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10 yoga poses that offer worship to Hindu deities
Much more than just physical exercises

This article is a pictorial presentation revealing the true meaning of various yoga poses and the gods to which they are dedicated. Practitioners may or may not be consciously aware of this spiritual connection, but it still exists. Consequently, participation in the physical exercises (asanas) and breathing disciplines (pranayama) opens a door to the spiritual realm and to supernatural influences. This connection is proposed in many yogic writings and yoga websites, including the following:

As a way of connecting to, revering and paying respect to deities, many yoga postures represent not just what the deity looks like, but also everything they stand for. As we practise the posture, we put our focus on the energy and essence of the deity and look to embody their qualities.”[1]

You may want to read that again, slowly. When adherents assume certain various yoga poses, dedicated to specific gods and goddesses, a spiritual association takes place transferring “the energy and essence” of those deities into the devotee. The desired end result is the embodiment of “their qualities.” In other words, yoga positions are acts of worship (pujas) and through them, the personality traits of spiritual entities worshiped enter the hearts and lives of practitioners. If these beings truly existed, and if they were good and perfect gods, such a connection might be deemed beneficial and healthy. But what if they do not exist? What if they are merely imaginary, nothing more than humanly created myths? If so, what is the source of this ‘transformational influence’ touted by those who believe in this aspect of the yoga practice? This mystery will progressively unfold as we proceed.

Incidentally, the traditional number of deities in Hinduism is 330 million (some sources say 33 million). Surely, that is not intended to be an exact calculation of the number of gods and goddesses in that pantheon, but a poetical way of expressing the vast number of divine beings who can be worshiped. At one time, I adhered to a Far Eastern mindset (a blend of Sikhism, Hinduism, and New Age spirituality). I spoke reverently of some of the deities mentioned in this article, as if they existed. If you happen to believe in any of these belief systems, please continue reading. Know that I love you and respect the heart you have toward spirituality: living a life that is dedicated to higher values. Quite possibly, I have walked a path similar in some ways to yours—so hopefully, we will be able to relate to each other.

In 1970, I was a personal student of a well-known Indian guru. I taught Kundalini Yoga at four universities and ran a yoga ashram in Tampa, Florida. A normal day involved at least about 12-14 hours of yogic disciplines. All of that changed dramatically in a day’s time, many years ago, when I encountered the true God, he true revelation of Ultimate Reality (yes, it can be experienced). I mention this because I want you to know, I am not an uninformed outsider trying to address a subject unfamiliar to me. Quite the contrary, I have walked this path myself in a very deep commitment and I discovered that it did not lead where I desperately wanted to go. However, my personal transformation story is not the focus of this article. Together, we are going to examine ten of the most popular yoga poses and their connection to Hindu deities. In laying the foundation, though, let me first describe the meaning of one of the most basic positions assumed in meditation.

The Lotus Position

Lotus blossoms, a sacred symbol in eastern religions

The lotus flower has roots in the muck and mire beneath a body of water. However, the plant pushes its way upward so the blossoms can unfold, floating on the water, basking in the light of the sun. In like manner, the “lotus” position represents rising above the muck of the base, lower nature, through the dark waters of delusion (maya), to achieve an enlightened state of “God-consciousness.” Many Hindus and New Agers interpret this to mean a conscious awareness that human beings are actually manifestations of God. I once upheld this view, based on the related concepts of Pantheism and Monism (as found in Advaita Vedanta Hinduism). However, now, I unequivocally refute it as a false idea, the polar opposite of the truth, and one of the greatest deceptions to ever be proclaimed in the name of religion or spirituality. Even the Hindu teacher, Madhva, who embraced Dvaita Vedanta Hinduism (Dualism), claimed it is blasphemous to believe that a perfect God changes himself into an imperfect world.

The Gyan Mudra symbolically represents oneness with Brahman

This seated position (the Lotus Pose / Padmasana) is often assumed along with the Gyan mudra (a symbolic hand gesture, with the hands usually resting on the knees). The positioning of the forefinger and thumb on both hands represent the yoga devotee’s longing that his or her soul (atman: represented by the forefinger) will consciously merge into oneness with Ultimate Reality, an impersonal life-force called Brahman (represented by the thumb).[2] Brahman is a divine essence that, according to Hindu theology, already resides within every human being. This life-force is impersonal and all-pervasive. It is definitely not the same as the Everlasting Father of the Bible, a personal God, who exists outside of human beings, who is perfect in all His ways, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, who delights to enter into a relationship with those who love Him and surrender to Him, dwelling within their hearts. Brahman is depicted as a mere cosmic level of consciousness out of which a plethora of gods and goddesses manifest who have many imperfections. Both these interpretations of the nature of the Godhead cannot be correct. Truth is not subjective; it is objective. If one is right, the other must necessarily be wrong. Now let’s examine ten primary yoga poses.

Ten Yoga Poses Dedicated to Hindu Deities

The Tree Pose
The goddess Sita, courageously standing like a tree

The Tree Pose (Vrikshasana) is generally believed to be an act of devotion toward the goddess Sita (the consort of Rama, who is an incarnation of Vishnu, the Preserver-God at the head of the Hindu pantheon).[3] This pose represents an elaborate story about Rama and his wife, Queen Sita, who was kidnapped by the demon king Ravana (as told in the epic Ramayama). Outside of Ravana’s palace was a grove of Ashoka trees, which are symbols of love in Hinduism. The Tree Pose relates to the dramatic development of this fable, because Sita drew strength and comfort from nature (likely, because she is mythically presented as the daughter of Bhumi, the earth-goddess). Gazing on an Ashoka tree helped her focus on Rama and thus, maintain courage and confidence. Like an erect tree, she remained stable as she waited for divine intervention in a challenging time. In this pose, yoga devotees are sometimes encouraged to imagine themselves as both the goddess Sita and a tree.

The Tree Pose asana is also considered a position yogis assume to portray an attitude of deep penance. In this application, it is also called Bhagirathasana, in honor of a legendary Emperor, Bhagirath, who was also a yogi from India. According to legend, he stood on one leg for a very lengthy period in a penitential display to convince the Hindu god Shiva to allow the sacred river Ganges to be brought from heaven to earth.

Whichever story and attribution is correct mythologically, the tree pose represents strength, determination, and perseverence in petitioning Hindu deities for supernatural intervention.

The Dancer Pose is dedicated to Shiva
Shiva: the Destroyer-god in Hinduism

The Dancer Pose (Natarajasana) is in honor of, and an invocation toward, the god Shiva. The word Nataraja means “Lord of the dance” or “King of the dance” in Sanskrit because Shiva is the revered deity who oversees the “Cosmic Dance”: the process of reincarnation, as well as the destruction and remanifestaton of the universe.[4] As the god of death and rebirth, Shiva is sometimes imagined in his terrible aspect, as Lord of Destruction, who meditates among the corpses on a cremation ground and at times, is covered with their ashes.[5] He wears a garland of skulls and a cobra serpent around his neck. Shiva is a member of the Hindu Triumurti (meaning three forms—Brahma: the creator god, Vishnu: the preserver-god, and Shiva: the destroyer-god). On his forehead is a depiction of “the third eye,” a symbol of enlightenment. Some Hindus, called Shaivites, consider Shiva the supreme God.

The Warrior II Pose, the second of three poses that reenact a series of brutal murders

Warrior I-II-III Poses (Virabhadrasana I-II-III)

Virabhadra slaying Daksha
Virabhadra slaying Daksha with the sword

These three poses represent stages in the life of Virabhadra, whose name means “auspicious hero.” He was a god supposedly created by Shiva to avenge the death of his wife/consort, Sati, who killed herself because of her father’s rejection of her marriage to Shiva. The myth states that Virabhadra came into existence when Shiva furiously threw one of his dreadlocks to the ground. The energy released in that act caused the eruption of a ferocious-looking celestial deity with a warlike capacity.

The Warrior I Pose represents Virabhadra bursting forth from the ground propelled by Shiva’s desire for vengeance. The Warrior II Pose symbolizes Virabhadra’s violent entrance into a banquet feast being conducted by Daksha, Sati’s father, the beheading of Daksha, and the slaughter of the guests at the festival (including other gods). The Warrior III Pose is a dramatic reenactment of placing Daksha’s head on a stake. [6] Shiva later regretted his outburst of anger and its devastating results and made amends by placing the head of a goat on Daksha, who had been decapitated. Do you really want out-of-control anger and murderous attitudes like that contaminating your character? Do you really want to exhibit that kind of violent behavior, depicted in a fictional character that is neither “auspicious,” nor “heroic”? Whether you want it or not, every time you assume the three Warrior poses, that’s what you’re asking for.

Half Moon Pose

The Half Moon pose represents a mythological story about Ganesha throwing one of his tusks at the moon
The god Ganesha, supposedly the overcomer of obstacles who turns obstacles into sweets

The Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) is dedicated to Ganesha, the god who is depicted as having a human-like body but the head of an elephant. He was decapitated by Shiva because of a misunderstanding. So Shiva had his servants cut off the head of an elephant and put it on Ganesha. Because of this remarkable recovery, he is considered the “remover of obstacles” (understandably—decapitation is quite an obstacle to overcome). He supposedly takes the “obstacles” of his devoted ones and turns them into “sweets.” The story of Ganesha includes a time when he gorged himself on too many sweets causing his belly to break open and the sweets to pour out. The moon god, Chandra, laughed at him. In a display of anger, Ganesha jerked off one of his tusks and threw it at Chandra.

This humanly-authored, mythical story is being replicated every time a yoga devotee assumes the Half Moon Pose in a yoga class. The hand down represents picking up sweets; the hand up represents throwing the tusk at the moon. It is also an invocation to that deity to intervene for the yoga devotee and turn his or her obstacles into sweets. Hmmm. Now think critically and intelligently. Ponder this for a moment. Do you really think that such a story could even remotely be true? I know that millions of precious Hindu people greatly revere this god. My heart is burdened for those who do, because I remember how I, too, unquestioningly repeated ancient stories similar to this as a yoga teacher. But then, once I met the true and the living God, I realized I was actually enshrining imaginary entities who had no power to intervene in anyone’s behalf.  [7]

The Splits Pose

The Splits Pose, dedicated to the popular god Hanuman
Hanuman is a featured character in the Hindu epic Ramayana.

 

The Splits Pose (Hanumanasana) is a worshipful posture toward Hanuman, who is part monkey and part human in his appearance and is considered the god of wisdom, courage, and self-discipline. A yoga advocate offers, “This is one posture that really does require dedication and the patience of a saint to master. The monkey god Hanuman represents devotion, selfless service, dedication, and power.” [8]

The Standing Pose (Natvarasana), with the hand mudra that mimics the playing of a flute, is a worshipful offering to the Lord Krishna. It can shift from one side to the other and is intended as an aid to concentration and awareness, as well as a preparation for meditation.

The Standing Pose
The god Krishna, invoked during the Standing Pose

According to ancient Hindu writings, Krishna had 16,108 wives while on earth and 10 children by each wife, which are evidently mythological imaginings about a non-existent deity. The most popular writing about Krishna is the Bhagavad Gita, which I read almost every day when I was a yoga devotee—until I had an encounter with the true God that changed my heart, my life, and my entire worldview.[9]

The vile and vicious female deity named Kali
The Goddess Pose

The Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana) is a worshipful offering to the fierce, dark, intimidating goddess named Kali.

Kali’s appearance could be described as terrifying—with a garland of skulls, a skirt comprised of ripped-off arms, a bloody extended tongue, while brandishing a bloody sword and a decapitated head, with one foot on the chest of the god Shiva.[10] One Hindu writer explains, “Kali is a Hindu goddess of death, time, and destruction. She is the Shakti…the divine feminine power…regarded as the mother of the entirre universe” and is “a symbol of contemporary womanhood, especially in the West.” [11] Now, that’s a dark and dreadful thought. Look at the image again and ask yourself, “Is that gory goddess of death really ‘the mother of the universe’?” Then dare to add, “Is that blood-covered, violent, female entity really a role model for independent and strong women?” While you are shaking your head, imagine what would happen if all the women who do yoga—who assume “the goddess pose” in their practice—actually began seriously taking on the attributes of this humanly-manufactured, gruesome ‘goddess’ they invoke. Not a pleasant thought, is it? Some of the participating yoga studios might end up getting roped off and declared to be crime scenes.

The Crocodile Pose (Makarasana): is associated with the river goddess Ganga (a personification of the sacred river Ganges) and the sea god Varuna (the guardian of moral law) who both use Makara as a vehicle, a creature that is a mixture of a crocodile, elephant, and peacock. [12]

The Crocodile Pose
The river goddess Ganga

 

 

 

 

 

 

The goddess Saraswati
The Cat / Cow Pose

The Cat/Cow Pose (Marjariasana-Bitilasana) The words marjari (meaning cat) and bitila (meaning cow) come from Sanskrit. It is a worshipful offering to the female deity Saraswati, the consort of Brahma, the goddess of education. One advocate suggests, “Use this practice to call on Saraswati whenever you need to remember your highest truth from within, when you are standing at a crossroads in life, and when your rational mind is dominating your decision-making. Ask for a balance of receptivity and courage to follow your highest path. Trust your intuition and follow the inner YES of your life.” [13]

The Sun Salutation
Surya, the sun god

                                         

The Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) is a series of up to 12 poses in honor of a deity named Surya. The word Namaskar means greeting or salutation. “In Hinduism, Surya is the God of the sun, understood to be the creator of the universe, and in Vedic tradition the sun is symbolic of consciousness and the Divine. As such, Surya Namaskar is considered to be one of the most important yoga practices.” [14]

The Bible teaches the vanity of this kind of devotion. To the Israelites under the Old Covenant, Moses warned:

“And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the LORD your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.” (Deuteronomy 4:19)

Then in the New Testament, Paul the apostle spoke sternly concerning these idolatrous practices, saying:

“They have exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, by worshipping and serving created things, rather than the Creator—praised be he for ever. Amen.” (Romans 1:25 CJB)

Often, in polytheistic religions, various parts of the universe are associated with specific deities. Even the earth itself is deified. For instance the ancient Greek goddess Gaia is considered the personification of the earth. That pagan deity is mirrored in the Hindu pantheon as Bhumi (also known as Prithvi). However according to the Bible, the natural creation is just that—natural (not supernatural) and not to be assigned any kind of divine essence or association with various sub-deities.

Irrefutably, Yoga Poses Are Worship Offerings to Hindu Deities

As already stated, in the mind of serious yoga advocates, these poses are invocations to the associated deities, a prayerful physical statement requesting that these false gods manifest supernaturally in their hearts and lives. Even though most yoga advocates are deeply desirous of a true experience of the spiritual world, what actually happens is demonic deception and possession. All of these deities have associated idols, and the apostle Paul was very clear in warning against anything connected to idolatry. The following scripture was a reference to food offerings placed before the pictures or statues of these deities.

What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. (1 Corinthians 10:19-20 NLT)

Most importantly, the first commandment, spoken from fiery Mount Sinai by the true God and engraved in tablets of stone with His fiery finger, unequivocally declares, “You shall have no other gods!” (Exodus 20:3). Why would He demand that? Because He wants people to know truth and not be misled by myths. He longs for those who are sincerely hungry for a relationship with the Father to actually find Him instead of being deceived and sidetracked by fables.

SHIVA IS “THE LORD OF YOGA”!

The previously mentioned god, Shiva (the god of destruction in Hinduism), is also called, “The Lord of yoga.” He is often depicted doing yoga, as well as dancing in a circle of fire which represents the endless cycles of manifestation and destruction of the universe. As already explained, this is a picture of the cosmic dance of death and rebirth.

Shiva is revered as the Lord of yoga. His female consort is a goddess named Shakti. Both are involved in the supernatural experience called “Samadhi” (a term descriptive of “Self-realization” and “God-consciousness”). What actually happens is much different and very disturbing!

Shiva is expected to be very much a part of the ultimate yoga experience. This involves the awakening of something called “the kundalini” (also known as “the serpent power”) which is supposedly spiritually located at the base of spine. When this coiled, dormant energy called Shakti (named after the goddess of destruction and death) rises in serpentine fashion to the head of a yogi or yogini, it merges with Shiva (the god of destruction and death) at the crown chakra and according to Hindu yogic tradition, that is when Samadhi takes place.[15] That’s when the devotee supposedly reaches “God-consciousness,” also called Self-Realization (a realization that the individual self and the Supreme Self are one and the same!) For many practitioners of yoga, that is the ultimate goal of yoga, a delusion as ancient as the Garden of Eden. Look at the symbolism—the god of death and destruction, and the goddess of death and destruction, uniting together to consume the soul of the one meditating. A disturbing description indeed!

The Ultimate Goal of Yoga

So, the declared goal of yoga is enlightenment. The word “yoga” means “yoked”—and those who believe in it, insist it means being yoked with Universal Consciousness. This ‘enlightened’ state supposedly happens when the kundalini power rises through the spine, activating and aligning something adherents call “the chakras” (seven energy discs in the body, which incidentally are also each associated with a different Hindu deity).

The Seven Chakras (imaginary energy centers)

The existence of chakras has never been proven scientifically. The guru I studied under in 1970 taught they were “imaginary,” merely an aid to meditation. Nevertheless, back then, I personally believed in the chakras. That is no longer the case. Now I believe the goal of serious seekers of truth should not be the aligning some fictional, internal energy centers, but rather, aligning their lives with the Word of God and by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, into their hearts. The difference between these two approaches is immense. The former is mechanical; the latter is relational. The former is invented; the latter is inspired. The former is an attempt by human beings to achieve some kind of celestial bliss; the latter is God’s effort to reach human beings and make them whole.

Jesus promised the absolute value of submitting to His Lordship; it is a spectacular gift, “He who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47). This heaven-sent gift comes, not by a serpent-power being awakened from within, but by the Spirit of God entering into a yielded person from without, resulting in the experience of being “born again” (spiritual rebirth, the restoration of a right relationship with God). The fulfillent of these promises is infinitely more effective than indulging in all the occult and mystical practices that the world offers that can never connect a human being with the Creator of all things.

My Appeal to You

All of the false gods and goddesses I have mentioned in this article are inseparably a part of the yoga experience, whether they are acknowledged or not by practitioners. There is a spiritual connection that takes place to the demonic spirits that impersonate these deities even if you do not profess faith in those deities. Do you really want to expose yourself or your children to beliefs like this? Do you want such dark spiritual entities infiltrating your heart and influencing your life?

Do you dare endanger yourself, by participation in yoga classes, knowing it could cause a possible awakening of the “serpent power” (a biblical symbol of something satanic and evil)? Even the gurus and swamis warn that if a person is not properly prepared by yogic disciplines and submission to the teachings of a guru, “awakening the kundalini” can result in serious mental problems and dark occultic powers being released. That in itself is proof enough that this experience is a false and deceptive one. No person in the Bible ever had an encounter with the true God and suffered such a spiritual backlash. Of course, most of those who pursue this spiritual experience do not realize that it opens the door to serious demonic influences. So let me be blunt: yoga is not of God and does not lead to God. No wonder Acts 15:29 warns in no uncertain terms: “Abstain from things offered to idols” and that includes yoga poses.

I know that millions of yoga devotees are deeply sincere in their practice. Many are passionately pursuing truth and willingly subject themselves to very challenging disciplines in the hope of attaining oneness with the “Oversoul.” I did when I was devoted to the yoga path. I spent 12-14 hours a day doing asanas, pranayama, chanting mantras, meditating, and many other disciplines geared toward achieving God-consciousness. But Jesus very boldly proclaimed, right before He went to the cross to offer Himself for the sins of humanity:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

The One who voiced made a statement could only be one of two things: either a self-deluded egomaniac leading many astray, or the One He claimed to be: God incarnate in a human body, leading many to the glory of heaven. I absolutely know the latter to be the truth. He was not just one of many Ascended Masters and celebrated Avatars. He alone stands as the only image of the invisible God, the One who came into this world to guide us into the next (Colossians 1:15). Only Jesus was born of a virgin. Only Jesus lived a sinless life. Only Jesus died on a cross for the sins of all humanity. Only Jesus rose from the dead victoriously. And only Jesus can open the door to a relationship with the Everlasting Father.

If you are a born-again believer and a true follower of Jesus, but also a practitioner of yoga, I urge you to receive the following exhortation:

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the LORD. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

If you embrace a different belief system than Christianity, especially if you are a Hindu, a Sikh, or a New Ager, I urge you to receive Jesus’ loving invitation:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Exchange the “yoke” of yoga for the “yoke” of the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot have both simultaneously.

You can do asanas and pranayama the rest of your life and never find spiritual fulfillment. But if you find Jesus, the Bible clearly reveals that you will be complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). He loves you deeply with an everlasting love and He will overwhelm your heart with that love when you surrender to Him. If you are willing to set aside any biases or preconceived ideas about Christianityeven if you are not fully convincedI encourage you to open your heart and pray this prayer sincerely:

    “Lord Jesus, I surrender my life to You. Come into my heart. I repent of all my sins. I ask you to wash away all the evil and wrong things I have done by Your precious blood. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, Your peace, and Your joy. I believe You died on the cross for the sins of humanity and that You rose again victorious over the grave. By faith, I receive the gift of eternal life that You promised and by Your grace, I choose to serve You the remainder of my life. Deliver me from all false religious practices and establish me in the truth. In Your holy name, Jesus, Amen.”

Saying that prayer is a wonderful start, but becoming a true disciple will involve much more. Start reading the New Testament, especially the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and apply those truths to your life. Begin attending a Bible-believing church. Be baptized (full immersion) as a statement that “the old person is buried” and the new person dedicated to the true God is resurrected in Christ. Seek God to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (see the article under Biblical Writings titled The Baptism with the Holy Spirit). Rid your home and your life of all vestiges of former false religious beliefs and practices (books, CDs, statues, images, crystals, and jewelry with false religious symbols). Depart from any immoral relationships and all the things that corrupt the heart and mind. All this is a part of walking in the light. (See 1 John 1:7.)

Most importantly, turn aside from the belief that millions of deities exist, flawed supernatural beings that according to Hindu cosmology only have a temporary existence. Instead, embrace the biblical view: that the Godhead is comprised of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and is everlasting and unchanging. This is the One True God and there is no other. Jesus, the eternal form of God” (pronounced Yeshua in Hebrew), is the epitome of perfect love and He desires to pour that love into your life (Philippians 2:6). No spiritual experience can compare to the wonder of such a heaven-to-earth encounter. Once you know this immeasurable love that passes knowledge, you will never be the same. (Ephesians 3:19).

Speaking the truth in love,

Mike Shreve

Suggested further reading on this website (especially recommended for Hindus, Sikhs, Yoga advocates and those who embrace New Age Spirituality: “Is There Really Only One God?”

SEVEN REASONS I NO LONGER PRACTICE YOGA

If you would like to explore this subject even deeper, I suggest that you purchase this small booklet that is available in the store on this website or on Amazon (where you can get both a physical copy and/or an e-book). I believe it is the most concise and most convincing presentation I could share on this vitally important subject.
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REQUESTING PRAYER

Christian Counsel—If you embrace a worldview different than Christianity, and if you feel you need personal counsel, contact us. Someone in the True Light Task Force will set up a time to pray for you and with you.

Deliverance—If a “kundalini awakening” has ever happened to you, or if it is continuing to happen, especially at random times, outside of your control, you need to be set free by the power of God. First, you need to receive Jesus into your heart as your personal Savior and be born again (John 3:1-7). Second, you need to be prayed for by those who understand how to minister deliverance to you by the power of the name of Jesus. Send an email from contact page on this website and after evaluating your request, we will set up a time to pray with you.

For more information on this vital subject, you may order a physical copy of my mini-book titled: Seven Reasons I No Longer Practice Yoga at this link: https://www.thetruelight.net/wp/bookstore/   Or you may order a digital copy on Amazon.com.

You can also obtain a FREE digital download of the story of my conversion to Christianity that goes into much deeper detail: The Highest Adventure: Encountering God or you may order a physical copy in the store of this website.

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[1] https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/practice/6-sacred-yoga-poses accessed 8-30-21

[2] https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/6444/gyan-mudra accessed 8-29-21

[3] https://yogainternational.com/article/view/the-mythology-behind-vrikshasana-tree-pose/#:~:text=In%20this%20pose%2C%20imagine%20yourself,but%20her%20mind%20is%20free, accessed 5-20-24

[4] https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/lord-of-the-dance-pose/ accessed 5-20-24

[5] https://saumyakasi.org/wp/symbolism-of-lord-shiva/ accessed 5-20-24

[6] http://www.whenlifeisgood.com/the-story-of-the-yoga-warrior-poses/ accessed 9-1-21

[7] https://www.yogatrotter.com/the-story-of-ardha-chandrasana-half-moon-pose-and-the-god-ganesha/#:~:text=As%20the%20moon%20god%20continued,a%20tusk%20at%20the%20moon accessed 1-4-2024

[8] https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/practice/6-sacred-yoga-poses accessed 8-29-21

[9] https://www.yogicwayoflife.com/natvarasana-lord-krishna-pose accessed 8-29-21

[10] https://www.openfit.com/goddess-pose-yoga accessed 8-29-21

[11] https://progressivehindudialogue.com/2020/02/13/what-does-goddess-kalis-unusual-and-scary-look-mean accessed 9-1-21

[12] https://www.blueosa.com/10-hindu-deities-everyone-know-pilgrimage-india accessed 8-29-21

[13] https://avaniyogaacademy.com/ecourse-page/embodying-saraswati/ accessed 5-20-24

[14] https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/5503/surya-namaskar accessed 8-29-21

[15] https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/5308/kundalini-shakti accessed 8-29-21

Leave a reply

31 comments
  • This is so incredibly helpful, Thankyou dear Mike for laying it out so clearly. it now makes even more sense why the Holy Spirit stopped me practicing yoga soon after I was saved!
    I wonder though, could you help me with something? Do you think all postures which come under the umbrella of being called yoga are deity worship? I’m thinking of forward bends for instance, or side stretches this kind of thing? Much appreciated, and May the Lord continue to bless you, in this calling.

    • Tara, there are several variables to consider. If someone has been a committed yogi, then assuming those postures even in a non-yogic mindset could awaken old associations. I think it is up to the individual to know where the line should be drawn. Physical exercise is not of itself a portal into demonic influence, so I do not believe doing a “side stretch” is dangerous spiritually. Just renounce old mindsets.

  • Thank you for sharing this info! I am really excited to hear your personal story. I did not see the link to download your book about your personal testimony. Anyway you could send me that link? God has brought much awareness to me that yoga is not something I should be a part of. I Have experienced three car accidents in the last couple years and have had so many Christians recommend that I try yoga. I continue to look at them puzzled as I don’t understand why they would recommend such a thing. I never really knew how to defend it, other than that it didn’t settle well in my spirit. This is super helpful information and I plan to share it!

  • Thanks Mike for this excellent explanation about yoga. Do you have a Spanish version? I want to send it to some relatives that don’t read English. I’ve always had a strong aversion to yoga and never wanted to try it.

  • Hi Mike,
    I have a story to share as I just went through the 200 hour training to become a certified yoga instructor.
    I was in the occult and New Age in my 20’s. I went to Yogananda’s Self Realization Center in Hollywood several times.
    I practiced yoga 5x week for 8 months in my 40’s and returned in my late 50’s to hot yoga to rehab a dance injury this year, in February 2022; when I chose to become an instructor to help others heal. The deep stretching of Yin Yoga also released trauma from my body. Although my injury healed, I did incur several others from fatigue, stress and overstretching.
    I prayed ahead, researched and considered doing Holy Yoga certification but God called me into the traditional path. I closed my practice with “Shalom” ratters than “Namaste” because there is no light in me or others, apart from God’s Light and I bow to no one but the Lord. I refused to participate in the chanting so the instructors offered the option to write a paper. I pray God uses the 17 pages of research I wrote in the comparative analysis of Hinduism and Christianity to transform lives with His Truth.
    I knew I was in the enemy’s camp and was often in spiritual warfare during practice and in training but I also saw God move and plant seeds. He sent me into that dark place for hearts ready to receive.
    Now that it’s over and I spent a large amount of money to get certified and on yoga attire I’m taking this week off to recover, research and seek God, asking Him for guidance. Is there a way to utilize the good elements in helping others, without unknowingly paying homage to false gods/demons? And just because a pose was created to depict the false god/demon does it open the door to that demon anymore than adorning a tree for Christmas opens the door to pagan worship if the person is falsely believing it is in celebration of Christ’s birth? Can I create something new with breath, balance and stretching to keep people young and strong that isn’t traditional yoga? Integrating into Holy Yoga doesn’t sit well so I’m waiting on clarity. God did not open the door to teach at the yoga studio that certified me until January of 2023 and now after reading your article I’m wondering if I should practice yoga at all??
    As a former dancer/choreographer I know the value of stretching and balance. I would like to believe the five months of training, suffering and sacrifice in time and money can now earn me money yet I also know God will orchestrate an entire event to go after one sheep so I must not see this as “waste” if nothing more comes of it.
    I appreciate your article and will value your input.
    Nicole

    • Hello Nicole,
      Thank you for visiting my site and for this information concerning your journey through life. I do believe God can “redeem” the time and effort you have extended in this area and use it to further His purposes in you and through you. Yoga does provide a portal for evil spirits to invade a person’s life, so I advise people against traditional yoga practice. I can see you have discernment in that, and you were wise to avoid Holy Yoga. Rather than posting a personal message to you here in public view, I will contact you at your email address. May God guide you in all your choices. It sounds to me like you are an influencer. The Bible urges us to “walk in wisdom toward those who are on the outside, redeeming the time” (Col. 4:5). I am praying this for you.

    • Holy yoga was actually created by a man of Hindu faith as well so in my opinion, it’s just as bad as yoga and Christians that are practicing it are being deceived but that’s how the enemy works

      • Actually there are two “holy yoga” groups: one based on Hinduism (the .org group online). Then there is another that was started by an American who was involved in yoga prior to claiming a salvation experience. That website is .net). I have found, however, that in the American Holy Yoga version there seems to still be an acceptance of certain Hindu/New Age concepts and thus, a mixture of biblical and eastern doctrines. I may be wrong. This opinion is based on what I have read on their website and seen in videos online.

    • I am so interested in having more options for non-yoga Christian stretching and exercise! If you get something going I want to know and will support!

  • Thank you for sharing all this. I’m in Physical Therapy right now and my therapist gave me alot of stretches that involve yoga moves. I felt ok till they mentioned the one godess tree thing. So I would switch it around and say The Lord God made all the trees lol..
    I noticed some of these stretches were out in the world before yoga and can help the body alot. Question? If your doing some not all stretches at home. Are you still practicing the worship to them? I’m believer in Jesus and in no way want to worship anything but Him 4E!!! He knows.. and knows some of the stretches help the issue I have. Is there alternatives? Thank you again for this. I would never go to a class because I don’t believe in this stuff and feel weird with them doing the chants things. Just asking about the stretches for health. (?♥️Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
    Psalms 91:1 († = ♥️)

    • Hello Amber, thank you for your comments and question. Yes it is possible to do “stretches” at home without being corrupted. However, I would not do it under the direction of someone on a video who may be committed to a “New Age” or “Far Eastern” worldview. I suggest that you do two things: first get a copy of my minibook titled, “Seven Reasons I No Longer Practice Yoga,” and second, check out two groups that offer a Christian alternative and who do not attribute any power to the postures (which becomes witchcraft, plain and simple): http://www.praisemoves.com and http://www.wholyfit.org. Both of these groups take a strong stand against the practice of yoga. I encourage you not to participate in any of the supposed “Christian” yoga groups.

  • Thank you for standing up for Righteousness. I totally agree with the commandments to have NO OTHER GOD’S BEFORE HIM!

  • I am so deeply sickened that I have been doing yoga without this knowledge of what it really is. That instructors say your yoga practice should of been a clue to me but…buy…. I was innocent and took it as just exercise. I wanted to be flexible and strong. I am a firm believer in GOD and Jesus Christ. I will practice my Christian faith not yoga. Thank you for the info.

    • Although Pilates is not steeped in eastern philosophy like yoga, I still have some concerns—especially if the Pilates class is being taught by a person who subscribes to eastern philosophy or if it is being taught in a yoga studio. Either of these would make it completely unacceptable—because of the potential of what is called “transfer of spirits.” Rather than going into a deeper explanation, let me point you to an article by a friend of mine (who has gone on to paradise) Caryl Matrisciana – https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/is-pilates-ok/ I don’t agree with everything that is posted on this website, but a lot of what they say resounds with truth.

  • I’ve always wondered about yoga poses so I went to a few classes but got disgusted because of the assumption that those in the class wanted to breathe in some weird deity they referred to. Glad I left because I love Jesus and I don’t want to be in any position that is aligned to the finished work of the cross! Thank you for this amazing eye opening Truth!

    • Thank you for your kind words. I agree; I don’t want to participate in anything that is NOT aligned with the finished work of the cross. Yoga does NOT acknowledge the crucifixion of Jesus as being essential for salvation and for becoming one with God, but it is. Yoga is a very self-glorifying spiritual practice. The yoga devotee actually believes he/she is God in manifestation.

  • So what poses aren’t for idol/demon worship? As a fitness/mobility practitioner, working daily with patients suffering from low back sciatic pain, the most effective stretch that helps decrease tension and inflammation of gluteal muscles as well as hip rotators is what yoga folks call pigeon pose. Maybe that’s not a traditional yoga pose- I don’t know but it helps to unlock an ilium that is stuck in posterior position due to tight muscles. Also, as a lifelong singer and athlete, I’ve always practiced breathing for calming nervous system, initiating rhythmic steady movement and controlled sound as well . I have never attached any of that to any form of worship. I’m bothered though by all of this because the God I serve, the one who formed us in our mothers wombs and knew us before the foundations of the earth; the one who made the functions of our remarkable bodies to daily restore and reset through rest and movement, the one who gave us breath to settle and support life and who is above ALL gods, can not be glorified if I teach a great stretch that helps people?? He is the author of all things to me. I’m concerned. Is not everything in my world similar looking to some poses? A back hip flexor lunge with one raised arm that stretches from tip of fingers to toes on a relative side to close to a warrior pose? Respectfully asking.

    • Angie, I appreciate you taking time to express your concerns—and they are legitimate concerns. I certainly understand the dilemma that fitness/mobility practitioners face with regard to this sensitive subject. I know many Christian people that went into yoga just for the physical aspect and were deeply trouble when they discovered the inseparable spiritual component and confused as to the solution. Two of my friends (who were both initially involved in yoga) have offered a Christian alternative. Their groups are called “Praise Moves” and “Wholyfit” (www.praisemoves.com and http://www.wholyfit.org). It would take much too long for me to fully and sufficiently respond to your comment here, but I suggest two things: (1) If you have the time, watch this podcast presentation – Seven Reasons I No Longer Practice Yoga. It will present the most important answers to your questions, especially the last two points – https://www.thetruelight.net/wp/7-reasons-i-no-longer-practice-yoga/ (2) If you will send me your address by means of the CONTACT PAGE (I don’t want it posted here), I will send you the minibook with that same title (if you are within the U.S.). I appreciate your sincerity in this matter. The biggest issue is calling it “YOGA”. If you give your students/patients stretches to do, do you call it yoga or call those movements by their Hindu oriented names? Do you attach any spiritual power to these movements? If your answer is “No” to both of these questions, I don’t think you should be concerned. Just don’t associate what you are doing with this system of thought out of Hinduism. Don’t even call it “yoga.” Asanas (physical exercises) and Pranayama (breathing exercise) are the second and third steps in the eight step or eight limb journey in Hinduism to an experience called Samadhi (enlightenment)—-which is a false, counterfeit experience of ultimate reality. So this is an important issue to resolve. God bless you and have a wonderful 2024!

  • My daughter has been in dance since she was 3 and she is 9 now and moving into a higher level ballet in which she does conditioning and part of it involves some yoga moves. Her dance instructor is a Christian woman. Her last 2 recitals have actually been completely Biblically based. I talked to her teacher and told her that I didn’t want my daughter to do any yoga stretching after class. But she told me that some of those poses are typical dance moves and are often apart of some of the dances (such as warrior). Avoiding those stretches during conditioning wouldn’t be an issue, but she can’t choreograph a dance completely around my daughter. Is it ok if some of these moves are incorporated into the dance? Thank you.

    • Hello Stephanie,
      I understand the sensitivity of your situation. To properly judge it, though, I would need to be there and talk with the teacher. However, most Christians who dabble in yoga (just the stretches) don’t really understand the serious spiritual implications that are very real. If they are just dance moves, why does she have to call them “Yoga” moves. That’s really not necessary. Why not just have a “stretching” time or create “ballet” moves without ever incorporating yoga. My daughter took ballet for about 8 years and yoga was never a part of it. I suggest that you get a few copies of the minibook I have written titled “Seven Reasons I No Longer Practice Yoga.” Read it yourself and if you feel to do so, give a copy to the teacher. I believe if she really loves Jesus and knows the Lord, she will resonate with what I have said. Here is the link: https://shreveministries.org/cms/index.php?mact=Products,cntnt01,details,0&cntnt01productid=621&cntnt01returnid=131 Let me know if you are not in the United States, as the shipping would be prohibitive.

    • Hello Deborah,

      You said your PT (I suppose Physical Therapist) is asking you to do certain yoga poses. Is it because of an injury or a problem you are having physically? If you are doing them in the privacy of your home or at a clinic, and not in a “yoga class” under the direction of a “yoga teacher” who embraces a far eastern worldview, if they are purely for your physical well-being and there is no spirituality attached, you are probably alright doing it. It would be better to just do “stretches” that are not associated with yoga at all.

Written by Mike Shreve