; it produces a state of being affected by spirit. 

Not all spirits are “good” spirits; the spirit that affects the state of being I just described is not a spirit working on the side of the Lord. It is deception. Its ultimate goal is for practitioners to enter a total, trancelike stillness. The purpose is said to be the attainment of ultimate “truth” and “enlightenment.” But real truth and enlightenment are not the stock and trade of the spirits and gods with which pagan practitioners become yoked during this practice. These practitioners are as unaware as I was that they are inviting in spirits of darkness and bondage. 

Just as Satan convinced Eve that the fruit would lead to real knowledge and freedom from the limitations set by the Lord, the practice of Eastern meditation promises one thing and delivers another. The professed goal is deceptive. As with anything Satan tries to use for his purposes, the real goal is to keep the practitioner from knowing the Lord, trusting him, and being saved by him. The Bible says Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy (see John 10:10). The Eastern practice of meditation is from him. 

. . . It is important to note that the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden was not evil. The Lord created the tree. He called it the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There was nothing wrong with the tree. It was how 29 

Adam and Eve interacted with the tree that mattered. They went against the Lord’s instructions. That was the problem. 

Similarly, there is nothing inherently evil about stretching or breathing or relaxing in a cross-legged position. So where is the line? This is my advice to those of you still struggling with questions of what practices are okay and what aren’t as a follower of Jesus: If you want to pray to Jesus while you hold your push-up position, awesome—the Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Yoga doesn’t get to claim exercising and stretching. And if you want to thank and praise the Lord while taking some deep breaths, do it—the Bible says to rejoice always (this includes while breathing with short or long breaths). God gave us breathing, and meditation doesn’t get to claim it. 

But here’s the difference: if we continue to engage in these practices under the name of yoga or mindfulness meditation techniques, then we not only choose to defy the Lord’s instruction (see Deut.12), but we potentially lead others astray by openly putting our stamp of approval on everything these practices represent. It is how we approach and interact with what God has created—that is the issue. 

May I suggest that the spiritual depth, peace, or stress relief we seek can be found simply by reading God’s Word, fellowshipping with other believers, taking in solid biblical teaching, and spending time with him in prayer—by following the Lord’s instructions instead of trying to “redeem” Satan’s? 

I encourage you to try it the Lord’s way, search your heart, and ask Jesus to reveal to you his heart in this matter. 

. . . When laying out his instruction for worship in Deuteronomy 12, there is a reason the Lord did not instruct his people to simply “redeem” (as many now label) the spiritual practices of those around them by plugging his name into them. On the contrary, he adamantly commanded that everything resembling the practice be burned, smashed, and destroyed. He clearly stated his intention for his people to be separate in their acts of worship, not copycats of pagans. The Lord does not counsel against these methods because he is mean and wants to deprive us of peace and knowledge, but because he sees and knows more than we can wrap our minds around—he wants to keep us from death. 

. . . See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ (Colossians 2:8 NIV). 

I pray the Lord continues to guide you as you seek His truth.30 

Excerpts from Wikipedia 

March 10, 2022 

Yoga (Sanskrit: lit. ‘yoke’ or ‘union’) is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India and aim to control (yoke) and still the mind, recognizing a detached witness-consciousness untouched by the mind (Chitta) and mundane suffering (Duḥkha). There is a wide variety of schools of yoga, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and traditional and modern yoga is practiced worldwide. 

Two general theories exist on the origins of yoga. The linear model holds that yoga has Vedic origins, as reflected in the Vedic textual corpus, and influenced Buddhism; according to author Edward Fitzpatrick Crangle, this model is mainly supported by Hindu scholars. According to the synthesis model, yoga is a synthesis of indigenous, non-Vedic and Vedic elements; this model is favoured in Western scholarship. 

Yoga is first mentioned in the Rigveda, and is referred to in a number of the Upanishads. The first known appearance of the word “yoga” with the same meaning as the modern term is in the Katha Upanishad, which was probably composed between the fifth and third centuries BCE. Yoga continued to develop as a systematic study and practice during the fifth and sixth centuries BCE in ancient India’s ascetic and Śramaṇa movements. The most comprehensive text on Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, date to the early centuries of the Common Era; Yoga philosophy became known as one of the six orthodox philosophical schools (Darśanas) of Hinduism in the second half of the first millennium CE. Hatha yoga texts began to emerge between the ninth and 11th centuries, originating in tantra. 

The term “yoga” in the Western world often denotes a modern form of Hatha yoga and a posture-based physical fitness, stress-relief and relaxation technique, consisting largely of the asanas; this differs from traditional yoga, which focuses on meditation and release from worldly attachments. It was introduced by gurus from India after the success of Swami Vivekananda’s adaptation of yoga without asanas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Vivekananda introduced the Yoga Sutras to the West, and they became prominent after the 20th-century success of hatha yoga. 

Zen, whose name derives from the Sanskrit dhyāna via the Chinese ch’an, is a form of Mahayana Buddhism in which yoga is an integral part. 

Yoga is practiced with a variety of methods by all Indian religions. In Hinduism, practices include jnana yoga, bhakti yoga, karma yoga, kundalini yoga, and hatha yoga.31 


Some Christians integrate physical aspects of yoga, stripped from the spiritual roots of Hinduism, and other aspects of Eastern spirituality with prayer, meditation and Jesus-centric affirmations. The practice also includes renaming poses in English (rather than using the original Sanskrit terms), and abandoning involved Hindu mantras as well as the philosophy of Yoga; Yoga is associated and reframed into Christianity. This has drawn charges of cultural appropriation from various Hindu groups; scholars remain skeptical. Previously, the Roman Catholic Church, and some other Christian organizations have expressed concerns and disapproval with respect to some eastern and New Age practices that include yoga and meditation. 

Following are excerpts from a major health network site in which they recommend and explain several types of yoga to their members under a section on “Thrive Together/Stay Active”11 

11 Found at common-types-of-yoga?wt.tsrc=email_pih&cat=l, accessed August 19, 2022 : 

Yoga is a mind-body practice. It involves breathing exercises, meditation, and moving your body. It began as a spiritual practice in ancient India. Today, many people practice yoga to benefit their overall health. It can help with pain relief, depression management, and even quitting smoking.12 

12 Their reference for this statement is found in “Yoga: What You Need To Know,” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, accessed June 2, 2022.. . . Here are 4 types of yoga to try and how they can benefit your mind and body. 

Hatha is an umbrella term for several styles of yoga. Many popular classes taught in Western society fall under this category . . . Hatha yoga can improve posture, strengthen the core, and encourage mindfulness. It can also boost the immune system and help reduce symptoms of menopause. . . . 

Vinyasa has fast, constant movement where you “flow” between poses. . . . It’s a more aggressive workout than hatha and is even considered a form of aerobic activity. So, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a more intense workout or if you’re an experienced yogi. 

Ashtanga yoga shares similarities with vinyasa. It’s performed at a fast pace and features a constant flow of movements. . . . [I]n ashtanga yoga you do a series of poses in a set order. It often starts with sun salutation poses . . . 

Hot yoga is any type of yoga done in a heated room. . . . 32 

Practicing yoga can be a great addition to your self-care routine. Staying active supports your physical health and can also benefit your mental health. 

From (3/27/2023): 

The spiritual connection between yoga and Hinduism: 

The late Jay Lakhani, Hindu author and tutor with Hindu Academy, described what happens during a yogic union: 

“There’s something much more to us than meets the eye; we are more than material beings. Only through tremendous introspection can you rediscover essential identity. Not just the body, the mind, or the intellect, but the spirit that lights all of us up. And relinking ourselves with the spirit is the idea of yoga; joining up with our real nature.” 

Essentially, yoga is a spiritual practice meant to help with purifying and preparing the body and mind to first recognize one’s atman (“soul”) within, and then unite it with Brahman or the divine. Hindu philosophy views this attainment of union with the divine as the ultimate goal of human existence, and it is called “Moksha” or “Mukti.” This attainment is said to be a liberation or release from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (samsara). 

Additional quotations taken from adherents and practitioners of various spiritual paths and techniques covered in this book: 

“Meditation is essential for the development of mediumistic abilities.” (Robert Brown, We Are Eternal, p. 295) 

“Meditation opens the door to the spirit world and to spiritual experiences It is the fuel for mediumship.” (Konstanza Morning Star, Medium, p. 51) 

“Without meditation you cannot develop your spirituality, your mediumship of the ability to properly meet your Guides.” (Derek Johnsen, How to Become a Psychic Medium, p. 31) 

“I can’t stress enough how instrumental a daily meditation ritual is for anyone who wants to contact their guides.” James Van Praagh, Wisdom From Your Spirit Guides, p. 118) 

Final Comments on Yoga and Eastern Style Meditation: 

Few practitioners of Yoga and Zen would deny that an altered state of consciousness is what they routinely seek; only those who perceive of Yoga as no more than a form of physical exercise might miss seeing the deeper goals. Serious 33 

devotees of both Yoga and Zen meditation are well schooled in the techniques for detaching or removing themselves from the normal or usual state of mind in order to be at a place or state of mind other than that which is normative. 

While both Yoga and Zen utilize meditation, concentration, and focusing, and while both may use mantras, koans, and various forms of music, it is not common for practitioners of Yoga and Zen to encounter spiritual entities while in states of trance. It would actually be more common in Yoga than Zen, but much more so in shamanism, Santería, and neo-pagan disciplines like Wicca. 

Despite the fact that no mention is made by Yoga and Zen practitioners of meeting the various spirit guides, spirit animals, fairies, elves, and gods and goddesses in their trances, danger lurks nevertheless. While in trance states, Hindus and Buddhists come upon more than nothingness during deep meditation. Their western counterparts have similar experiences when learning how to enter advanced states of meditation or concentration. 

The “more” mentioned above refers to spiritual entities of some kind. Over the years, we have talked with persons who have encountered them while deep in meditation. On occasion the person is exhilarated, other times frightened. To discover the actual existence of “otherness” can be captivating, as we have expressed a number of times, even if the spiritual encounter was thought to be taking place only in one’s mind. Regardless of whether a separate reality exists in these situations, when actual spiritual beings are encountered and even conversed with, then biblically speaking, such encounters fall into the demonic realm. 

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