A megachurch pastor in Ozark, Missouri advised his followers not to practice yoga due to its demonic roots in Hinduism.
James River Church pastor John Lindell told in a sermon last month that yoga is wholly against Christianity. In a video of his sermon that can be found on YouTube he describes the poses and roots of yoga to be demonic and recommended that yoga meditation opens the mind to demonic influences.
Here is a word to word description of what he said:
“Every single body position has a meaning. Yoga positions were not designed by your local fitness instructor. They were designed, they were created, with demonic intent to open you up to demonic power, because Hinduism is demonic. Every false religion is demonic.
“Hinduism is not a mild, gentle, pacifist religion and neither is Buddhism. We may have a sanitized view of it in our Western culture, but it is not pacifist. It is demonic. It is idol worship.”
He further called yoga as a form of paganism and said that yoga poses are designed to pay homage to the sun god Surya.
“That is what all of those are doing. You are welcoming the sun god.” He went on further condemning the lotus position as it has “sexual connotations.”
“Some may say that is not what it means to me. Well, when you participate in yoga, that is what it means. To say that the positions of yoga are just exercise are tantamount to saying water baptisms is just aqua aerobics.”
As per Lindell’s belief, practitioners of Hatha yoga are occasionally given some mantras to chant which are typically the names of Hindu gods and goddesses. He said that those mantras break the commandments to have no other gods than God.
He warned, “Yoga is diametrically opposed to Christianity. Meditation in yoga brings a person to a consciousness of nothing around them, an awareness of nothing around them. It lowers the mind gate that God has established for a spiritual preservation spiritually speaking for a person.”
Lindell addressed during his sermon to those who claim that they “chant Jesus” while doing yoga, “Demons don’t care what you chant, as long as you open the door to them. They don’t care if you are in peace, harmony, have energy or in great shape as long as you give them access.”
The Christian satire site The Babylon Bee has mocked Christians opposed to yoga several times. “Man Accidentally Performs Yoga Pose, Is Possessed By Horde Of Demons,” one headline read.
It wasn’t just yoga Lindell had a problem with. He also warned followers about the spiritual dangers of Wicca.