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What does the BIBLE say about Yoga (and the kundalini spirit)

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Christian Yoga

Writer: Michael Sherif

yoga and the Bible

There is NO SUCH THING as 'Christian' yoga!

Yoga is pervasive. Yoga is in the east and the west. Yoga classes are offered in Central Africa, in Russia, in Australia. Flyers for yoga are on university bulletin boards, in health food stores, in the elevators of high rise apartment buildings in downtown Los Angeles, and even as part of some YMCA physical education programs. Is yoga merely a physical exercise?

Yoga Goals

Regarding the yoga asanas or physical postures Swami Vivekananda writes in his book Raja Yoga:

A series of exercises, physical and mental, is to be gone through every day until certain higher states are reached. Nerve currents will have to be dispatched and given a new channel. New sorts of vibrations will begin: the whole constitution will be remodeled, as it were.

In Yoga: The Method of Re-Intergation Alain Danielou, a French scholar on yoga, writes that the real import of yoga is as "a process of control of the gross body which aims at freeing the subtle body." The subtle body is regarded as extremely complex and consisting of 72,000 invisible psychic channels called nadis corresponding to the physical or gross body. The subtle body and the physical body are connected at seven primary points or chakras ranging from the top of the head to the base of the spine.

The chakras are believed to control the consciousness of an individual. Manipulating the spine through various yoga postures is believed to increase the energy flow from the subtle body altering the consciousness of the individual. Kundalini yoga and hatha yoga directly manipulate the charkas through their various postures and breathing exercises.

In a mind over body relationship mantra yoga also seeks to alter consciousness of an individual by the repetition of mantras, which Guru Dev, the guru of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, considered the "favorite names of the gods". Mantras are repeated silently or audibly up to several hours and produce altered states of consciousness.

What Yoga is and is not

Yoga is bound up in Eastern religious metaphysics and is not an innocent form of relaxing the body and the mind. The goal of yoga is the same as that of Hinduism, which is realizing that one is Brahman, the underlying impersonal God of the Universe in Hinduism. According to Psychic Forces and Occult Shock (Wilson and Weldon): "The physical exercises of yoga are designed to prepare the body for the psychospiritual change vital to inculcating this idea (the realization that one is Brahman) into the consciousness and being of the person. Hence talk of separating yoga practice from theory is meaningless. From a Christian perspective, whether the two can safely be divided is doubtful. 'I do yoga, but Hinduism isn't involved,' is an incorrect statement.

A Spiritual Counterfeits Project (Berkeley, California) publication on "Yoga" states:

For while it may suit the secular fancy to espouse only that selected aspect (the physical) of yoga which fits the bourgeois notion of what yoga is supposed to do (i.e. make a beautiful body), the fact still remains that even physical yoga is inextricably bound up in the whole of Eastern religious metaphysics. In fact, it is quite accurate to say that physical yoga and Indian metaphysics are mutually interdependent; you really can't have one without the other.

In the Shankara tradition, which pervades most of contemporary Hinduism, the raindrop is pictured as the symbol of the individual self and the ocean is the symbol of the universal soul (J.Isamu Yamamoto, SCP Newsletter).

The absorption of the raindrop into the ocean is symbolic of the absorption of the person into the impersonal universe. After people attain enlightenment, they lose their identities and become one with the all. Absorption is the goal of the monist Hindu. -(J.Isamu Yamamoto, SCP Newsletter, March-April 1983)-

The candle flame is a Buddhist image of the individual; it is the light of life that flickers in the darkness of sorrow. The quest of each ardent Buddhist is to extinguish their own flame. They seek not merely a physical death but a death that will deliver them from both the physical and spiritual life. Extinction is the goal of the traditional Buddhist. -(J. Isamu Yamamoto, SCP Newsletter, op.cit.)-

From Personal Experience

For this author more persuasive than any authority is the author's personal experience in mantra yoga, hatha yoga, and kundalini yoga. Definite altered states of consciousness are produced by yoga. However, these states of consciousness while initially anesthetic became with constant yoga practice progressively more oppressive resulting in a disassociation from the external world. Sensory input was accentuated and produced an overreaction to external stimuli resulting in anxiety. On intensive asana-meditation courses the author experienced several blackouts during mantra meditation sessions which lasted up to an hour and a half. No consciousness of elapsed time and no memory of what had transpired during the blackout existed after such an experience.

Coping with these altered states of consciousness produced in the author mounting tension making him easily upset by trifles (slamming of a door, the screeching of a jet fighter plane, traffic). In many ways the meditation/yoga experience is the classic experience of anxiety disorder so well documented by the Australian doctor Claire Weekes in her classic book Hope and Help For Your Nerves, which also offers the best non clinical approach for curing anxiety disorder of which panic attacks are common symptoms.

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