What Does the Bible Say? The Teachings of Yoga and the Bible are Antithetical.

Bible Meditation

Listed below are some of the main teachings of the Yoga Sutras, the ancient doctrine of Yoga, believed to be dated around 2,000 years ago. They have been divided into five main points. The yogic teaching is listed first, then what the Bible has to say about it. Please note that the Bible is every bit as applicable to us today as it was when it was written. There are a vast number of Bible verses in direct opposition to the teachings of the Yoga Sutras–way too many to list in this comparative space (you will understand when you start scrolling down). Please note the responses listed under “Bible” are not an exhaustive list of scriptures regarding each topic, but rather a sampling of verses as it pertains to the Yoga teaching.

I urge you to take the study of Biblical scripture upon yourself. Please note I do not encourage you to dig deeper into Yogic teaching simply because the Lord warns us not to dig into pagan teachings (Deuteronomy 12:30, Romans 16:19). They are designed to be a trap. Becoming fascinated with other teachings can lead to becoming ensnared by them and also take us away from what the Lord wants us to be focusing on in the first place: studying HIS word and drawing closer to him. We don’t glorify the Lord by burying our nose in demonic pagan teachings. We glorify him by drawing closer to him and his word. I include only as much information from the Yoga Sutras as necessary to compare it with scriptures of the Bible for the sole purpose to show how the two doctrines are in direct and repeated opposition. I urge you to study the Bible, the doctrine inspired by the Spirit of the living God, and not the doctrine of lies dedicated to the worship and invocation of demonic spirits. If it is truth you seek, I encourage you to ask the Lord for wisdom that comes only from him, and determine to prayerfully (discuss it with God as you go) read the Bible in its entirety. It is through reading the surrounding context of scriptures and the book as a whole that the Lord’s will is best discerned.

Please also note that this teaching has been and IS the foundation of yoga. Many teachers have not been properly taught what they are teaching, and many are unfamiliar with the following truths about yoga. Their lack of education does not negate what is at the core and under the surface of the physical elements they teach.

*Please note all boldface font within scriptures has been added to point attention.

1. God
The god of yoga is called Ishvara, and represented by “Om”Yoga Sutras, 1.25: The god Ishvara is the source of all knowledge.

1.27: This god Ishvara is represented by the symbol and sound of “Om.”

Many teachers propagate that “Om” is either a sound without meaning–simply energetic vibrations calming the body, or that it is whatever god is to the individual. That is not true. “Om” very clearly represents the pagan god Ishvara.

The God of the Bible is the Lord. He is the Father, the Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in one being. He is the only God.

Deuteronomy 5:7: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before (besides) me.

Deuteronomy 4:39: Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

Deuteronomy 30:17: But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed . . .

Judges 2:12-13: They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the Lord to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.
(*Note: Baal and Ashtoreth are names of pagan gods.)

One approach to a deeper communion or practice is through chanting repeated mantras. .

Sutras 1.28-29: One is instructed to repeat (mantra practice) this name (Om) to deepen their practice.

The practice is “deepened” because the repetition of the name invites and invokes the associated spirit. “Om” represents a pagan god, and its chanting is an invocation to invite its “energy” into the practitioner to “aid” in reaching new levels of depth, new levels of esoteric experiences, “powers,” and “knowledge.” The same is true of other tones, words, and phrases chanted repeatedly within meditative and yoga practice. I was taught across varying traditions that this practice is effective with or without specified intent. Ie: One does not have to understand what he or she is doing in order to invoke the associated spiritual powers. Essentially, mantra repetition invites a demonic spirit to enter the practitioner and assist them in reaching new “truths” and “understandings.” Often the practitioner is lead to believe what he is experiencing is real truth because of esoteric spiritual experiences of special visions or “gifts” or powers, often accompanied by the sensations of peace, love, and euphoria. These are all results of demonic manipulation.

The Bible warns against pagan practices of thoughtless and repetitious prayers, and instructs in focused, thoughtful prayer–prayer addressed to him alone. See Meditation for more on this.

Exodus 23:13: . . . Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.

Matthew 6:7: And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard for their many words. (The greek word from which “babbling” is derived is also translated as “vain repetitions”(KJV), “meaningless repetition” (NAS),”empty phrases” (ESV)).

Joshua 23:7: Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you, do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.

Matthew 6: 9-13: This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” 

3. Worship
Sutras, 2.46-55: Practicing the movements of yoga paired with breathing techniques and meditation is also said to deepen the practice. 

The movement of yoga invites energies by paying homage to the spirit associated with the movement in the same way chanting invokes the demonic spirit by invoking it by sound. For example, the sun salutation pays homage to the sun god. There is a very real spirit associated with this act. This very real spirit is not on the side of the Lord. It is a demon. Many yogic poses represent deities and energies associated with animals, solar bodies, etc. Please note mantra practice taught in yogic doctrine are also a form of worship, as is dedicating the practice to a certain deity or energy.

Please see What is Meditation and Biblical Study for more information and numerous verses addressing this subject. The Bible acknowledges the obvious that exercise can be a good thing, but that it is godly training that has eternal worth. The Bible provides many instructions in attaining knowledge and wisdom. It warns us that honoring God with our bodies does not include practicing worship of him by copying pagan practices. The Bible contains no instruction of exercise and breathing techniques as a means of deepening one’s relationship with the Lord or for gaining deeper wisdom or knowledge. It does, however, explain that our bodies are temples of the Lord and should be used to honor him. It says to have no part in any pagan practices, but to be separate from even the appearance of evil, to take no part in the table of demons. See Yoga “For Jesus” . . . for more on this.

1 Timothy 4:8: For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Deuteronomy 12:30: . . . be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” You must not worship the Lord your God in their way . . .

Deuteronomy 13: 1-4: If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and . . . says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.

Deuteronomy 12:3-4: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah 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
(Note: Asherah was the name of a pagan god)

1 Corinthians 6:19-20: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 10:20-21: No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you participating with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.

The Lord does not give these instructions to be mean. He warns explicitly why this is important:

1 Timothy 4:1: The Spirit clearly says that in later times, some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 

The Lord tells us that he gives us these instructions for our own good, because he knows so much more than we can possibly fathom.

Jeremiah 7:6-7: . . . and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place. . .

Jeremiah 7:18-19: . . . and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. But am I the one they are provoking? Declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?

Isaiah 55:8: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

4. Communicating with Spirits
The following Yoga Sutras outline a spiritual path of divination and sorcery. The possibility of such powers may sound appealing. They sure did to me in my early twenties. But that is because they are supposed to sound enticing. A trapper doesn’t put a pile of dirt in a snare. He puts something tempting and appealing. This is a spiritual snare to entice people to turn their back on the Lord’s protective command and seek special esoteric “wisdom” against The Lord’s protective instructions (sound familiar, Garden of Eden?). A snare means it is a trap. One may very well get to have the bait. But they are caught in an eternal deathtrap as a result. These “powers” are being given only by opening oneself to demons. These demons have the objective to kill, steal, and destroy. They aim to keep their prey from ever knowing and trusting in the true God. If they keep one preoccupied with their own “abilities” they succeed. When death comes, it is followed by eternal death. They have succeeded.

It is all demonic. That is why the Lord so adamantly and repeatedly prohibits it. He knows the enticement of special “truths” and powers and the evil that is behind it. I cannot be adamant enough about this: Divining, channeling spirits, working with ANY spirit, no matter how much light and love they radiate and seem to fill one with, are all demonic. The Lord says to pray to him alone and to have nothing to do with attempting communication with any other spirits, even spirits claiming to be good people who have died. No one. No communication with the dead. Period. These are deceptive spirits. They are not what they seem or claim to be. This action opens oneself to the spiritual realm and demons manipulate the resulting sensations, powers, and experiences. They are capable of deception even posing as feelings and experiences of love–but their goal is to eventually kill from the inside out and keep people from ever believing in Jesus, causing eternal death.

Sutras 3.16, 3.22: The practitioner can attain special abilities to tell the past and future through meditation

Sutras 3.25, 3.32: Through meditation, one can also discover spirits and communicate with master spirits.

Sutras, 3.17-3.38: Many other powers of sorcery can be attained through meditation practice.

Sutras, 3.5: Mastering of meditation 
lays the groundwork for these powers and leads to what is called “absolute knowledge of all that can be perceived.” (Haven’t we heard this promise before . . . Something about some fruit and a tree in a garden somewhere?)

Sutras, 4.1: “Supernatural powers” can also be attained by drugs, mantras, and yoga.
Drugs, coming from the greek word “pharmakia,” is translated to English in our Bibles as witchcraft.
So we have:
mantras: invoking spirits (which the Bible tells us are actually demons) by sound.
yoga: invoking spirits (demons) by movement.
drugs: invoking spirits (demons) with altering substances.

Please note that intent is not necessary for results. Ie., one may open themselves to demonic spirits by using drugs even without thinking, “I think I’d like to open myself to the spiritual realm by using this cocaine.” The action acts as intent.

The Bible explicitly and repeatedly forbids these practices, and even explains that these “powers” are forbidden because they are rooted in demonic forces. They will lead to death–spiritually and sometimes even physically. My testimony exemplifies this truth.

Leviticus 20:26:  . . . Do not practice divination or sorcery.

Leviticus 19:31: Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.

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 his 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 . . .

Leviticus 20:6: I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.

Leviticus 20:27: A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.

Leviticus 20:31: . . . do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.  I am the Lord your God.

Malachi 3:5: “I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.

Revelation 22:15: Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

Revelation 9:20-21: For the rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Jeremiah 5:7: . . . Your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods.

Deuteronomy 32:17: They sacrificed to demons, which are not God–gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your fathers did not fear.

Leviticus 17:7: They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols (or demons) to whom they prostitute themselves.

Psalm 106:36-38: They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons . . . whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan . . .

1 Corinthians 10:20-21: No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you participating with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.

Ephesians 6:10-12: 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 this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

2 Corinthians 11:14-15: And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Galations 5:19-20: The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
(The word “witchcraft” comes from the Greek word “pharmakeia,” referring to drugs.)

2 Corinthians 11:3-4: But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

1 Peter 5:8: Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

5. Purpose
Goal of Yogic Path: To yoke and become one with god, to attain all knowledge, wisdom, and freedom by practicing and perfecting the practices outlined in the Yoga Sutras.

Yoga Sutras, 1.1-4.34

Goal of Christian Path: To be saved by Jesus by faith alone and not by any practice or work we try to do, but by believing with our hearts and confessing with our mouths that he is Lord. To live a life motivated first by our love for God and then love for others in such a way that glorifies and worships the one true God with our thoughts, words, and actions.

There are obviously numerous contradictions between the purpose of yoga and Christianity:
-We Christians are to strive to be like God, not to become him.
-We are to pursue knowledge and wisdom through his instructions outlined in the Bible, not by pursuing pagan practices.
-There is only one way to freedom, and it is something we can never attain by any practice or works, but by faith we received as a gift in Jesus Christ our Savior.

Romans 10:9: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

John 3:16-18: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life . . . Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

1 Corinthians 8:4-6:  . . . We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth . . . yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

John 14:6: I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Deuteronomy 6:5: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Just like in the snare of the teaching of yoga, Satan’s snare from the beginning was to convince Eve that she could be like God and attain real knowledge if she just disobeyed what the Lord had said:

Genesis 2:18: And the Lord God commanded the man . . . but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

Genesis 3:4: “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:6: When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

This, of course, was the trap that brought initial sin and death. Though they did not die right away, spiritual death came from separation from God, and physical death came later–both of which could have been avoided with faith and obedience in the face of temptation.

The Lord gives his instruction on gaining wisdom and knowledge, that it comes by respecting him, following his ways, by being humble, and remembering that our time on earth is limited:

Proverbs 2:6: For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Job 28:28: And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord–that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.

Deuteronomy 4:6: Observe them (the Lord’s instructions) carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”

Psalm 111:10: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 4:11: I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.

Proverbs 11:2: When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 15:33: Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.

Psalm 90:12: Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Proverbs 9:10: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

*I want to be clear so that no one may misunderstand what I am saying. I am certainly not saying there are demons under every squishy mat, and that anyone who has ever gone to a yoga class has invited demons. I am simply listing the facts of yogic and meditative based studies. The Bible speaks clearly regarding such practices. You deserve to be informed.

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