Yoga – Part 2

By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©2003
Yoga is increasingly advocated as a positive practice even for young children. Unfortunately, since yoga is an occult practice, sooner or later it will result in spiritual, or even physical harm.

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Yoga—Part 2

YOGA AND CHILDREN

Today, yoga is increasingly advocated as a positive practice even for young children, such as an important adjunct to children’s education or gym classes. [1]Unfortunately, if yoga is ultimately an occult practice, such advocacy will not benefit children but will, in all probability, sooner or later harm them spiritually or otherwise. [2]

Educator and psychic Deborah Rozman is the author of two books on meditation for children, and she names her mentor as occultist Christopher Hills, developer of spirulina and founder of the University of the Trees in Boulder Creek, California. [3] After noting that puberty supposedly “opens new psychic energies,” which result in experiencing psychic phenomena, she observes that classroom meditation helps to speed the process of evolu­tion of the “higher Self.” Here, she encourages children to do “physical yoga exercises to quiet and balance the rapidly growing and restless [psychic] energies….” [4]

In her chapter “Yoga Exercises for the Young,” she explains, “The real purpose of yoga exercises is to put the body in a state where meditation on the One is possible…. Physical yoga is called hatha yoga…. Hatha yoga is balancing the spiritual and physical and male and female energies (the polarities) in the body.” [5] Thus, using yoga exercises from the Hindu spiritist Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of the Self-realization Fellowship, she tells the child, “Use your will and your imagination to direct the [psychic] energy to flow down your whole body into your left foot as you tense the left foot and then relax .” [6] This is also to be done for other areas of the body.

Today there are dozens of books specifically to instruct children on how to do yoga. Among them are Rachael Carr’s Be a Frog, a Bird or a Tree, and Wheel, Camel, Fish and Plow: Yoga for You; Ken Cohen’s Imagine That! A Child’s Guide to Yoga; Baba Hari

Dass’s A Child’s Garden of Yoga; Eve Diskin’s Yoga for Children; Else Klippner’s My Magic Garden; Suzanne Schreiber’s Yoga for the Fun of It: Hatha Yoga for Pre-School Children; and Susan N. Terkel’s Yoga Is for Me.

Yoga is also becoming a popular approach to treatment for children with physical and learning disabilities. [7] Yet even noted New Age theorist Ken Wilbur admits, “The Path of Yogis can cause severe emotional-sexual upheavals….” [8] As we will see below, yoga is not the safe or neutral practice its proponents claim and, therefore, it should not be used in public schools or advocated for children.

THE PURPOSE OF YOGA

In this section, we will show that while yoga is a method of physical discipline, it always has distinct spiritual (occult) goals. We will examine the real purpose of yoga, its occult nature, and its physical, mental, and spiritual consequences because we think that people should be told that its alleged “health benefits” carry unforeseen risks. To begin, how is yoga defined? The Oxford American Dictionary defines “yoga” In the following manner: “1. a Hindu system of meditation and self-control designed to produce mystical experience and spiritual insight. 2. a system of physical exercises and breathing control.” [9]

Most people think of yoga only in terms of the second definition. We will show that this is a mistake. When examining the true goal of yoga, one sees why these two definitions ultimately cannot be separated. In other words, the one who practices yoga as “a system of physical exercises and breathing control” is also practicing a system “designed to produce mystical experience and spiritual (occult) insight.” For example, Ernest L. Rossi of the Department of Psychology at UCLA states how yoga is designed to induce altered states of consciousness:

If one considers the ancient yoga science of pranayama (controlled breathing) to have relevance, then one must admit that the manual manipulation of the nasal cycle during meditation (dhyana) is the most thoroughly documented of techniques for altering con­sciousness. For thousands of years these techniques for the subtle alterations of nasal breathing have been gradually codified into classical texts. Some of these are the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (II, 6-9,19-20), Siva Samhita (III, 24,25), Gheranda Samhita (V, 49-52), and Yoga Chudamani Upsanisad (V, 98-100)…. A new tradition of psychophysiological and experimental research exploring these ancient techniques has been developing during the past few decades (Hasegawa and Kem, 1978). The work of Vinekar (1966), Rao and Potdar (1970), Eccles (1978), and Funk and Clarke (1980) also provides a broad back­ground of independent studies using Western laboratory methods in studying the relation­ship of this nasal cycle to the ancient yogic tradition of pranayama in achieving psychoso­matic health and the transpersonal states of dhyana [deep contemplation] and samadhi [occult enlightenment]. [10]

As we have said, many who recommend yoga claim it is an excellent way in which to loosen one’s muscles, keep fit, and maintain health. For these people, yoga is simply physical exercise and nothing more; the practice has little to do with religion. Such persons, however, do not properly understand the nature and purpose of true yoga practice. Yoga is much more than merely an innocent form of relaxing the mind and body. One reason that yoga clearly belongs in the category of religion is because the classic yoga texts reveal that proper yoga practice incorporates many goals of occultism. Allegedly, it will not only result in a “sound” mind and a “healthy” body but also in spiritual (occult) enlightenment.

However, a “sound” mind and “healthy” body, as defined in yoga, are different than what most people normally think of. Yoga philosophy teaches that mind and body are ultimately “one.” In yoga theory, to influence the body through yoga practice will result in powerfully Influencing the mind and spirit as well.

How does yoga theory maintain that the body can dramatically influence the mind and spirit, producing major experiences with altered states of consciousness and spiritual enlightenment? In yoga theory, the body is really a crude layer of one’s mind, and both are aspects of the continuum of alleged divine consciousness that is “awakened” by yoga practice. Therefore, manipulation of the body is equivalent to manipulation of the mind and spirit. This is why the physical postures of yoga are designed to manipulate consciousness toward a specific occult goal. Yogi authority Gopi Krishna comments:

All the systems of yoga… are designed to bring about those psychosomatic changes in the body which are essential for the metamorphosis of consciousness. A new [divine] center—presently dormant in the average man and woman—has to be activated and a more powerful stream of psychic energy must [be awakened]. [11]

Yoga postures and breathing, then, are designed to awaken psychic energy and bring about dramatic changes in consciousness.

So what is the final goal of yoga practice and the altered states of consciousness that it generates? The end purpose is for the individual to realize that he or she is one essence with God, or ultimate reality, however this is defined. In other words, one must realize that he or she is God. Whatever school of yoga is used (hatha, raja, bhakti; etc.), whether it is Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Sufi, Tantric, or some other religious tradition, the goal is typically the same: occult enlightenment achieved by internal manipulation of occult energies (prana, chi) leading to altered states of consciousness in order to produce awareness of one’s inherent union with God, or ultimate reality. [12]

Swami Rama, an accomplished yogi and founder of the worldwide Himalayan Inter­national Institute of Yoga, Science and Philosophy, affirms that “there are many different methods of yoga, all leading to the same goal of Self-Realization.” [13]He describes this as “the union of man with Absolute Reality.” [14] Swami Ajaya correctly affirms that “the main teaching of Yoga is that man’s true nature is divine.” [15]

The physical exercises of yoga, then, are only a means to a much larger goal: attaining godhood. However, where the goal is to introduce yoga as a physical exercise only, this is probably not stated. Thus, some yoga teachers employ yoga deceptively. They know exactly what it intends, but hope to “enlighten” people on the sly. Yoga will achieve its own transformation in people, so there is no need to mention its controversial religious—espe­cially occult—aspects. Judith Lasater, Ph.D., in her article “Yoga: An Ancient Technique for Restoring Health” states, on the one hand, that “yoga is widely used as a palliative for various physical problems.” [16] But she agrees the real goal of yoga is to enable the indi­vidual to “perceive his true nature.” The mind and body are both aspects of that nature, divine consciousness, and it is yoga which allows people to discover this as their true nature or essence:

One basic assumption of Yoga Sutras [a standard yoga text] is that the body and mind are part of one continuum of [divine] existence, the mind merely being more subtle than the body. This is the foundation for the yogic view of health. The interaction of body and mind is the central concern of the entire science. It is believed that as the body and mind are brought into balance and health, the individual will be able to perceive his true [divine] nature; this will allow life to be lived through him more freely and spontaneously. [17]

In other words, yoga practice supposedly brings “health and balance” to mind and body. But defined properly, this means a developed awareness of one’s own inner divinity and an allowing of one’s divine nature to be “lived out.”

Notes

  1. Anastas Harris, ed., Mind: Evolution or Revolution? The Emergence of Holistic Educa­tion, Del Mar, CA: Holistic Education Network, 1980; John Ankerberg, Craig Branch, John Weldon, Thieves of Innocence, Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1993.
  2. John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Coming Darkness: Confronting Occult Deception, Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1993.
  3. Gay Hendricks, James Fadiman, eds., Transpersonal Education: A Curriculum for Feel­ing and Being, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1976, vii.
  4. Ibid., 74-76.
  5. Ibid., 85.
  6. Ibid., 86.
  7. E.g., Paul C. Cooper, “Yoga for the Special Child,” Yoga Journal, November/December 1984.
  8. Ken Wilber, “The Developmental Spectrum and Psychopathology Part II: Treatment Modalities,” The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, vol. 60, no. 2, 1984, p. 160.
  9. Oxford American Dictionary, New York: Avon, 1982, p. 1085.
  10. Benjamin B. Wolman, Montague Ullman, eds., Handbook of States of Conscious­ness, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1986, pp. 113-14.
  11. Gopi Krishna, “The True Aim of Yoga,” Psychic, January-February, 1973, p. 15.
  12. E.g. on Taoist Yoga, see Dio Neff, “Taoist Esoteric Yoga with Mantak Chia,” Yoga Journal, March-April 1986.
  13. Swami Rama, Lectures on Yoga: Practical Lessons on Yoga, Glenview, IL: Hima­layan International Institute of Yoga, Science and Philosophy, 1976, rev., p. 7.
  14. Ibid., p. 3.
  15. Ibid., p. vi.
  16. Berkeley Holistic Health Center, The Holistic Health Handbook: A Tool for Attaining Wholeness of Body, Mind, and Spirit, Berkeley, CA: And/Or Press, 1978, p. 37.
  17. Ibid., p. 36.

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