Saturday, May 24, 2008
Father Jeremy Davies: Avoid Yoga, Massage Therapy, and Horoscopes

Note: The fourth comment in the comment box is a lengthy reflection on the problems of Yoga, added in response to the comments by readers.
Yoga and horoscopes can lead to possession by Devil, claims Cardinal's exorcist

By Jonathan Petre
Last updated at 11:27 PM on 24th May 2008

It is a physical workout enjoyed by millions and its devotees include Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sting.

But yoga enthusiasts have been warned by a leading Roman Catholic clergyman that they are in danger of being possessed by the Devil.

Father Jeremy Davies, exorcist for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the leader of Catholics in England and Wales, says that activities such as yoga, massage therapy, reiki or even reading horoscopes could put people at risk from evil spirits.

In a new book, he also argues that people with promiscuous lifestyles could find themselves afflicted by demons.

And he says that the occult is closely linked to the scourges of ‘drugs, demonic music and pornography’ which are ‘destroying millions of young people in our time’.

The 73-year-old Catholic priest, who was appointed exorcist of the Archdiocese of Westminster in 1986, was a medical doctor before being ordained in 1974.

He has carried out thousands of exorcisms in London and in 1993 he set up the International Association of Exorcists with Fr Gabriel Amorth, the Pope’s top exorcist.


42 comments:

May 26, 2008 at 5:22 PM
Non-catholic human being said...

Frankly, do you believe that sitting in a certain posture and breathing in a certain way would invite possession by the devil?

May 26, 2008 at 9:12 PM
Christina said...

Seriously, there has to be more to this article. There is no way the physical exercise of Yoga could invite demons any more than Taekwon-do or jogging around a track. That also goes for massages.

The only way I could remotely see these actions inviting demons is if the teacher/provider was practicing some new age religion and incorporating it into the practice. Perhaps this is what the priest actually said and the reporter cut it off?

In our culture we have to worry far more about promiscuity and the opinion that God is not necessary or important in daily life. The devil wins more by this indifference and lukewarmness than by odd stretching positions.

May 26, 2008 at 10:09 PM
Joseph Fromm said...

These are some comments from Yoga adherents in my com box at Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit. You can read their full comments and my post about yoga at http://goodjesuitbadjesuit.blogspot.com/2008/05/jesuit-yoga-i-2008-05-07-author-francis.html
.
Comment #1
I studied yoga vedanta for some time some years ago. I don't find the cautions from Christians about demonic influences particularly convincing, although I have been told by eastern teachers that meditation/yoga can be dangerous in opening up yourself to the demonic in those "other planes". I guess that is why the guru is so important.
.
Comment #2
It is very confusing. I am almost afraid to face the fact that a consistent yoga discipline does open one up to demonic influences. Maybe this is true. I say this because based on my own experience, I have felt a..."power" that seems good, but in the light of Catholic theology- I do not think this empowerment is a holy thing. I thought maybe this "power" could be for good, could be holy, but I have not that to be true in my personal efforts.

JMJ

Joe

May 26, 2008 at 10:38 PM
Seminarian Matthew said...

With regards to Yoga, it is impossible to separate the philosophy from the exercise, because the physical moves themselves, become forms of meditation.( I have included an article below) I think that if people really understood just what it is that they are chanting in Yoga class, they would be shocked. Here is a definition of the OM chant that is practiced in Yoga. –

OM/ AUM
OM, or pranava, is the seed of transcendental realization, and it is composed of the three transcendental letters a-u-m. By chanting OM in conjunction with the breathing process-a transcendental but mechanical way of entering trance-as devised by experienced mystics, one is able to bring the mind, which is usually materially absorbed, under control. OM is the seed of all transcendental sound, and only transcendental sound can bring about the desired change of the mind and the senses. OM is the direct, literal representation of the Supreme Absolute Truth. BY CHANTING “OM” AND CONTROLLING THE BREATHING SYSTEM, ONE IS ABLE TO REACH THE ULTIMATE STATE OF THE PRANAYAMA SYSTEM OF YOGA AND BE FIXED IN SAMADHI (TRANCE).

The sound of OM is eternal and goes beyond the conceptions of time. It is pronounced with a nasalized ending, a sound between an N and an M. OM is used to begin sacrifices, mediation, prayers, and before the performance of yoga. To obtain the true benefit of this powerful mantra, one must chant it with full concentration. OM is the symbolic sound representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no difference between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and OM.

These three symbolic representations are used by Brahmins while chanting Vedic hymns and during sacrifices performed for the satisfaction of the Supreme. In the Vedic hymns, the word OM is always present.

Yoga & Christianity, ARE THEY COMPATIBLE?
February 2006 By Joel S. Peters

Joel S. Peters teaches theology at a Catholic high school in Montvale, New Jersey.

It is not at all uncommon these days to see Yoga advertised and promoted. Books on Yoga abound, websites dealing with its philosophy and practice are numerous, and instructional seminars are routinely offered in gyms, health clubs, and even some Catholic institutions. It has so successfully permeated our culture that most people don't even raise an eyebrow at the mention of it. In fact, some Christians have integrated Yoga into their lives and may thus admire their own "inclusive" attitude. Or they see nothing wrong with practicing Yoga and would be quite surprised to learn that it represents any spiritual threat whatsoever.

It is precisely because of this ignorance about Yoga -- on the part of professed Christians -- that I have chosen to write this article. I don't doubt that the vast majority of believers who practice Yoga are blissfully unaware of its true nature and purpose, and they probably view it as "simply exercise." But herein lies its greatest danger. When Yoga is written off as a mere physical discipline with little or no regard for its spiritual underpinnings, we run the risk of being misled about something that could have a significant bearing on our own spiritual well-being.

What Is Yoga?
The origins of Yoga date back as far as 5,000 years, and for a long time the principles of Yoga were passed on as oral tradition. This tradition was eventually committed to writing, and Yoga thus made its appearance in the four ancient Hindu writings known as the Vedas, the oldest of which dates to about 1500 B.C. An individual named PataƱjali later compiled and codified the sum total knowledge about Yoga. Sources vary on when this occurred, with dates ranging anywhere from the fourth century B.C. to the second century A.D. His work, called the Yoga Sutra, is the authoritative text on Yoga and is recognized by all of its schools.

The word "Yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root word yuj, meaning "union" or "to yoke." Sanskrit is the ancient language of Hinduism, and so it should be no surprise to learn that Yoga is inextricably linked to this religion. In fact, "Yoga" is very similar in meaning to the Latin word religio, from which we get our word "religion" -- meaning "to fasten" or "to bind." In the case of both words, the clear implication is that a person is being "yoked" or "fastened" to something spiritual. More significant, though, is the reason for Yoga's development.

In Hinduism there are three paths to salvation: works (rituals, duties, and ceremonies that add to one's merit), knowledge (understanding that not sin, but ignorance about the true nature of our existence, is the cause of evil and misery), and devotion (the worship of Hindu gods and goddesses). The path of knowledge is used most often by the Brahmin or priestly caste (highest stratum) in Hindu society. Within this path there are three schools of philosophy: Vedanta, Sankhya, and Yoga. So, plainly put, Yoga is a system of Hindu philosophy designed to lead the practitioner to spiritual enlightenment or salvation. The specific mechanism involved in the process is the use of physical postures (asanas) coupled with breathing exercises that are specifically designed to enhance meditation and alter one's state of consciousness so the practitioner may attain oneness with a "higher reality."

While it is beyond the scope of this article to deal with the numerous styles of Yoga, it is relevant to note that although components within the branches of Yoga may vary, the ultimate goal is the same, namely, the altering of one's consciousness to attain a spiritual state.

But Don't Resource Materials on Yoga Disavow any Religious Connection?
You will certainly find plenty of denials of any connections between Yoga and religion from some authors and instructors. Consider the following examples: "Yoga is not a religion, therefore it can be practiced in partnership with any religious belief" (Rammurti S. Mishra, Fundamentals of Yoga). "Yoga is a complete system of how to live our lives. It leads us to a whole new way of living. It is not a religion, yet it can be combined with a religion to increase the richness of any tradition" (Mischala Joy Devi, The Healing Path of Yoga). "Some people think that yoga is calisthenics, epitomized by the headstand, the lotus posture, or another pretzel-like pose. Others think it is a system of meditation. Yet others regard it, perhaps fearfully, as a religion. All these stereotypes are misleading" (Georg Feuerstein and Stephan Bodian, eds., Living Yoga). "So what is Yoga, anyway? Yoga is not just stretching, just breathing, or just meditation. It is not just crossing your legs, closing your eyes, putting your thumbs and forefingers together and chanting 'Om....' And it is certainly not a cult or religion" (Larry Payne and Richard Usatine, Yoga Rx).

All are recognized Yoga masters, and yet one cannot help but pause at the incongruity between their denials about religious connections to Yoga and the material they set forth in their books that clearly shows how the practice of Yoga is a formalized means to a spiritual end within the context of a distinctly Hindu worldview. And if Yoga is truly not a religion, then how do we explain the fact that Yoga plays a very prominent role in the Vedas, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Upanishads, which are Hinduism's scriptures? So such denials are at best ignorance on the part of these authors (which is untenable in light of their status as Yoga masters) and at worst a deliberate misrepresentation of what Yoga actually is. Both explanations present some problems.

So Why Is the Practice of Yoga A Problem for a Christian?
At the heart of Hinduism is a monistic worldview -- one which maintains that all reality is ultimately one and that it shares a common divine "essence." In other words, my own true self or identity is really the same identity as all other beings. While the labels for this essence vary (e.g., universal mind, cosmic consciousness, a higher reality, eternal self), they all convey the same basic concept, namely, that the universe is comprised of an eternal, divine spiritual energy, and all entities in existence -- including humans -- are extensions of this energy. Yoga is the vehicle that unites the practitioner (male = Yogi, female = Yogini) with this cosmic energy. The task of the Yogi, then, is two-fold: (1) to discard the "erroneous" notion that each person is a unique being distinct from the rest of creation, and (2) to "become one" with this cosmic energy or so-called higher reality.

Professed Christians should already be noting that the aforementioned worldview is foreign to -- even diametrically opposed to -- their own. So the very defining context of Yoga is a radical departure from the Christian perception of reality, whereby the believer in Christ must rightfully acknowledge that (a) he is, in fact, a unique creation of God, (b) neither man nor the created universe is divine, and (c) the goal of this life is to grow in one's relationship with a personal, loving, divine Creator who, though eternally distinct from what He has created, calls us into fellowship with Him. The discrepancy between these two worldviews cannot be overstated.

But Can't I Just Gain the Physical Benefits From Yoga Without the Religious Aspects?
I submit that this question is misleading and betrays some ignorance on the part of the person asking it. It's misleading because it presupposes that a dichotomy can be made between the physical postures of Yoga and its underlying spirituality; it betrays ignorance because the Christian practitioner who asks it, in all likelihood, has not done research on Yoga before undertaking it. If he had, he would have realized that Yoga is by its very nature a Hindu religious practice.

To suggest that one can derive solely physical benefits from Yoga without being affected -- in some way -- by its inherently spiritual foundation is to miss the mark. Yoga is not primarily about limbering up the body; it is about using physical means to achieve a spiritual end. So the question of separating the physical from the spiritual in Yoga is really a contradiction in terms. In fact, if one consults the massive amount of Yoga material available, it becomes patently clear that any physical benefits are secondary considerations. Yoga is consistently presented as being primarily about actualizing one's spiritual potential, attaining "freedom," transcending the ego, and the like.

Perhaps by analogy a Catholic may ask if it's possible to receive the Eucharist and not be participating in something religious. Or think of it another way. If an atheist takes and consumes a consecrated Host, could we validly maintain that has he not received the Body of Christ because he doesn't believe that that's what it is? Could we assert that he has merely "gone through the physical motions" of receiving but has not engaged in a spiritual activity? Technically speaking, the Eucharist has a spiritual reality independent of the receiver's beliefs, and I propose that the same is true for Yoga. Just as the Real Presence is contained within a consecrated Host whether or not someone believes it, so also does Yoga have a spiritual component that is real, whether or not it is the specific pursuit of the practitioner.

"But hold on," you say. "I've been practicing Yoga for some time now, and as a result I've become more peaceful and it has had a positive effect on my physical well-being. And it certainly hasn't turned me away from my Catholic faith." Well again, I cannot deny that people do experience physical consequences from Yoga, but I suspect that Yoga's spiritual effects may be more subtle and therefore more elusive to identify. Keep in mind that humans are embodied spirits, so when we engage in a spiritual activity it naturally ought to produce some kind of result.

The issue then becomes a matter of what type of spiritual impact Yoga may have on Christians who practice it and whether or not beneficial bodily results mean that one is still spiritually "okay." Increased bodily flexibility or heightened mental peacefulness really says nothing about the objective state of one's soul, so the ultimate barometer of any spiritual practice from a Christian point of view is: Is this endeavor leading me to a deeper union with Christ? Considering Yoga's express purpose, it is extremely difficult to answer this question in the affirmative.

Does the Catholic Church Formally Have Anything to Say About Yoga?
Yes. In a 1989 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation (hereafter Aspects), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith focused on various Eastern spiritual practices and the legitimacy of their inclusion into the spiritual lives of Christians. In a footnote contained in Number 2, Aspects specifically states that "The expression 'eastern methods' is used to refer to methods which are inspired by Hinduism and Buddhism, such as Zen, Transcendental Meditation or Yoga." So the Magisterium clearly has Yoga in mind when addressing the issue of Christians using Eastern spiritual practices.

While this document does not expressly condemn Yoga, it repeatedly advises caution about using spiritual, meditative, or mystical practices that are devoid of a distinctly Christian context. For example, Number 12 states: "proposals to harmonize Christian meditation with eastern techniques need to have their contents and methods ever subjected to a thorough-going examination so as to avoid the danger of falling into syncretism." It also affirms that bodily considerations (such as Yoga's postures, for instance) can indeed impact us spiritually: "Human experience shows that the 'position and demeanor of the body' also have their influence on the recollection and dispositions of the spirit. This is a fact to which some eastern and western Christian spiritual writers have directed their attention" (#26).

Most noteworthy of all the document's observations is the rather stark one that mental and physical euphoria -- such as that which might result from practicing Yoga -- are not always what they seem to be: "Some physical exercises automatically produce a feeling of quiet and relaxation, pleasing sensations, perhaps even phenomena of light and of warmth, which resemble spiritual well-being. To take such feelings for the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit would be a totally erroneous way of conceiving the spiritual life. Giving them a symbolic significance typical of the mystical experience, when the moral condition of the person concerned does not correspond to such an experience, would represent a kind of mental schizophrenia which could also lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations" (#28). More will be said about this "psychic disturbance" later.

In 2003 the Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue released a document entitled Jesus Christ: The Bearer of the Water of Life (hereafter Bearer). While the focus of this document is the New Age movement, we again find the subject of Yoga included: "Some of the traditions which flow into New Age are: ancient Egyptian occult practices, Cabbalism, early Christian Gnosticism, Sufism, the lore of the Druids, Celtic Christianity, mediaeval alchemy, Renaissance hermeticism, Zen Buddhism, Yoga and so on" (#2.1).

Like Aspects that preceded it, Bearer advises definite caution about the use of non-Christian practices, but it goes one step further by calling into doubt the very context from which something like Yoga precedes: "It would be unwise and untrue to say that everything connected with the New Age movement is good, or that everything about it is bad. Nevertheless, given the underlying vision of New Age religiosity, it is on the whole difficult to reconcile it with Christian doctrine and spirituality" (#2).

This "underlying vision" bears a striking resemblance to the Hindu worldview, and many terms and concepts employed within the New Age movement convey essentially the same reality as the goal of Yoga: an altered state of consciousness that is a means to a transcendent, spiritual experience. The problem is that such a context is wholly foreign to a Christian understanding of the nature and purpose of prayer, meditation, and mystical experience. Moreover, the very notion of humans merging with a divine cosmic consciousness contradicts what the Church says about a bona fide Christian mystical experience: "In order to draw near to that mystery of union with God, which the Greek Fathers called the 'divinization' of man, and to grasp accurately the manner in which this is realized, it is necessary in the first place to bear in mind that man is essentially a creature, and remains such for eternity, so that an absorbing of the human self into the divine self is never possible, not even in the highest sta tes of grace" (Aspects #14; emphasis added).

For those Christians who wish, perhaps, to use Yoga's meditative techniques as a preparation for or an aid to prayer, we ought to be mindful of the true nature of all spiritual activity: "Christian prayer is always determined by the structure of the Christian faith, in which the very truth of God and creature shines forth. For this reason, it is defined, properly speaking, as a personal, intimate and profound dialogue between man and God. It expresses therefore the communion of redeemed creatures with the intimate life of the Persons of the Trinity" (Aspects, #3; emphasis added). We also must be mindful of the fundamental difference between Christian and Hindu or Eastern mystical experiences: "For Christians, the spiritual life is a relationship with God which gradually through his grace becomes deeper, and in the process also sheds light on our relationship with our fellow men and women, and with the universe. Spirituality in New Age terms means experiencing states of consciousness dominated by a sense of harmony and fusion with the Whole. [Such] 'mysticism' refers not to meeting the transcendent God in the fullness of love, but to the experience engendered by turning in on oneself, an exhilarating sense of being at one with the universe, a sense of letting one's individuality sink into the great ocean of Being" (Bearer, #3.4).

Are there any other dangers associated with Yoga?
Yes. Recall that Aspects stated “psychic disturbances” could result from a discrepancy between a mystical experience and the state of the person’s soul. In other words, a person who is experiencing actual mystical phenomena but who is not deeply grounded in Christ may find himself dealing with some serious spiritual anomalies. It should not surprise us, then, to discover that psychic phenomena are part and parcel of Yoga’s “benefits.” For example, Rammurti S. Mishra (cited above) claims that through Yoga a person can “. . . acquire the power of seeing and knowing without the help of other senses. . .”, “. . . know past events and future incidents . . . ”, “. . . open the third eye in you, which is called . . . [the] ‘divine eye’”, expect to experience auras and astral bodies which “ . . . are coming to serve him [the Yogi]”, and obtain the powers of clairaudience and clairvoyance. One only has to browse the pages of the Old Testament to see that such abilities are really occult powers and are condemned by God in the most unequivocal and forceful terms (cf. Lev. 19:26, 31; Deut. 18:9-14; 2 Kgs. 17:13-15, 17-18; 2 Chr. 33:1-2, 6).

Of the four authors cited above, Mishra is certainly not alone in claiming that Yoga can either develop a person’s psychic abilities or subject him to psychic phenomena. Devi recounts the story of a woman recovering from cancer who used some Yoga techniques she learned from the author as part of her therapy: “‘I do my imagery every day like you told me to. It is usually nice, but last night when I was doing it, something happened. Instead of me just imagining the picture of the Lord Jesus [as a focus for meditation], he really appeared and then turned into pure white light. I could feel the light enter my body right there.’ (She pointed to the third eye center, between her eyebrows.)” (p. 47, italics and parentheses in original).

Feuerstein and Bodian note that experiences made possible through Yoga include “. . . lucid dreaming, out-of-body states, clairvoyance, and other psychic abilities, as well as ecstasies, mystical states and, at the apex of them all, enlightenment.” They go on to assert that “Yoga is at home with all these mental states and mind-transcending realizations” (pp. 4-5).

Silva, Mira and Shyam Mehta, in Yoga: The Iyengar Way (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997) tell us: “The heightened states of consciousness [in Yoga] . . . result in spiritual wisdom. They also bring various supernormal attainments (siddhis), according to the object of meditation. Some are within the range of human experience,such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, and the ability to read minds” (p. 170).

Given these candid admissions by Yoga masters that the development of psychic abilities is a virtually unavoidable result of practicing Yoga — in fact, it is the very goal — the believing Christian is left with a serious moral and spiritual dilemma: should he pursue an activity whose ultimate goal is to cultivate “powers” that God expressly condemns? There’s no avoiding the fact that Yoga can and does foster these abilities, and there’s no avoiding the fact that God tells us they are spiritually harmful to His children.

May 27, 2008 at 10:53 AM
samay said...

what a rubbish. yoga is an ancient technique practised since thousand of years. it has never led anybody towards devil.yoga is not just all about to keep your body and mind healthy but its an art of living. People should know about its basic and they should have ability to decide whats good for them.

May 27, 2008 at 2:51 PM
Anonymous said...

Jeremy Davies is very unscientific, and seem to lack experience in spirituality.

He seems to be possessed by his own thoughts and needs treatment.

yes, certain breathing exercises can help one get higher experiences and achieve feats. Having achieved some powers, one can choose to do good or bad. That totally depends on the persons mental state, understanding and his/her quest for the self.

Yogic exercises are meant to use the body, mind and intellect to the fullest. This could eventually lead to higher states of consciousness and thereby cause a change in personality, ultimately leading to happiness, satisfaction.

Yogic exercises are scientific and are very well described in the scriptures.

There is a lot of discipline to be followed while doing these exercises, so if you do it right, you get to the right, if you do it the wrong way, you get to the wrong.

May 27, 2008 at 9:36 PM
Anonymous said...

I read someone saying about "OM" at the beginning or at the end of vedic chants. The OM is a phonetically 'a' (sounds as in auction), u (sounds as in pool) and m (sounds as in mack). Each syllable meaning is given below.

In Sanskrit 'a' means No in English, which is to state God is not what we think, all the knowledge we know about God does NOT describe Him completely. No words can describe God.

'u' - means God is beyond human comprehension. Humans can not comprehend God.

'm' - Even though God is beyond human intelligence, beyond human comprehension, humans can still get a glimpse of God.

(Logically if something beyond reachable, and beyond comprehension there is no point in going after that goal., but the 'm' syllable says we should not bend on logic here but we still should try, and we will have a glimpse of Glory or God.

This is what the meaning of "OM", which does not say which god, doesn't say idolatry, does not say anything about any Hindu/Christian/Muslim or any other God. In reality the Vedic God is called "Brahma" literally means huge, beyond comprehension. Just my 2 bits of understanding.

May 28, 2008 at 3:34 AM
Anonymous said...

Lets not move away from the blog topic.

Lets keep Om/Aum discussion to some other blog.

Regarding Jeremy Davies comments about yoga, i would like to put if something is benefiting mankind mentally and physically, i dont see anything wrong in doing it, i.e. doing yoga.

Jeremy probably fears losing catholics, looking at the way yoga is taking over the world.

Therefore he is trying to somehow stop this, and also for some popularity.

can somebody out here put some excerpts from the book on the blog.

May 28, 2008 at 6:19 AM
Anonymous said...

Read this true story: "Death of A Guru" by Rabi R. Maharaj.

May 28, 2008 at 6:40 AM
Anonymous said...

Here are two quotes from Hindu practitioner of Yoga.

1] "Hinduism is the soul of yoga, based as it is on Hindu Scripture and developed by Hindu sages. Yoga opens up new and more refined states of mind, and to understand them one needs to believe in and understand the Hindu way of looking at God. . . . A Christian trying to adapt these practices will likely disrupt their own Christian beliefs'." (Hinduism Today, Sannyasin Arumugaswami)

2]"Is Yoga a religion that denies Jesus Christ? Yes. Just as Christianity denies the Hindu Maha Devas such as Siva, Vishnu, Durga and Krishna, to name a few, Hinduism and its many Yogas have nothing to do with God and Jesus (though we do respect that others believe in this way). As Hindus who live the Yogic lifestyle, we appreciate when others understand that all of Yoga is all about the Hindu religion. Modern so-called 'yoga' is dishonest to Hindus and to all non-Hindus such as the Christians." (Danda, Dharma Yoga Ashram. www.classicalyoga.org)

May 28, 2008 at 3:42 PM
Joseph Fromm said...

Dear Seminarian Matthew,
Thank you for weighing in on this issue. This really get into the heart of sycratism. A Catholic who is in a state of "grace" and practicing his/her faith will find no need to lift their mind to "higher states". Catholic well grounded in their faith and that has an active prayer life, will find all the "higher states" they can handle.

JMJ
Joe

May 29, 2008 at 1:42 PM
S. Immanuel said...

In contemporary times it is important for Christian denominations to set aside their differences and get on to a common platform to fight the evil infiltration of the human mind by eastern pagan concepts of yoga and the like. The Christian faith will not succumb to the evils of paganism but its unassuming practitioners will and these practitioners could even be drawn from Christianity as well. A summit debate of the world Christian leadership should be summoned to address this burning issue. Father Jeremy Davies has done yeoman service in this regard and it is the duty of every Christian author to follow suit just as yoga exponents are out attempting every methodology to rationalize its concepts.

S. Immanuel
Chennai - India
immanuel.s@rediffmail.com

May 31, 2008 at 3:02 PM
Anonymous said...

For the ones who believe Yoga is innocent.
Do not forget that the true goal of Yoga is to get energy called Kundalini or " the serpent". It could take many years or practice until to get it!

Here is a video where kundalini hidden power is manifested!

http://easylink.playstream.com/rhgindc/nsaclip.wvx

Occult power!

June 2, 2008 at 4:25 PM
Gerhard said...

Well done Fr Davies! I, and millions of others, endorse EVERYTHING you have said, and it's high time these things are spelled out as plainly as you have done.
Gerhard

September 25, 2008 at 2:21 AM
Anonymous said...

YOGA - the union of the BODY MIND and SOUL such is the state of a human being which is flickering constantly from moment to moment of its existence . The rich teachings that help the practitioner to look after and keep of the wonders of the very creation of GOD - OUR BODY MIND and SOUL - in proper working condition can be found , so far that I know of , is embodied in the simple training of YOGA ( a medium of reference for us to refer to when communicating with each other ) As christian we are reminded that our body is the temple of GOD and sad to say not many people are doing a good job in looking after it - We should be glad that there is an ancient art of YOGA that is available to us to do our part in looking after what GOD has created so that when the time comes for us to return to HIM that we also return HIS creation in a GOOD condition . Let us start working on looking after what GOD has created - our physical self - as well as we can before we run out of time when we are called by HIM - WE CANNOT say.. "LORD I AM SO SORRY I DID NOT SPENT ENOUGH TIME LOOKING AFTER EVEN THE CLOSEST CREATION YOU HAVE CREATED - ME - MY BODY MY MIND and MY SOUL . cos I am confused and afraid to be leaded astray .

December 16, 2008 at 3:14 AM
Unity said...

Father Jeremy Davies has been an exorcist for many years and has seen and heard things that most of us could never understand.With respect to all those 'practitioners' of alternative therapies.I suggest that the gist of Father Jeremy Davies words is that the only way to truly heal yourself and find peace within is by accepting and studying the Teaching of Jesus Christ.Try to attain perfection of Spirit by watching your every thought,word and deed.Not easy,i know but Jesus managed it and by following His teaching you will achieve it.Its just a question of how much you want to.What is more important to you?Your next dress?A new car to impress the neighbours?A fancy watch or an exotic holiday somewhere hot?Only you can decide.God Bless

March 2, 2009 at 12:32 PM
Anonymous said...

Father Jeremy
Is right, He certainly isnt out to gain personal glorification, He is just trying to warn people about the things that many dont understand unless they have been in that situation. LET HIM DO HIS WORK
God Bless fr.Jeremy D and all his works and all those he helps and trys to reach and warn forever.

March 2, 2009 at 12:35 PM
Anonymous said...

Hiya Father J
The Above answer is from
Christinme Smith
If You See This Please Contact me As it would be nice to chat again
My Brother In Christ

March 2, 2009 at 9:33 PM
Matthew said...

No, Father Davies is incorrect; see the arguments in the post.

April 21, 2009 at 11:53 PM
Anonymous said...

Years ago I read a book about yoga and the glandular system. He said Yoga opens up the glands and that is how people can become oppressed or possessed. It was a russian name, can't remember. Also a wonderful book, Angels of Light by Hobart E. Freeman (1969)on oppression and possession. I do have massages and I will now look into that, as the massage therapists all seem to be more into odd spiritual talk.I wonder if what they do opens up the glands too. After reading Freeman's book, I followed his instruction and had quite an experience. I believe I was very much oppressed due to prolonged mourning.

September 21, 2009 at 9:32 PM
Anonymous said...

God Bless Father Jeremy for speaking the truth and bringing to light what many of us are unaware of.. May god bless you and continue to give you the wisdom to teach Gods children..
God Bless you

March 7, 2010 at 12:14 PM
Anonymous said...

Seminarian Matthew,
Brilliant, brilliant insights.......thank you for pointing the way and the true path.

With God's Love,
A devout follower of Christ

April 15, 2010 at 11:36 PM
emilyscott said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
June 11, 2010 at 5:54 PM
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
August 23, 2010 at 8:51 AM
rev12v11 said...

I am a Christian 32 years now I was interested in Yoga a few years after I accepted Christ so brought a book on Yoga home from the library I had to go away that weekend and left the Yoga book with my wife that night she heard the words Om,om,om, over and over and she had to pray as it frightened her so it went back to library unread.
To add to that I was watching SidRoth.com and an ex Yoga teacher of 20 years had to tell his 200 students it was bad stuff and gave it up. It does attract demonic activity.

September 18, 2010 at 6:10 PM
Anonymous said...

it is hard for some of us to understand these resons but u have to believe and understand that the ones that dont listen about yoga and get offended over this that u have already let the evil one in god bless all of u

December 2, 2010 at 2:06 AM
Anonymous said...

What this priest is saying is Absolutely true . Anyone who denies it, simply has no experience with the subject matter.

I know someone in the deliverance ministry, who has had many experiences with people who are afflicted by demons.

She says exactly the same as what fr davies is saying, and you'll find pentecostals and catholc charismatics with the same information.

there are many books on the subject and if you do some research, you'll find many many people who can testify to this truth. (actually being delivered from demonic influence which came about as a result of new age or occult practices.)

December 2, 2010 at 2:24 AM
Anonymous said...

Jeremy is an expert in demonology. Listen to him!!

December 2, 2010 at 4:52 AM
Baylon Sequeira Vaz said...

The Eucharist is the heart of everything !!! If one is deeply routed in Catholic faith live your life and all burdens on Jesus. We dont need new-age movements like 'Yoga" to enlighten us. Just say : Jesus I trust in You .

Baylon Sequeira Vaz

February 5, 2011 at 11:06 AM
Anonymous said...

rubbish

February 5, 2011 at 11:51 AM
Malori said...

So how does getting a massage put one at risk? I occasionally get massages because I have chronic back and neck pain. I understand and agree on what he's saying about yoga, reiki, and horoscopes, and I would never do any of those 3 things, but massage therapy? I fail to see where that is risky, unless the therapist is doing some type of voodoo mind games on you while you're getting massaged.

February 5, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Anonymous said...

I am a cradle Catholic and I have been practicing Yoga for more than 15 years. My first reaction was disbelief, but then I read on. This post has caused me to stop, listen, and think. The Holy Spirit guides us through many means, priests being one of them. When I read the May 26, 2008 comments by Seminarian Matthew, some truths were revealed. He also gives many references to check. I am going to look into these references, examine my practices, and hopefully use this insight to grow in my faith and relationship with God. If your first reaction was anger, then this may already be posing a problem in your life. I pray that we all can benefit from this communication and discussion. May God Bless you all.

February 6, 2011 at 11:19 AM
curiosityinthesecondcity said...

The devil sure feels good. Thank you yoga. When do I get my horns and tail?

May 15, 2011 at 2:23 AM
Nelson said...

Nelson: I have been praying to Jesus to show me / tell me if Yoga was right for a christian. I finally have got to know the truth. The truth is in Jesus. For he said he is the truth and he gives us his peace. Practice his word and we will find that peace. We don't need Yoga or any meditation to experience this. For christ has given this to us already. All we need to do is surrender our lives to him and let him control it. His grace is sufficient for us.

September 23, 2011 at 11:06 AM
Anonymous said...

I found this blog while searching for answers about energy work. I have been a Catholic for 11 years. Four years ago I finished school for massage therapy. They taught us Reiki in school. I havent' done much with it since school-just have info in a notebook. I have recently switched where I practice massage. I have encountered a few massage therapists there who talk a lot of bad energy and especially how it seems to be around with me. It's a long story and I'm trying to keep it short. I feel like all of their talk is against my faith. I have emailed our priest to talk about it. In the meantime, I'm searching the net for little answers. I think I'm a good massage therapist but I don't claim to be a healer, I just assist in the healing. Being around these women, and a lot of other massage therapists, I feel like maybe this field of work crosses borders that I'm not comfortable with. Should I stop doing this work? I could use a lot of counseling in this matter.

November 8, 2011 at 5:47 AM
Kate said...

Hello, I have been a massage therapist for 12 years and practice a type of raja yoga meditation for 11 years. I also was raised in the Catholic faith and attended Catholic schools. In my meditation center in Ohio we have a Catholic nun, a Ursuline sister who has been doing the yoga meditation for longer than I have and is now a teacher of the system. She is very sweet and kind and holy and does not appear to be possessed:) As for massage therapy, it is a therapy very similar to physical therapy in an orthopedic office. We are reffered patients who need help with recovering from injuries due to accidents and falls or too much golfing. If your doctor told you to see a spine specialist, would you tell him or her you are afraid to go because you might become possessed by demons? As for the reiki, I always ask if people want the treatment before hand and if they say no, I respect it fully. I will never understand people who profess to have such faith in God but are so filled with fear. God will protect you, right? Oh yeah, and how can this priest forget that Jesus meditated! Yoga was invented by yogis who spent so many hours in meditation that their bodies felt cramped. So they invented a way to stretch and move the body without breaking their meditation. That is why it has some meditative properties. FYI:)

January 9, 2012 at 1:14 PM
Anonymous said...

Pl remember- Christian meditation is different from yogic meditation.

June 30, 2012 at 6:32 AM
Anonymous said...

Fr Jeremy Davies is right to be cautious about the use of alternative modalities that promote feelings of peace and well-being (that may not be based upon the peace of Christ). The devil knows how to give people a sense of "false peace" and can even perform miracles of healing which are usually temporary and normally lead to a can of worms being opened up later down the line. You shall know something by the fruits. If that person has the fruits of the Holy Spirit - peace, love, joy, meekness, humility, patience, etc then it probably is of God. As a former Reiki master myself who ended up getting demonically possessed and having received a deliverance healing IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, I know too well about the dangers of curiosity in astrology, numerology, crystals, channelling and all other New Age beliefs *which are a rehashing of old pagan and Gnostic heretical spiritual belief systems*. Whilst Jeremy Davies' views may appear hard-line to some, they are nevertheless based upon his particular real and concrete experiences. The Catholic Union of Bishops in US did a study and declared that Reiki was incompatible with Christianity, even though Reiki itself professes "to not be incompatible with other belief systems or was even revealed to someone who had a background in Christianity and Buddhism". The danger is that with these alternative modalities, they can be a stepping stone into a fascination with other things that can lead directly to demonic possession, and can lead to a dangerous kind of "sinsuality" as with what happened to me. I used to practise hatha yoga too in the past and the positions and the breathing I do believe can invite the presence of demonic spirits. Some people who have gotten into the more extreme forms have indeed ended up having complete metal breakdowns, although the watered down forms offered in exercise classes throughout the West are comparatively tame, but nonetheless are dangerous in so much as they can create that opening or fascination with the occult or Eastern forms of spirituality. I was fascinated with the whole alternative thing once upon a time, and look where it led me! But Jesus LOVED me all along and knew I was going down a false path which He allowed for so long before He saved me and now I have this testimony to share with others. That's why God allows these things to happen. So we learn, so we get to know Him and to truly appreciate the faith we have. I also practised Buddhism for three years but it did not answer all my questions. So I am in no doubt that Christ is the ONLY true way to God. As for Islam, you shall know something by the fruits. I have no greater desire than for our Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world to come to know who JC is. As for Hinduism, again, that can lead to demonic possession as these are pantheist belief systems woshipping fallen angels posing as gods (false Gods). Again, another flawed system. Does that mean all those people throughout the world are going to hell for having false beliefs ? I dont believe so. How could a merciful all-seeing God if those people never knew they had the choice ?? As you see there are many people throughout the world in different faiths that arent bad people and probably have some knowledge of who God is through nature, through the beauty of creation. God is a mystery, I dont pretend to understand the judgements He makes. What I do know is that Christ is the Way the Truth and the Life. All other ways are false and not all religions are created equal. Narrow is the door that leads to peace. Wide is the way that leads to perdition.

June 30, 2012 at 7:01 AM
Anonymous said...

I think that massage is ok and generally beneficial as long as that person isnt mixed up in New Age practises. I personally would only accept a massage from someone I knew and trusted and knew was an avowed (not nominal) Christian. For example if they are Reiki practitioners as well as masseurs that is definitely someone you dont want to receive a massage from, because they have been Reiki "attuned" and will be radiating demonic false healing energy into your being which may cause problems for you later on. If you stay close to Christ and to the sacraments you will generally be guided by the Holy Spirit over such matters of discernment as this. Massage is an intimate thing and for that reason I wouldnt want just anyone coming into my personal space and manipulating I dont know what... Reflexology I believe is ok as its a scientific fact that stimulating certain nerves in the feet, hands and zones of the body can bring release and healing in the internal organs of the body. Not only that but the feet are SO important. They carry the whole weight of the body and can get really worn out if you dont look after them. Some of these practises may have come from Eastern medicine but I dont believe that makes them demonic in themselves. As long as you arent praying to some god or demonic spirit guide as is the case in Reiki and some people who use crystals for amplifying energy - because of the property of crystals people can project thought forms into them. For all my health needs I see a Christian naturopath and I believe this to be the most enlightened approach to health I have so far found that does not conflict with my Christian faith. I have been to Harley street before and found the experience to be profoundly un-spiritual. Western medicine is largely based upon symptom suppression and not so much on treating the underlying cause or disturbance of the ailment(s) which can frequently be emotional or spiritual in cause. I find that complete healing can be achieved only when the health of the whole individual or being - taking into account the emotional, mental, spiritual as well as physiological aspects of the person are taken into account. The cold and clinical approach of many mainstream or NHS doctors who are under pressure and have targets to reach or are given financial incentives for recommending certain pharmaceutical medicines is profoundly unhelpful in the overall cultivation of a healthy healing space based on trust and a compassionate "bedside manner" between healer and healee. I think that is part of the reason why a lot of people have increasingly been turning to alternative forms of healing.. because they at least offer that more intimate space between practitioner and patient that is all too often lacking in western healthcare. Most doctors look at patients in a cold, one-dimensional way. Physical structures that need to be "fixed". Very little is taken into account about the holistic picture of the individual and this is where I believe our medical system to be seriously lacking and thus is essentially compromised.

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