Yoga and Satanism?

Periodically, you’ll get either fundamentalists or strict Catholics like this “exorcist” who make ridiculous claims like this guy.

He (an exorcist for the Catholic Church) claims that Harry Potter and yoga are “Satanic”.

Both of these claims are ridiculous and completely ignorant. But for now, I’m just going to focus on the yoga part.

Yoga comes from the same root word as the word “yoke”. To quote one of the first people to bring yoga from the West, Aleister Crowley, “Yoga means union”.

(Granted, if I’m trying to establish that yoga is NOT Satanic, some people might question bringing Aleister Crowley’s influence into it. But despite the common perception, Crowley was not a Satanist. Rather, he was an occultist. Some of his work was indeed Satanic, but some of it was also Christian, or Hindu, or Jewish, or pagan, or Buddhist. I don’t think he can accurately be considered any of those but an occultist. Or, more specifically, a Thelemite)

Yoga is a way to yoke the individual soul (the Atman) to the Divine (Brahman).  Although its origins lie in Hinduism, I see no reason why one could not modify it for Christianity.

But this is one of those people who believe that anything that is not explicitly Christian is Satanic. Hinduism? Satanic. Buddhism? Satanic. Etc. They like to describe other religions as worshipping “idols” or “false gods”.

I do not ascribe to that belief. There is only one Divinity in my belief. Humanity has created a number of different religions to worship that Divinity. We’ve created many different masks that we call Gods or God.  But they all worship the Divine.

Practicing yoga has nothing to do with Satanism. Unless you want to specifically practice Satanic yoga. Maybe the God you’re trying to reach is Satan. (Which is, of course, unlikely, since even most so-called Satanists do not actually worship Satan.)

Hell, most yoga practiced in the West isn’t even real yoga. It’s just a bunch of asanas (physical yoga postures) designed to relax you. It’s New Age yoga. There’s little, if any, worship in it.

In Hinduism, yoga comes in many more forms than in just hatha (or physical) yoga. There’s bhakti yoga, karma yoga, jnana yoga, and the raja yoga of the sutras of Patanjali.

None of it is specifically Satanic. Yoga is, itself, a tool. A tool for knowing one’s Self and for knowing the Divine.

You know, the world is getting smaller. If you’re going to survive in a world full of different religions, you’re going to have to learn to get along with them. Instead of calling yoga “Satanic”, instead focus on developing Christian yoga. I know there’s Christian yoga groups out there.

The late great mystic Anthony de Mello did wonderful work with taking traditional Hindu mysticism and synthesizing it with Catholic (or Christian) mysticism.

Explore his work and the work of others like Bede Griffiths who ran a Christian ashram in India.


~ by R.M. McGrath on 11/25/2011.

2 Responses to “Yoga and Satanism?”

  1. As you probably know, defining “anything that isn’t Christian” as “Satanic” drives me bugnuts. Defining yoga as Satanic would be laughable if it weren’t so disturbingly off base.


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