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As a former yoga teacher, I cannot say I ever experienced anything spiritual in Iyengar yoga. That doesn't mean anything though. I was in my teens-early 20s, vegetarian, depressed, sick/weak and not very Christian. After a severe back injury, I stopped doing yoga because it causes so many back injuries. I began eating meat and lifting weights. Gradually, I became a much more healthy, happy person, who converted to Catholicism.

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Thanks for writing about this, Jenny! Years before I became Catholic, I took a couple yoga classes and enjoyed the physical benefits. But none of that is worth the possibility of opening a door to spiritual darkness. I later went to confession about this, to clear anything out that might still have been hanging around... (That K*li picture scared me, btw. I should probably not scroll through certain posts in the middle of the night.)

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Jul 16, 2023Liked by Jonathon T. Fessenden, Jenny duBay

Great subject!.

Alistair Crowley, wrote extensively on yoga or union, which is the meaning of this word and the goal of this spiritual discipline/practice.

Years ago before His hand plucked me out while I was yet lost to the world; searching around, beneath rocks, and in worldly crevices, I saw an article written by two Catholic priests, exorcists in fact.

They were all over the spiritual nature, the demonic union, and the raw danger of treading out into these black waters.

I had not read the Bible so I was of course, necessarily lost, confused and in all the trouble there is.

Other than reading Crowley's yoga treatise I had no personal interest in yoga but did think it a particularly cheap shot for the two men in black to take.

Haha. What a dolt!

Later in my study of the occult I would learn of the fakir, and the yogi, and other seekers seeking.

I was summarily thrown out of this group (thank Jesus Christ) for mentioning His name and for my interpretation of a vision which I attributed to Him.

Recently, a very good friend with Ganesh tattooed largely on his shoulder began to insist the virtues of yoga.

Thankfully the lessons had been learned.

I tried for months of conversation to encourage him to get under the Crown of The Everlasting Father.

Back and forth this went...the more I spoke of Jesus Christ, the harder he double-down on Pan. He said he is a Pantheist.

I said Pan? The goat-man, the pied-piper on the flute with two horns upon it's head?

Come on man are you serious? A goat-man with horns who mesmerizes men and sexually assaults animals?

Really?! That is where your standing now; in these days of clear implosion of well, everything, with all of it foretold in Scripture?

My friend was sure that money was the answer to all problems, all would be good when he was able to have enough.

I cautioned that the Johnny big-bollacks routine would fail to satisfy more than a long weekend.

A few months later after his job was toast as was his finances and John Barleycorn had him firmly in it's hand he rang from the back of a taxi headed for Bangkok from his place in the provence.

It's all over.

What's over.

Everything.

Ok, no worries, it can get restarted.

No, she won't let me see my son!

Of course she won't, she is a good mother, your drunk and out of your mind, your mother wouldn't see you now.

Go home, get some rest things will improve.

No! I'm going to the city to end it all with a hot shot of Golden Triangles finest smack.

What about your son? I thought you wanted to see him?

That was a Friday. He pinged me when he was back home. All was well.

On the Sunday I got a message with pics from his wife. In the ICU with tubes everywhere, he was restrained to the bed with cloth strips.

Traumatic brain injury from wrecking the motorcycle without a helmet. Intentionally no doubt.

He is now back in the provence with wife and son who turns five, quite possible today or tomorrow.

His baby-blue eyes look different directions simultaneously while his wife feeds him a juice box like a child.

He cannot walk, talk, brush his teeth, or do literally anything atm.

Perhaps that will change but I'm not holding my breath.

He was in my prayers then and now. That Jesus Christ would turn him back, convert him, redeem him into a state of reasonableness. Into a state that he might be reached. Into a place where the chains of darkness would be broken and where the demons disappear and the fear subsides.

We are told not to open these doors. Not because He wants to keep us from happiness but rather that we are not taken, lost, and ultimately denied - because WE are the deniers.

We cannot cope with the spirits we are yoked to in union, in yoga.

These demons know this. Our Lord Jesus knows this. Play with the bull...or the goat, sooner or later you will feel the horns.

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Wow! Thank you for sharing your story. As soon as you mentioned Crowly, all I could think of was his eyes. I saw photos of him back when I was researching him when I was in my "New Age phase" (https://www.prodigalparishioner.com/p/forgiveness-after-betrayal). There was such a definite evil influence in those eyes that it creeped me out so much. I immediately turned around and fled away from that evil! I appreciate that you took the time to share all this with us.

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Sep 30, 2022Liked by Jonathon T. Fessenden, Jenny duBay, Rachel Cecilia Stella

Sometimes it's hard to explain this, but the risks are there. Thank you for writing about this.

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Sep 28, 2022Liked by Jonathon T. Fessenden, Jenny duBay, Rachel Cecilia Stella

I admire your courage to write this, and I thank you! It needs to be said!!

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Mar 9·edited Mar 9Liked by Jonathon T. Fessenden, Jenny duBay

You have done everyone a very valuable service with this article, Ms. duBay. Everything you wrote is true. Like you, I was born, baptized and raised Catholic. I turned my back on the faith while still in my teens. Last year I returned to the Church, and the priest who heard my first confession in many years spoke to me about the Parable of the Prodigal Son. His words are indelibly written on my heart, and hence my Substack name. During my lost years, I explored all "spiritual traditions", including Hinduism and yoga. I had any number of preternatural experiences as a result. Absolutely nothing good came of that. Thanks to the grace and mercy of Our Lord, I now understand from where those experiences originated.

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Thank you for sharing your testimony! We have much the same story, even the Substack name -- I write a Substack blog called The Prodigal Parishioner (https://www.prodigalparishioner.com) May God continue to bless you with His mercy and love!

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Excellent!!!

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Oct 19, 2022Liked by Jenny duBay

Well said. It’s so hard to warn people who are doing yoga about all that you have said. I have friends doing yoga and they will not listen. More needs to be said of its dangers. Well done

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Thank you, Cliodhna! I do pray that more and more people begin to realize that yoga truly does open doors that should never be opened. The dangers are real.

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This article, from the esteemed St. Michael Center, really breaks open the dangers of yoga.

https://www.catholicexorcism.org/post/exorcist-diary-282-kundalini-disasters

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I have done “yoga”, but I during the meditation phase, I would say my prayers - The Hail Mary, Our Lord’s Prayer and an Act of Contrition. So basically, I would do the yoga moves and stretches but pray my Catholic prayers.

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This is what I do as well. You really need to pay attention to who’s teaching the class and their ethic because some really do get into the more spiritual side of yoga. That’s not what I’m there for. I’ve walked out classes when things feel and seem ‘off’ and my spirit doesn’t allow me to stay.

I constantly pray for protection and discernment as I do my practice as well as my other prayers. I enjoy yoga and got into it for health reasons. I stick with it because it has psychological benefits for those who have experienced trauma. Trauma victims learn to disassociate from their bodies and yoga helps people feel comfortable being in their bodies again by focusing on the breath and just learning to be present and quiet in your body again. It’s a tool in my toolbox that I use to move forward.

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I completely understand! I'm a trauma victim as well (see my blog at https://createsoulspace.substack.com) so I've had to find ways to heal from the years of suffering I've endured. As a trauma victim, knowing my wounds, I do not want to expose my open, raw self to a harmful practice. It becomes all the more precarious when one is wounded. That's why, for me, I've turned to Eucharistic Adoration to focus on my breath and learn to be present and quiet in my body--with Christ.

It's amazing. Amazing amazing amazing! I could only heal in part until I began a regular practice of Eucharistic Adoration rather than turning to external methods that are not Christ-centered. If you haven't tried this yet, I highly recommend it. Just try 30 days of Adoration, and see what happens. I don't have Adoration available where I live, so I live-stream, and it's just as blessed and beautiful. I've included some live-stream links in my latest Missio Dei article, "How to Go to Adoration When You Can't Go to Adoration" -- https://www.missiodeicatholic.org/p/how-to-go-to-adoration-when-you-cant .

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What a blessing! Getting to adoration is really tough for me, so I’m really excited to read the article! It’s a ‘I want to, but it never seems to happen’ thing. I’m sure I will find something useful in it. Thanks for the insight!

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"There is a yoga reduced to a kind of gymnastics: it offers some element that can help relax the body. Well, if yoga is really reduced to gymnastics, you can also accept it, in the case of movements that have an exclusively physical sense. But it must be really reduced, I repeat, to a pure exercise of physical relaxation, freed from any ideological element. On this point one must be very careful not to introduce a certain vision of man, of the world, of the relationship between man and God in a physical preparation."

- Pope Benedict XVI

https://ephesians511blog.com/2014/10/17/pope-benedict-xvi-on-the-new-age-yoga-etc/

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Thank you for this article and sharing your experience. Would you possibly consider removing/replacing the first photo of the woman practicing yoga?

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Thank you so much for your comments, I appreciate it! Mission Dei honors all reader requests and feedback, and we take yours very seriously. Why do you want the photo of the woman practicing yoga to be removed?

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The qualifying statement in this article is " authentically practice yoga" and is necessary in understanding what is loosely presented today as yoga. This does not include those watching the Asian woman on early morning PBS show going through some low impact exercises for the benefit of bored housewives in their lulu lemons desiring to prepare for the day. As stated, real yoga is a philosophy/religion committed to certain beliefs and demonstrated by a pattern of physical positions. In other words, if you see it you will recognize it as true yoga practice.

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“In other words, rather than focusing one’s mind on Christ, the goal is to focus exclusively on the interior self.”

This sounds like an important distinction: but is it? Even when we focus on a Christian thought, we are focusing on something within ourselves because all thought is within ourselves (cf. Isaiah 55:6-9). Trusting in God is a rest of the heart upon God from our own thoughts; and, we are also resting from our mental imagery of God. The thrust of the mind goes outward when we unconditionally trust in God. See also See Philippians 4:6-7; 1Peter 5:5-7; Proverbs 3:5-6; Matthew 11:28-30; Psalms 37:7, 55:22; Isaiah 26:3-4, 30:15; John 6:63; Galatians 5:16-26; Romans 6:13, 8:28; and James 4:6-10.

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Sep 27, 2022·edited Sep 27, 2022Author

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! However, perhaps I can clarify a bit. Christian prayer is not Eastern meditation, an emptying of self so as to create a void of thought. Christian prayer is "a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus" (CCC 2715). When our hearts rest in prayer, they should be resting in Jesus. Christian prayer doesn't teach trying to get rid of all mental imagery of God. What you describe sounds like Centering Prayer, which despite common belief isn't Christian and has been condemned by both Pope St. John Paul II in 1982, and Pope Benedict XVI (in 1989, when Cardinal Ratzinger).

"However, these forms of error [i.e. Eastern spirituality pretending to be Christian, in the form of emptying one's mind of mental imagery], wherever they arise, can be diagnosed very simply. The meditation of the Christian in prayer seeks to grasp the depths of the divine in the salvific works of God in Christ, the Incarnate Word, and in the gift of his Spirit. These divine depths are always revealed to him through the human-earthly dimension." (Cardinal Ratzinger, "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation").

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Does a gaze of faith on Jesus require us to have a mental image of Jesus? A mental image of Jesus is not Jesus: and neither is a physical image. Does Christian prayer require us to meditate on the things of God while we are praying? Prayer can be for petition, worship, or intercession. Resting our minds on God during prayer keeps us in the peace that passes all understanding. Casting all of our care on God brings us grace.

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It’s an epistemological issue and that’s what Ratzinger speaks that God is the *object* of contemplation. So in every prayer situation that you described it is the object that shapes us. What is the purpose of man? To know, to love, and to serve God.

Man desires to know all things, it’s a characteristic of the power of the soul--the intellect. The desire to know all things is ultimate felicity. The creature desires to know the divine being (philosophically, the object--who tells us who He is) The key component of prayer and felicity is to be formed by the object, so there can be no emptying of the intellect, but the object can certainly press and mold us like wax seal and wax.

The object tells us who He is not we who tell Him. <-- the death knell of Cartesian philosophy.

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Scripture tells us how to approach God as our object of prayer and trust. Inner peace from God is a component of what we receive from Him. He enables us to be at peace from our thoughts without having to stop thinking.

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