We recently received a letter from a listener in Pennsylvania who raised concerns with church leaders who have embraced "holy yoga" in their church. He suffered what usually happens to many of us when we compare a practice method or teaching to Scripture, and then challenge church leadership: He was ostracized and called a Pharisee:
First, I thank God for leading me to your program. I have become a faithful listener since Nov. Keep up the good work!!!! The practice of Holy Yoga was recently introduced into my church. I confronted the practice and through this it was removed from the church, the practice was opened at a site in town. However, the leadership condones the practice and some of the leaders are practicing Holy Yoga.
One of our small group members was practicing “Hatha Yoga” and claimed that she did not do the chanting but prayed instead. I never questioned the practice since she had prayed and I thought of the practice as just exercise. I was uninformed. One week she announced to our same group that she was going to be certified to teach yoga through “Holy Yoga”. I was still uneducated and I thought that yoga was Christianized. “Holy Yoga” was soon offered
in our church. Well, one evening I decided to try the yoga class and my eyes were opened. There were things that reminded me of my past with TM (Transcendental Meditation, a New Age practice).
I left the class that night and I felt very uncomfortable. I prayed to God to give me wisdom as to what to do next. I searched websites and found information about the history and spiritually of yoga. I sat down with the teacher (member of our small group) of yoga and I gave my testimony and I tried to give her the information that I had found. She wanted no part of it and she had also practiced TM in the past and did not see the connection with Hindu teachings.
Since this meeting ended with no changes, I approached our Elder and the Interim Pastor with my concerns about “Holy Yoga”. They had no clue as to what “Holy Yoga” or yoga was all about. They did their research and had a meeting with the yoga teacher, her husband, my wife and myself. The input he received was that “Holy Yoga” was ok and since the Agreement of Faiths matched the Elder and pastor had no problem with “Holy Yoga” in the church.
I would not agree with their decision. However, the sad part was that my wife did not take my position (she considers yoga just to be exercise). So I was alone with taking a stand. The yoga teacher and her husband left the meeting and I was accused of being a Pharisee.
Since her and her husband were members of our small group. Our small group was falling apart since she, her husband and I were not attending. I was the one that was accused of tearing the group apart. After a few weeks my wife kept telling me that I need to seek reconciliation since I was the one to hurt the relationships.
I had a meeting with one of our church leaders and a small group member for they were seeking to reconcile the small group. Again, I gave my testimony and voiced my concerns and during the meeting the church leader stated that he was a member of the Masons and he did not see anything wrong with being a member. I did not say much more after this except that I must leave the church.
As I mentioned, the Yoga class is no longer in the church but the practice is condoned by our leadership and is practiced by the worship leader and some of the church goers. Yes, it is difficult for me worship at this church at this time. I have found a church that I have been attending on Sunday mornings. However my wife still attends the church and tries to change the subject when I mention about the direction of the church.
I am trying to educate my wife with the issues that are in the churches. I am currently reading your book, Mike, and it helped to clear up an issue with Rick Warren that she was unaware of. Continue to pray for us and pray for my wife’s eyes to be opened (the yoga teacher is one of her best friends which I know makes it difficult for her).