This is a summary of the conference I delivered for Católicos por Convicción regarding the practice of Yoga and its opposition to Christian beliefs. If you understand Spanish, you can watch the whole conference in the following video:
Yoga means union of body-mind-spirit. Hindu spiritual practice.
Purpose of yoga:
Balance, harmony, inner peace.
Focusing the mind.
Connection with divinity.
Self-realization, elevated states of consciousness.
Awakening of Kundalini.
Nirvana (liberation from suffering).
Samadhi (complete absorption).
Deities associated with asanas:
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose): Anjaneya, son of the wind.
Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose): Virabhadra, incarnation of the god Shiva.
Matsyasana (Fish Pose): Matsya, incarnation of the god Vishnu.
Wheels, energetic centers (human experiences).
Expand or contract.
Aura – electromagnetic field.
Third eye – pineal gland.
Surya Namaskar: Salutation to the Sun.
Sequence of asanas to connect with the energy of the sun.
Benefits: flexibility, mental clarity, gratitude.
Breathing techniques, asanas, and meditation.
Seeks self-knowledge, enlightenment, personal power.
Being present without judgment.
Focusing on present emotions, bodily sensations, and the environment.
It focuses on the “self” and can deviate from necessary moral judgments.
Sacred words, syllables, or sounds.
Their purpose is to empty the mind, transform, and invoke entities.
Power of vibration.
Associated with a deity, energy, or intention.
A very popular term in New Age circles, referring to expanded consciousness and spiritual awakening.
It is a heretical syncretism that denies the eternal divinity of Jesus, who has existed from the beginning (John 1:1), and did not attain divinity through meditation or physical-spiritual practices.
The eternal deception: “You will be like gods.”
Genesis 3:1-7: The story of the temptation and fall of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve.
Justifying these beliefs with the Bible:
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” This verse is used out of context to justify yoga asanas when it actually speaks about trusting in the Lord’s actions.
Ephesians 1:18: “May the eyes of your heart be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” This verse is used out of context to justify the awakening of the “third eye.”
What does the Bible say?
Matthew 24:24: “For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.“
1 John 4:1: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.“
2 Corinthians 11:4: “For if someone comes and proclaims a Jesus other than the One we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit than the One you received, or a different gospel than the one you accepted, you put up with it so easily.“
Warning to the Corinthians:
Corinth, a Greek city where Olympic physical disciplines and sacred prostitution were practiced.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that youare not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body!“
Why is yoga not an innocent practice?
- There is no transcendent God.
- It goes against the relationship with God.
- It seeks to empty the mind.
- Openness to evil influences.
- Deviation from faith and trust in God.
Testimony of Father Jose María Verlinde:
Raised Catholic, he embarked on a spiritual search attracted to Transcendental Meditation in the 1960s.
He served as the secretary of the guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Eastern traditions seek personal self-dissolution to achieve divine fusion.
Love is seen as an illusion that must be eliminated, as it maintains the illusion of the other’s alterity.
Death of Buddha vs. Death of Christ.
He heard “healing angels” during a session.
He heard blasphemies during the Eucharist.
He was ordained a priest in 1983 and oriented his life toward monasticism in the Community of the Family of St. Joseph.
There is no Christian yoga; there are Christians who do yoga.
Yoga only for relaxation.
The effect of yoga is to eliminate the ego, which results in an inability to love.
What the Catholic say about Eastern meditation. Orationis formas:
Document signed by Saint John Paul II on Christian meditation.
With the current diffusion of Eastern meditation methods in the Christian world and in ecclesial communities, we are faced with a powerful attempt, not without risks and errors, to blend Christian meditation with non-Christian meditation. The proposals in this regard are numerous and more or less radical: some use Eastern methods solely to prepare for a genuinely Christian contemplation; others go further and, using various techniques, try to generate spiritual experiences similar to those described in the writings of certain Catholic mystics; still others do not hesitate to place that absolute without images and concepts, which is proper to Buddhist theory, on the same level as the majesty of God revealed in Christ, above and beyond any possible knowledge or experience.
Advice for Catholics regarding yoga:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not explicitly prohibit yoga or meditation.
The Catholic Church provides guidelines and warnings about these practices.
Faithful are encouraged to discern carefully the practices and teachings associated with them.
It is important to ensure they are in line with the Catholic faith and doctrine.
Uncritical adoption of practices incompatible with the Christian faith should be avoided.
Seeking spiritual guidance from priests and faithful guides is recommended.
The Church seeks to safeguard the integrity of the Catholic faith in these matters.
Alternatives to yoga:
Stretching exercises at home.
Avoiding yoga studies.
What to do if we have fallen into yoga?
Examination of conscience.
Daily prayer (Rosary).
Constant participation in the Eucharist (True transformation through the Holy Trinity).
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” – 1 Peter 5:8-9