On this episode Sheryl and Tim Kloehr talk to dear friends from India, Rose and James. They talk about how the Church is doing in India and address the Hinduism that is foundational to the practice of Yoga. We pray this podcast encourages you to see the importance of the postures we take and the things we meditate on. Let’s set our mind on things above!
Life for Christians in India:
Christians make up only 3% of the population of India.
The government pressures and persecutes Christians. We believe there's a larger number of Christians but persecution to families or losing government benefits keeps them silent.
The government requires people to classify what religion they are in the census - this is where they find out if they are Christian.
Pastors are persecuted as they conduct services mostly in villages, attacked by Hindu fanatics to scare believers and new converts to keep them from returning.
Churches can’t rent places to gather so they have to find a place to worship. They meet in homes but they can be turned in by neighbors or fanatics. ‘Too much sound’ to disrupt service. They can’t do in their own home. Villages, they are accused of buying Christian’s to offer help.
Yoga comes from Hinduism practice for enlightenment with the god they serve. Yoga has a spiritual aspect:
1. exercise 2. meditation 3. chatting. This is a counter to Christian’s referring to spirit, soul and body.
Because of the worship of Hindu gods, to bring yoga into Christianity is not likely. Christian’s in India would never do yoga. In schools, it’s mandatory now to offer yoga. Christian’s pull their kids out of schools to avoid practicing yoga. The government is trying to require even private schools too. They classify it as "exercise" to get them to do it.
The exercise part of Hatha yoga is postures or poses. Each pose is worshiping one of the 300 million gods. They are key to unlocking the spiritual realm, losing attachments and feeling enlightenment. Each pose exercises a deity so how can you have that be an exercise? There’s no way to pose without worshiping their gods. It affects all of us ~ mind and spirit. You lose control by clearing your mind and relax.
Enlightenment for Hindus is a process of being a god. It’s a way of getting there. It’s a counterfeit of what the Holy Spirit gives us. If we don’t understand the Word, the Holy Spirit gives understanding, enlightenment, and revelation.
The Bible says we are not to clear our minds or open our minds but to fill our minds with the things of God.
There’s a lot of distracting things. the sheep will come in wolves clothing and this is one way the wolf can come in. The Bible says to abstain from evil things and listen to the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit, “ is this the right path for me?”
Who is God?
The characteristics of God: He is the God of our Shalom. He is our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5; 1 Corinthians 1:30). He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). He is our provider (Hebrews 13:2--21). He is our healer (Exodus 15:26). With yoga, they are referring to another source. When you develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit, you need to understand who He is. He is the Spirit of the Lord. He gives wisdom and counsel.
Alternatives to Yoga Practices
Aerobic classes - always new trends at fitness businesses
Boxing gyms for fitness
Dancing - classes like square dance, swing, tango, country, line dancing, etc.
Cardio equipment - elliptical, treadmill, stationary bike, etc.
Feedback from those doing yoga... ‘it feels good'. It helps my body.’
If confused or uncertain, the following options can help where deception might be present.
What we can do to as an alternative to yoga from God's Word
1. Read God's Word daily. Invite the Holy Spirit to give you understanding as you read it.
3. God's word says to renew our minds. Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV
3. Think on those things that are pure and lovely. Philippians 4:8 CJB
focus your thoughts on what is true, noble, righteous, pure, lovable or admirable, on some virtue or on something praiseworthy.
4. Taking captive our thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NET
and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.
5. Be quiet and meditate on the Word. Psalm 119:15 ESV
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
6. Breathing patterns - purpose instead of clearing one's mind is to relax and de-stress.
7. Ask the Lord if it’s wrong for you to practice yoga. Listen to the Holy Spirit's answer.
8. Constantly seek the Lord in all things
Jesus came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. The way to the Father is through Jesus. Jesus said He’d send another comforter... the Holy Spirit who would teach us. We can accept Jesus as our Savior and believe He died for us and the Father raised Him from the dead. Then accept the Holy Spirit as a gift. This is all we need.
Concerns from an Indian pastor... Hindus advertise to the western culture to find self realization and peace by new age practices such as yoga. There’s places to find peace in the form of yoga, but we don’t have to go anywhere. The Holy Spirit is present to guide us. We can commune with the Holy Spirit in our own home. They say there's multiple ways to God, but we know there’s only one way through Jesus Christ. We can accept people without compromising our beliefs.