The Spiritual Deception of Yoga

William - Fife, Scotland

Photo of William

It is the purpose of this short testimony to show that yoga is a spiritual deception. 

If you think that you can use yoga only for physical training and not be affected by its spiritual side, you are wrong. You are wrong if you believe the many websites and teachers in the West who declare that yoga is just a harmless physical exercise.

The Bible warns of such spiritual seduction: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” (1 TIMOTHY 4:1).

Speaking from my own experience, I am convinced that yoga is one of the seducing doctrines God expressly warns about in the above scripture. I started yoga at age 16, and practiced every day for 1-2 hours. It seemed to strengthen my body and improve my flexibility. At the age of 18, I dived into it (I was at that time unemployed) and did some 4-6 hours of yoga daily. I was convinced that yoga enlightened my own spiritual intelligence and enhanced my physical fitness. I would have vehemently denied that there is anything religious in yoga or that I was in any way influenced by the spiritual or religious aspects of yoga. The following is why I think differently today.

The Roots of Yoga

Let us take a small look at the roots of the yoga tree - and also have a smell at some of its fruit - for well did Christ say in MATTHEW 7:16Ye shall know them by their fruits.

I am convinced that yoga is one of the seducing doctrines God expressly warns about...

It was the Lord Krishna (one of Hindu's many millions of deities), in the Bhagavad Gita, who introduced the ritual of yoga as a way of achieving union with the universe. The Sanskrit word yoga actually means "union" or "yoking", aiming at bringing about the union of the human spirit with the spirit of the universe. But what is more deeply meant is a separation from the physical illusion of life.

A great part of Hindu teaching is that this world and all we see, is nothing more than an illusion.

Ironically, while yoga in the west is, more often than not, promoted as a way to achieve health and a better way of living; in the east, where it originated, it is more openly understood to be a way of dying.

In Hindu and Buddhist writings yoga is described as the only sure way of escaping the endless cycle of reincarnation and the laws of karma, thereby enabling someone to reach the Hindu idea of heaven (named "moksha") – or in the terminology of Buddhist teachings, to return to the buddhistic void (named "Sunyata") - where the idea of it being a way of dying reaches its finality.

Moksha is by most Hindu schools understood to mean the state "which is beyond being", while "Sunyata" means simply emptiness. Both of these accomplishments have, as their finality, the destruction of the self.

In other words, the physical exercises and positions ("asanas"), along with the breathing techniques ("pranayama"), and meditation ("dhyana") were originally developed for VERY spiritual and religious reasons. The Bhagavad Gita testifies of it in over 50 verses, and certainly it would be difficult not to classify the Bhagavad Gita as a guide to Hindu religion.1

How Yoga Became Popular in the West

Although yoga has been known to the West since before Christ, and has been practiced in the East for almost 3000 years, it really only took off in the West in a significant way around the same time of the explosion of the drug culture in the 60’s, and the growth of certain types of music.

Many people involved with psychedelic drugs were (and are still today) attracted to any experience that offered an expansion of conscience, or a change of perceived reality.

It was due to this changing Western (drug) culture that many Hindu missionaries (among other spiritual leaders peddling new religions) slowly began to realise that through the new psychedelic experiences, the West was now entertaining a transcendental experience, or non-physical reality that it had previously been unaware of—or more likely, had simply chosen to ignore. Mind expansion, or altered states of conscience and a search for spirituality, without the constraints of religion were suddenly all the rage, and anything that offered a new experience was sought after with great interest. Very few questions were asked as to the source of these new highs and experiences.

Thus the West was gradually introduced to an ancient Eastern religion through the medium of yoga.

One of the Lies Today

One branch or path of yoga is called Hatha Yoga and this is probably what most people in the West associate with the word "yoga" – believing it is being practised only for mental and physical health.2

Some of the positions in yoga are not quite as harmless as they may appear, but are obviously of occult origin, as in the “cobra”, which is usually followed by “greeting the sun” – and taking the pose of the “mountain”. These are all positions which are designed to welcome Hindu gods.

In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika it mentions the following in chapter one:

Salutations to Shiva, who taught the science of Hatha Yoga. It is the aspirant’s stairway to the heights of Raja Yoga... Yogi Svatmarama … explains the science of hatha for one reason – Raja Yoga.

So here we see clearly that Hatha Yoga was specifically designed to lead the practitioner onto Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga, however, is chiefly concerned with the cultivation of the mind through meditation.

Shiva is also known as the Destroyer (of evil) or Yogeshwara (Lord of Yogis). Shiva's consort is Devi, or Kali, the goddess of death.

Therefore, the idea that Hatha Yoga is "purely physical" is very much once again a distortion of the truth (in other words, an outright lie) and indeed begs the question "Why the cover up or confusion?"

Ouija boards, Tarot cards, Astrology signs and symbols may all seem harmless to some, but like yoga, they have an idea attached

Of course, it could be asked whether something purely physical can have any spiritual implications. One needs only look at such practices as Ouija boards, Tarot cards, Astrology signs and symbols may all seem harmless to some, but like yoga, they have an idea attached to them that is the problem.

A further example that shows how something physical can have spiritual implications is to be found in the account of the Garden of Eden. For in Genesis chapter 3 we have an introduction to the enemy of God and mankind, making the suggestion to Adam’s wife, Eve, that by doing something purely physical (i.e. eating from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) she would not only receive a mighty spiritual blessing, but would indeed live forever, and become as a god.

The real result of this action was Adam and Eve being cast out from Eden and the Fall of Man. Ever since then, man has been trying to sneak back into paradise by jumping over the hedge as it were (using drugs and mysticism).

Karma & Reincarnation

Yoga was specifically designed as a way to escape the constant and never-ending deaths and rebirths of reincarnation - ("...the fire of yoga burns all Karmas", Kundalini Yoga, by Sri Swami Sivananda).

There is much discussion amongst the various Hindu branches concerning karma itself. It is variously claimed that it is not so strict, that it does not always come to pass in this life, it may not come to pass for a few lives, and some consider Karma to be a very just law, as it demands equal in repayment (very much a black eye for a black eye). In any case, as a "law" it is very impersonal, and knows no pity neither does it accept any extenuating circumstances.

If it is a law that demands equal in repayment, then the following sequence of events must occur:

If I steal from someone - I will have something stolen from me, in this life or a next. This means that someone else will have to take the role of thief (#2). Which means that thief #2 will have something stolen from him, in this life or a next. This means that someone else will have to take the role of thief (#3)….And so the wheel turns continually.

Does one remember what one did wrong? Believers in reincarnation will respond with "in the sub-conscience" but how may I change if it is locked away in my sub-conscience? How can I learn from it?

Reincarnation, which was designed to help us work off bad karma, can be upwards or downwards - meaning I could be reborn as an animal or even a vegetable (of course, the various branches of Hindu disagree on this also).

Basically I am being given countless chances, in order to reach a heaven where my personality is then destroyed.

To further investigate this, we shall take an example of such a person as Pol Pot (leader of the Cambodian communist movement known as the Khmer Rouge) - responsible for the deaths of 1.7 to 2.5 million persons.

In order to work off his bad karma, he would have to participate in a minimum of - let’s say a conservative 1.5 million - reincarnations (that's ignoring the tortured victims whose lives he also destroyed).

The idea of karma however goes so far that some believers will not help people...

The idea of karma however goes so far that some believers will not help people - as you may inadvertently be helping someone who is in trouble due to bad karma, and who is supposed to be working it off - and so by helping them you actually take away their chance to work it off.

This all stands of course in total opposition to the Word of God - as stated in HEBREWS 9:27 - "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"

Is it not a strange situation that in India, where the teaching of karma and reincarnation has been alive for longer than anywhere else in the world, that the economic progress there only breeds social injustice and that poverty, starvation and terrible suffering just continue to increase?

Personal Result of Yoga - Awakening Kundalini

It may be true that the asanas (positions) and even perhaps the pranayama (breathing) can have health benefits, but the ultimate goal in yoga is something much more sinister. Very few Western yoga teachers actually touch upon this aspect of yoga – but according to the ancient texts, it is indeed the main aim - the asanas and the pranayama really intend to produce the awakening of what is known as "kundalini power", which is taught as being a snake coiled around the base of the spine.

When this serpent is awakened, it will then move up through the body, through the "chakras" (the so-called life-force centres) and once it reaches the "crown chakra" (or the top of the head) it will explode into the so called "thousand-petalled lotus".

This is when the danger really starts, and for many people from this point onwards it is almost impossible to return to any semblance of normality. The ancient texts actually include a warning about this, but most Western teachers are either ignorant of it, being too aware of the vast revenues that yoga can bring in, or are indeed themselves deceived and are willingly leading people down a very dangerous path.

Swiss occultist Carl Jung, in his book “The Collected Works of CG Jung" - termed it "a deliberately induced psychotic state". Now, in most societies, deliberately inducing a psychotic state in oneself would lead to various sections of the Mental Health Act being quoted whilst having oneself bundled into a white van by some police officers.

I myself came very close to this stage. After I practiced yoga intensively (4-6 hours a day) for about a year, I began to be very depressed and nervous, but as I was unaware of the cause of this depression, I continued to use yoga as a way of filling my day.

One day, whilst being deep in pranayama and meditation, something in my mind exploded...

One day, whilst being deep in pranayama and meditation, something in my mind exploded, and my conscience turned white. Suddenly, there were beings dressed in white robes at my side (in the corner of my eye only, in my peripheral vision), telling me that they would guide me into a new life if I would only continue with my yoga.

I did not like that too much, and did not understand what was happening; neither had any of the books I had been reading mentioned anything about this manifestation, so I stopped. I was left in a sort of semi-aware state at that point (similar to the point one would reach just before or after the peak of an LSD trip), and I was also very much aware of what I could only describe as a rent in the fabric of this reality.

I went back into my asanas / pranayama the next day again, and within minutes these spiritual beings were back, with the same advice. They were insistent that I listen to them. There was a palpable anger now also given off by them, as I had consciously rejected them by stopping the day before.

I stopped again, and never returned to it. But I was always aware that these spirit-beings were angry with me, and I had no peace at all from then on. Only in drunken oblivion or drugs could I find any peace.

What Do You Do about It?

Things may not have become as bad as that for you, but be aware anyway – if you practice yoga, you practice Hinduism; and the more you do it, the more you open yourself up to the spiritual side of it. Thousands of others have experienced very similar things while practising yoga. Not all have been as fortunate as I in being set free from this – many have become insane, or indeed been driven to suicide.3

It was at the point in my life when things really got out of control that I met a Christian and I started going to Christian meetings (more for the very decent food than anything else). On the second meeting I was offered the opportunity to really find and experience God.

I received the Holy Spirit within seconds through the laying on of hands, as described in the Acts of the Apostles. As soon as I had received this freely given gift from God, a real peace came; the voices and pressures left, and joy and realisation came almost instantly. The blackness that had followed me around (the "rent in the fabric of this reality") was also gone.

My life has changed drastically since then. Instead of constantly focusing on myself I try to focus on other people. Instead of trying to find self-fulfillment through yoga, I found true peace. Yoga is a very selfish way of life, yet it doesn’t produce the results hoped for. Instead it is a lie and brings only destruction. How true are Christ’s words in MATTHEW 16:25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

So many try to “save their lives” (fill the void in their lives) through all sorts of things, including yoga, but the void will never be filled – they will end up losing their eternal soul.

We live only once, and while here in this life, we are to follow the example of Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible. When we die, "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" - 2 CORINTHIANS 5:10. Those who were born-again through receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit and by full submersion baptism, and who have given their lives in following Christ, may enter the eternal paradise of the soul where only love, joy and peace abide, in personal fellowship with Jesus Christ. The sinner and rebel against God will be removed from His presence after this judgment, and placed into a place of eternal torment.

...Do you want to follow Shiva ...who is also named the Destroyer - or Christ

You have to make a choice: Do you want to follow Shiva (who taught the “science” of Hatha Yoga) who is also named the Destroyer - or Christ, who came to heal and save, and who has proved by His life, death and resurrection that He is Lord and that He loves us without us having done anything to deserve it.

Yoga is not just a harmless physical exercise, it opens the door to demonic control. On which side do you ultimately want to stand? The devil’s or Christ’s? The consequences are more serious than you might realise.

JOHN 10:10 - "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

And how is this abundant life given by Jesus Christ?

JOHN 3:5 - "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

by William Downs, Newburgh, Scotland, Wednesday, April 21, 2010

  • 1. One need only read the writing of E.A Wilder-Smith (The Cause and Cure of the Drug Epidemic and The Drug Users) or Charles T. Tart, 'The End of Materialism - How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together or Altered States of Consciousness' to more clearly understand this relationship.

    That the drug culture explosion in the 60's was very much a carefully controlled operation is not generally known. This statement itself may be the topic for hours of discussion and may unfortunately belong to the genre of "conspiracy theory" - however, most people who have any sort of interest in these topics are aware of the LSD experiments carried out by certain US Government agencies - starting in the 1950's with Project MKULTRA. (The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control, by John Marks, and also Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond, by Martin A. Lee)

  • 2. Hatha Yoga basically describes any of the physical practices of yoga. Yoga has eight limbs, only one of which, asana, involves doing yoga poses. When you do lyengar, this is hatha yoga; when you do ashtanga, this is hatha yoga also. Therefore, “Hatha yoga” can be used interchangeably with simply “yoga”.
  • 3. Watch for example the film “Gods of the New Age” which includes testimonies of yoga teachers who describe in detail that which I described above.


I love practicing yoga so much but being a Christian, I have always felt conviction when I practiced this type of exercise. I am grateful for this article and God's truth!!! It scares me when I am so deeply in denial about this practice and I will begin praying for God to direct me to another form of exercise that is not demonic! Thank you and God Bless!

I did yoga off and on for 2 years. A friend told me it was dangerous but I knew that I was only doing great exercise. I did experience however each time the teacher would say a pose in Sanskrit it was unsettling. In January 2018 I started "Christian" yoga in my dining room and started having nightmares. Told my husband and he discouraged the yoga but I wouldn't listen. One evening a pastor told a group at church about yoga being a problem because the positions were created to worship Hindu gods. That night my nightmare had me walking alongside wolves. The next day I did yoga and left for work. Upon arrival I walked into my house and sensed an evil presence in my house. Finally I got on my knees and repented for doing yoga. I stood up my joy started again and the evil spirit left never to return. I found Wholyfit, an alternative to yoga. Wonderfully fun and without any negative dangerous consequences.

You mentioned... "One evening a pastor told a group at church about yoga being a problem because the positions were created to worship Hindu gods."

Can you please share further when and how and what these positions mean? How were they created(can you share some articles or history that shows this). So if people are saying they don't do the spiritual things of yoga, just the excersise therefore the excersises are fine or one friend of mine who tells me "Hindus took a pre existing excersise and made it their own unter the Hindu gods... If so then where did they take them from. If not then how/where can we point them to the evidence of yoga eccersises were created specifically for yoga. As a Christian who has studied much and guards my heart and the conviction of the Holy Spirit/not merely opinion is what drive me to be cautious. "Wise as serpents, harmless as doves"
I truly want to hear more about this pastors statement. Thank you.

Thank u so much for this article. I did yoga for several yrs and felt strong and fit. LOVED IT! I thot i was jst doing physical exercise. Then i started having some strange experiences. I wrote a letter to my church family warning abt yoga and someone took it to the paper. From there it went to tv news and even into the states (i live in Canada) As upsetting as this “anti-yoga campaign” (as it was labelled) was and the hateful mail and comments calling me rediculous and uninformed and even hateful (!!??), I believe God will use my hurt for good and mayb a few Christians will look into it further and and stop doing it. U cannot separate the physical exercises fr the intent behind them. It annoys me when Christians give cutesy names to the poses or think if they recite bible verses while practicing yoga, they can somehow change the intent of yoga. Thank u SO MUCH for your loving and honest article!

Long post but please read-
6 years ago I was doing p90x And yoga was a part of the regimen
Over an hour faithfully once a week. For a couple of years. I was also a Christian telling myself but I’m not worshipping the Hindu gods. However during this time I started having CRAZY DEMONIC THOUGHTS ABOUT JESUS. at first I would ask myself what in the world? Where did that come from? They progressively got worse to the point I thought I was possessed and losing my mind. A lady at church told me about the dangers of yoga. I was still in denial. Still claiming but I’m a Christian!! The thoughts caused me to seek psychiatric help. MRIs because I thought I must have a brain tumor. Anti depressants anti anxiety anti psychotic meds. I almost admitted myself into a mental hospital. I didn’t eat for 3 weeks because the thoughts were driving me crazy.
After quitting yoga the thoughts continued for a couple years!! Because the door had been opened!!
I’ve still been asking God what in the world happened to me. But today the blinders have been removed
Praise God.

Thanks for helping me , I was considering yoga but after coming across this I'm not going to even attempt it. I am a Muslim, and I have to say it's lovely & comforting that a fellow Christian such as yourself has such a firm belief in God, and God has blessed you by giving you a way out and you have wrote this article and have helped many people. God bless you . I had a similar situation, but with my situation I took LSD (psychedelic) and suffered a very sinister trip. At the time of the trip, I did not know what was going on. But looking back at it after reading your article , I feel like I was being possessed by a dkeonic entity which wanted to use my body as a vessel and was trying to rewire my brain to make me go insane. I was so helpless , my heart was bearing at a ridiculous rate and I could not escape it, I genuinely believed I was mentally finished and contemplated suicide, until my mind clicked and I cried out to God and begged him to help me. All praise be to God I am still here and free from the demonic attack. Only and I mean ONLY God can save us from anything and everything . No military power in the world can stop these entities, nobody can except the true Creator: God.
Thanks again for this article , reading through the comments you have helped many people and put many people's minds at ease. As salaam u alaykum

Thank you William for your testimony and all who have posted comments. This has been very helpful
My mum was against yoga which I practised for about 4 years but I always thought the meditation side of it. Later I heard from the preacher (a Great man of God) Derek Prince that it is of occult origin but I still doubted thinking that it doesn't have that meaning in the West, which is indeed the great DECEPTION. I have given my life to God and staying steadfast in the word. I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit for revelation, wisdom etc and to lead not into temptation but deliver me from evil...also, for clarity on yoga.
Just recently, I was in a yoga class and as I was doing the poses Sun warrior, yoga pose etc it was like a great revelation came over me and I couldn't understand why this was not obvious before. I have renounced it and asked God's forgiveness and will never be doing anymore yoga.

Thankfully, we serve a merciful loving God. Also, I don't know how many are aware, but Easter, valentines day Christmas all these are pagan/occult origin that have been christianised by the Roman Catholic Church. All the information is available online.
We truly are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Draw near to God my people.

Apologies for such a long comment

Thank you so, so much for sharing your experience with yoga-this reached me by God's grace in the nick of time. I have been a Christian for about 4 years and initially saw yoga as just a type of exercise, like swimming or weights, which my roommate introduced me to about 1.5 years ago. I never thought to consider what it really was or where it came from. I also came from a church that did not acknowledge spiritual realities, and did not know how they worked. This past year was very difficult and in my brokenness I began to do yoga more and more as a way to exercise to feel better, and relieve stress since I am not a natural runner or jogger, instead of being right with God. The yoga progressively sucked me and I began to try to do 30 ish minutes once a day- while trying to read my Bible and pray every day.
The last few weeks, I have had an increasing awareness that I was under some sort of demonic oppression-aware of it but unable to get out of it. I sensed some other Christian discerners begin interacting with me warily, like they sensed spiritual darkness. I have seen frightening images sometimes at night of demons. One was a bull-like image. After reading your testimony on a hunch I typed in "bull", "Hindu", and "shiva", and apparently a bull-like entity called Nandi is associated with Shiva as some sort of gatekeeper. Half-asleep and waking up I also once heard in my head two demons talking about me, as in third person, saying they could take over me because I was weak. I prayed fervently from the Word that whole day and night and the Lord provided an escape. That experience was a final warning for me that I was in deep to something bad. But I didn't know what, which was so disheartening, wondering if I was really a Christian or if I was fooled the entirety of my Christian life...reading this makes it all much clearer and I almost immediately prayed to the Lord and renounced yoga and will not ever have anything to do with it again. Right when I renounced it, I felt a pressure in my head lessen like a demon just left. I didn't feel fully recovered, but did feel lighter and more wholesome and…myself…than I have in a long time.
So thank you so much for sharing this. It has significantly helped me, as I am sure has helped others, and was a form of God's grace and provision. Only the power of Jesus can deliver and heal me. I never in a million years thought I would get involved in occult practice, but that’s what happened by thinking yoga was harmless physical activity. I am unsure how to heal and process from this whole thing, other than absolute certainty that I need Christ to deliver me. I think my biggest fear is that I was never a Christian to start with if I so easily got tricked, and once under, couldn’t work with the Holy Spirit to defy the demonic oppressions and presence in my head, feeling and being so dark-even starting to spill an evil presence in my interactions with others. I would welcome your input on this worry and insecurity about if this can happen to Christians who followed the Lord before yoga, spoken in truth with love, since I am not mature or stably experienced in viewing these realities.
Thanks again.

This happened to me too. I thought I was a Christian at the time, but I was not reading the bible regularly and of course yoga causes spiritual blindness- so once you are trapped it’s hard to see the reality. God allowed me to be struck by illness so that I called out to Him desperately. I heard what other Christians were saying about yoga so I asked the Lord if it was true. That night I was continually harassed by evil spirits. He lifted His hand of protection to reveal the truth. I was shocked at how I could be so deceived. I asked God to remove the veil from my eyes and show me where else in my life I was deceived. Boy did He reveal some stuff to me!! I would encourage you to do the same. Knowing how to fight off future attacks helps so much. Repent and plead the blood of Jesus over you. God has been merciful by calling you out of that deception. Clearly He has chosen you. I truly believe we are in the end times and now is the time to stay so close to Him. How amazing to be chosen by the Almighty! Stay encouraged and if you can, find a good church. There are so many false teachers out there so stay in the Word and ask for the gift of discernment and wisdom. Shalom!

Thank you! Confirmation i needed tonight for my heart. Backed up w Scripture— perfect and so helpful!

I don't know where to start. They are pushing this in public education and by "Christian" psychologists upon Jewish and Christian children. I am so sickened. When I struggled with a difficult work environment and post partum, I trusted a "Christian" psychologist who prescribed yoga as a healthy alternative to anxiety or depression medication. I dutifully tried what they said only to have my life spiral into confusion and a real life crisis. It was only through serious prayer, penance and sacraments that I felt Jesus free me from serious darkness. I am totally at a loss for understanding how this can happen. The level of deception is disturbing and I feel very alone in coming to terms with the betrayal. I read some brief information about Carl Jung's work but why is there not more help from the church and pressure on the scientific community to be more honest? Thank you for being truthful about your experience. For me there is no doubt Jesus Christ can save. Why do we not question why our ancestors turned away from their occult practices? Why can't we learn from our history without repeating it so often?

Thank you for your comment on schools. I teach, and my school is starting a new behavior program to teach the kids how to deal with all their feelings, etc. In reading some of the curriculum, the first lesson teaches the Mountain Pose so I started research on this, which led me to this article. As a teacher I cannot do this and I do not feel right teaching my kids this but this will be a required program with our new principal this year. HELP LORD!!