Down devil dog: Yoga is Satanic

Unintentionally hilarious article about how yoga is a gateway to the devil.

GOP Candidate: Yoga Opens You to Satanic Possession – Garance Franke-Ruta – The Atlantic.

National Review’s Betsy Woodruff looked into controversial Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial candidate and pastor E.W. Jackson’s 2008 book Ten Commandments To An Extraordinary Life for a deeper understanding of his views on the human spirit, society, and, uh, yoga. Yes, yoga.

[Satan] is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it. That is why people serve Satan without ever knowing it or deciding to, but no one can be a child of God without making a decision to surrender to him. Beware of systems of spirituality which tell you to empty yourself. You will end up filled with something you probably do not want.

Yoga has become so normalized in American life that this seems an extreme position (no pun intended). And yet Jackson’s warning about on the spiritual dangers of yoga are not uncommon among Christian conservatives representing a variety of denominations.

Yoga=evil is endorsed by former Vatican chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, Pope John Paul II and megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll.

This piece is quite interesting. The writer notes that it sounds silly but actually reflects the struggle between faith and modernity. Didn’t the church always think that modern new fads were HORRIBLE – dancing, rock n roll, Harry Potter. Weren’t those all “devil’s work” too? Geez they are paranoid. Anyway, make room for Christian yoga – Praise moves. I’ll pass.


  19 comments for “Down devil dog: Yoga is Satanic

  1. spookyparadigm
    June 6, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Remember what I keep saying about demonology?

  2. Massachusetts
    June 6, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    I was in a coffee shop a few years ago when two men at the next table started talking about the demonic influence that comes down through yoga and how at risk the average person was. I had an urge to turn around and argue the point but I didn’t think anything I said would matter.

    For anyone with a sense of reality I’d recommend ‘The Science of Yoga: the risks and rewards’ by William J.Broad. It investigates what yoga’s good at, and not good at, true claims and false claims, and some old-time scams, like a yogi sealed in an Airtight coffin who sneaks out for a midnight snack! A good read.

  3. June 6, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    If Yoga is the gateway to Satan then what is Boo-Boo?

  4. Massachusetts
    June 6, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Boo boo guards the gates to the great picnic basket, at least when Cerberus is napping.

  5. spookyparadigm
    June 6, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Ok, so I actually read the article, and while it provides some information, it really goes out of its way to cloud the issue. Which is that Yoga is tied to non-Christian religion, and that’s pretty much the entire objection, as noted somewhere in the middle. A lot of words to get around the simple fact that conservative Christians label other religions as demonic.

  6. Warren
    June 6, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    While the whole yoga/satanism thing is pretty stupid, I can’t help but regard yoga more as a gateway to woo. My wife stopped going despite enjoying the exercise aspects of it, because everybody there insisted in turning it into some bizarre life-energy mysticism.

    She put up with it at first, but she decided it was too much when she realized she couldn’t find a single other student who wasn’t into crystals, astrology, and half a dozen other new age superstitions. Most of them found their way there though yoga, too.

  7. RDW
    June 6, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    The little bit of Hatha Yoga I did, decades ago (Lilias Folan – PBS), left me feeling much more alert, able to concentrate better and generally in a less stressed out frame of mind. The deep breathing in particular seemed to have a lot of benefits to it. Although I was only ever at best an intermediate, I was impressed with how much better it made me feel. I’m tempted to take it up again as a hobby. It’s not surprising that Christian Extremists would latch onto it as something to pick on, though. With people being able to think more clearly, they’d be a lot less likely to buy into their religion.

  8. Chris Howard
    June 6, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Wait. What? Damn, I’m still playing my albums backwards to listen to the satanic messages. I really need to get with it and practice yoga, then!

    BTW Pat Boone albums are chock full of messages hailing our Dark Lord. Heavy Metal, not so much. Who knew?

  9. June 6, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Funnily enough the yoga studio I attend has a huge wall hanging of Mother Theresa on the wall and at least one instructor with a strong Christian influence on their practice.

  10. Chris
    June 6, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    About twenty five years a fundy sibling sent us a videotape as a Christmas gift. It explained not only the evils of yoga, but how playing Dungeons and Dragons is also demonic. Then in a later discussion with that relative, I was told that a book by Frank Peretti was really great, and showed how it all worked. It was horrible. There were angels on motorcycles, and a descent into a demonic hell at a yoga studio. Plus the location was where huge redwood trees grew, but was only an hour from New York City.

    I responded by getting him a year’s subscription to Skeptical Inquirer.

  11. Chris Howard
    June 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Oh man, I remember all that demonic Dungeons & Dragons stuff! I used to be heavy into that (there was nothing else to do in Southern Indiana, at that time) all my religious relatives were so concerned for my soul!

    Of course this was the at the height of the whole “…satanist are everywhere!” scare. I also took Tae Kwan Do at the YMCA, and remember a family member telling me that Asian martial arts were satanic as well.

  12. spookyparadigm
    June 6, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    As I argue in these posts, the Satanic Panic never went entirely away. The worst of it (the mass accusations) did, and the mass media stopped running with it as it did in the 1980s. But the basic core element, including its misuse by law enforcement and media, never did. And as in noted in the first link, it’s not accidental or sloppy. The people that traffick in these myths know what they’re doing, they’re playing to a populist conspiratorial worldview with a fairly set group of political and social themes.

    Werewolves, “Weird Women,” and the Web: How the “Satanic Panic” has never really gone away

    Why Skepticism is So Important: The anti-Muslim FBI CounterTerrorist Expert and the Satanic Panic

    Fears of Occult Ritual Scenes, a Folk Forensic Archaeology

  13. Chris Howard
    June 6, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Damn spooky, you da man! Thanks for the links. They’re awesome!

  14. One Eyed Jack
    June 7, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    You know this will be made into a Chick Tract.

  15. Steve Jenkinson
    June 7, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    This is the same type of person who when they screw up blames the Devil. and says something like, “The Devil got me”.

    I’m always the first to say, “No, YOU got you.”

  16. June 7, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    “Yoga=evil is endorsed by…Pope John Paul II…”
    And how does he relay that information from beyond the grave?

  17. June 9, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    Just call it stretching and relaxiing, and they’ll be fine with it. No one can seriously object to ‘stretching’ or relaxing, it’s the mystical side of it that even I object to (though not for religious reasons, just because it’s nonsense).

    That said, believing in stupid things is not a welcome sign for satan, just a welcome sign for more stupid ideas.

  18. One Eyed Jack
    June 9, 2013 at 6:01 AM

    No one can seriously object to ‘stretching’ or relaxing,

    ” Mildred: Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?
    Johnny: Whadda you got? ”

    -The Wild One, 1953

  19. Massachusetts
    June 9, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    I found Hatha yoga to be very helpful too, and very complementary to other forms of working out, like swimming and western strength training. I found Kundalini yoga less helpful and much more woo-charged, but an interesting experience. My understanding is that the modern versions we practice today are very sanitized, coming down to us through a Victorian lens. The book I referenced discusses that in detail (it’s been a while since I read it so I’m fuzzy on the details.)

Comments are closed.