When I obediently launched Keola® and started teaching physical fitness as God instructed, I thought yoga was just an exercise. In fact, I called it Christian yoga, because I didn't want anyone to walk into class surprised by the Gospel or the movement. I had never heard of a Christian alternative to yoga, but I began to learn that yoga itself was controversial.
"I am the way, the truth, and the life." ~Jesus (John 14:6 KJV)
I encourage you to watch the video below first. This page and the ministry of Keola® are all about truth, love, and pursuing peace. Confusion and condemnation are not allowed here. It is my prayer that they are obliterated in your heart as you think on and talk to God about what is shared here. We are not creating the controversy, but we won't be afraid to speak into it and openly share what is true so you can cut through the emotions and pride that often drive the arguments. If something you read or hear makes you uncomfortable, go to God with it. We don't need to bury those things. He's faithful to shine light on them, so don't be afraid to ask Him. I'm asking you to set aside your judgments. Ironically, people shut down and often make wrong assumptions with both the terms "yoga" and "alternative to yoga". May God give you fresh eyes and a humble, loving heart. God loves you so much and so do we!
Yoga Is A Religion
Yoga - Sanskrit term: a yoking, union, from yunakti he yokes
Ask any practitioner in India, check the definition, even watch the free video on your flight. Not kidding! I just did this. Actual yoga is not about exercise. (More in next section.) It is a "spiritual discipline" or practice, but not a Christian one. Never in His Word do you see Jesus doing it or the people of God being asked to.
One definition taken from the freedictionaryonline.com:
"(Philosophy) (Non-Christian Religions / Hinduism) a Hindu system of philosophy aiming at the mystical union of the self with the Supreme Being in a state of complete awareness and tranquility through certain physical and mental exercises"
"Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead."
Psalm 106:28 ESV
The Pulpit Commentary of the Bible describes this passage as follows:
yoking - "It signifies a mystic union, such as was supposed to exist between a heathen god and his worshippers." The dead or lifeless gods - "as opposed to the true living God"
Interpretation from Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible:
"To this idol the Israelites joined or "yoked" themselves...which was to be unequally yoked: or they were tempted unto it; they committed spiritual whoredom with it, which was idolatry; they left their first and lawful husband, to whom they were married, and joined themselves to an idol, and cleaved to it. The phrase is expressive of their fellowship with it, and with the idolatrous worshippers of it; they devoted themselves to the worship of it...they were initiated into the rites and mysteries of this idol."
"Little children, guard yourselves from idols." 1 John 5:21 NASB
Do not participate in the useless deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; Ephesians 5:11 NASB
Grace Without Jesus, But Somehow Still Works
"Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already."
1 John 4:3 ESV
Yoga has most of its roots in Hinduism. It is also associated with Buddhism (you will often see a Buddha statue in studios), New Age, and Wicca ("white witches"). The poses (nearly all of which did not originate in yoga - see "History Nugget" below) function to honor different deities, a sacrifice to them, professing transformation through connection with these energies of "light". Continued practice is touted to bring you to a greater level of tranquility and enlightenment.
"For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: That you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols... and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. " Acts 15:28-29 ESV
"Yoga came to the attention of an educated western public in the mid 19th century along with other topics of Indian philosophy... Esoteric views current at the end of the 19th century were a further basis for the reception of Vedanta and of Yoga with its theory and practice of correspondence between the spiritual and the physical." ~wikipedia.com, 9/2013
A modern day Gnosticism, the philosophy of yoga works to undermine your need for Christ by promising that if you tap into your "true self" or "divine spark" through meditation and yoga, you will see (be enlightened) that you are "good" (like God, good) and eventually (if you are good enough at those enlightenment principles, your personally achieved wisdom and asceticism) be absorbed into that perfection (be in union with God/the universe/the impersonal life force). That subtle serpent is always twisting the truth, making us think we are like God, not needing Him or forgiveness.
"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8 ESV
The truth is that when you accept Jesus, He makes you 100% new in spirit and comes to reside within you. You are eternally restored back to Father God by your faith in His way of return and reconnection to Him. Every sin you have or will ever commit is wiped away and He gifts you with His very own righteousness. He sees you as perfect forever by your faith in Jesus and now He Himself empowers you to walk out His ways, not perfectly, but consistently, and (like fine wine) better with age as you look to Him and hold firm to your faith in Christ. Similar message, but the Key to your freedom is missing. I don't know about you, but this grace girl rises up in righteous anger at the thought of that beautiful gift, paid for by the precious blood, sweat, and tears of my Sweet Jesus being hijacked; removing Him completely from the equation.
"Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins." Romans 3:24 NLT
"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ." Col 2:8 ESV
The enemy is a counterfeit. He mimics the things of God, but his methods always lead to bondage. Like a drug, you need yoga for peace and rest here, as well as hope for freedom from this earth into eternal bliss. The idol is set and the new savior takes its place in the heart of the believer. A spiritual GMO, the fruit of your practice/spiritual discipline may look and even taste the same, but poison is taking root and causing eternal damage because both Jesus and sin are being denied: Ultimately, Real Love is being denied.
"I tell you, her sins--and they are many--have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love." Luke 7:47 NLT
"But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!)" Ephesians 2:4-5 NLT
You don't need to discipline your body and jump through physical hoops to achieve a greater level of spiritual enlightenment or peace. It is not purely a mental ascension, or "Christ consciousness". It is the person of Jesus, who is Savior and Lord, Jesus is your peace! He is your righteousness! He is true Wisdom! God warned against this mystic union as idolatry and impurity. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He knows your humanity with the tendency to fall away from Him and onto self. He is jealous for you, because He desires to save you from that enslavement, deceit, and death and He Himself has lovingly and painstakingly paid the price to do it! Not surprisingly, the very thing that draws people to the practice is what is stolen from them in reality.
"Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion... As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’ ” Heb 3:7-8, 11 ESV
"And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God." 1 John 5:5 NLT
"But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:" 2 Tim 1:10 AKJV
Praise God, He knows His Bride needs deliverance before She does!
See "Christ Consciousness Debunked by Jesus" an article written by a former New Age leader or click the photo below for a powerful testimony from a former yoga teacher.
The Keola® Difference
Yoga is about the mind and (now) the movement - being transformed through the discipline of "practicing", slowly perfected and enlightened by doing it. Keola® on the other hand, tells a story. From the position names to the specific elements that are consistent throughout all the classes, you will hear the love story of the Good News of Jesus (which offers total transformation by faith), as well as be encouraged in that faith and empowered by God's Spirit and Word.
Bold in Truth and Love:
"...only God can give us a heart that is truly free from the fear of people and what they think. It is not a worldly, crude, arrogant stance that pushes back to spite people. It is a place of such amazing love that cares so little about a person’s opinion that you are not afraid to model and speak Truth in season, while at the same time caring immensely about them as a fellow human being and child of God. My desire is that when people hear about and go to a Keola® class, they know that they are going to “not yoga”; that they know they will experience a brave honesty and merciful love that stands out. I pray that people everywhere see the separation and the difference and that in that they see Jesus,"
Excerpt from Keola® teacher training textbook, "It's Really Not Yoga" section.
Circa the early 1900's, the physical poses that we often identify with yoga were added to the practice.
These spiritually neutral, physical gems were gaining popularity in Europe.
Some yoga masters added them to accommodate and appeal to a more physical society.
The ancient yoga texts used as the basis of classic and modern philosophy and practice contain very little on physical postures, instead emphasizing comfort for prolonged meditation. In 2010, Mark Singleton released a book containing his research of the origin of today's yoga poses concluding a contemporary, non-religious or spiritually-based source. This created a stir in the yoga community, many of whom attached the movements themselves to their spiritual journey and growth.
Sun Salutations: A Sequence Created For Sun Worship?
"In the early 20th century it was popularised by the Raja of Aundh as a kind of coordinated drill gymnastics. In his 1928 book The Ten Point Way to Health, he makes it very clear that his form of sun salutes are for physical fitness, for the improvement of the race and for the benefit of mass education in contemporary India."
~ BBC Radio 4 "Seriously...What's behind the five popular yoga poses loved by the world?" (Quote shared here 5/5/20)
Deliverance: Be Free!
"I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give."
~Jesus (John 14:27 NLT)
"I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." Isaiah 44:22 NASB
Understand that everything written on this page is in no way meant to condemn you or judge your freedom. It is a deposition of truth in love. You have been bought at a price and the blood of Jesus has paid for ALL your sins; past, present, and future. If you have been participating in yoga and now understand what it actually aligns with and is, don't beat yourself up. God still loves you and His grace abounds toward you. That is the blessing of a real, everlasting union with God through Jesus by faith, as opposed to a perceived, shakable, mystic union based on your sacrifices, thoughts, and actions. He is with you in the good, bad, and ignorant choices, declaring you holy because of the work of Jesus even as you are being made holy. He reveals things to us gently and patiently, transforming us from glory to glory. Praise Him for counting NONE of this against you, cleansing you of all unrighteousness, healing and restoring you authentically and completely by grace through faith (Heb 8:12, 1 John 1:9, James 5:16, Eph 2:8).
Now, you have a choice. The class that you go to might be mostly movement without philosophy and maybe you do it just for the exercise, but that "separation" is becoming less available. Instructors seeking certification through Yoga Alliance must train in Hindu philosophy for course completion. Non-biblical meditation is spreading like wild-fire as a solution to stress as believers focus on anything other than Jesus and the Word of Christ for salvation. It is heart breaking.
Our prayer is that these movements become less and less associated with yoga and that more Christians choose to elevate Jesus and His Gospel by stepping away from participating in yoga classes, making the statement that forgiveness through Jesus Christ is the only way to God and we will not blend religion with the freedom of the Gospel of grace and peace. It's a stance that we hope will bless our Christian youth as they are already bombarded with ideas of many paths to God. It is also a witness to those who believe they need yoga, and subsequently certain movement, to reach God. May those people know that Jesus loves them so much that He came down to them directly, so they no longer need to strive to climb and master eight limbs in order to reach Him.
Whatever you came to yoga for in the first place, He IS... YHWH! Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Healer/Health, Refuge, Provider, Shepherd, Wisdom, Sanctification, Redeemer, Righteousness, Savior, Wholeness, Love... Praise King Jesus!
"But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.." John 4:23 AKJV (emphasis mine)
We'd love to pray with you right now.
May we pray with you now?
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;" 1 John 4:1-2 NASB
We praise God that His deliverance is by grace and pray a hedge of protection around you as you consider separating yourself from yoga. This is a controversial subject, as was participating in pagan feasts with food sacrificed to idols in the early church. May you seek God's face, His Word, His guidance by the Holy Spirit, and His glory as you decide your course of action. May love be magnified in both your choice and reactions to other people's views. The Lord will rescue you from every evil attack.
We are acutely aware that some of you have experienced some oppression and difficulty that you attribute to yoga, meditation, and/or the New Age. We sympathize with your struggle and pray right now (together w/ you):
"God, we ask that I am healed and delivered from any mental or physical affliction that I have or am experiencing connected to yoga, occult, or the New Age. I sever all ties to those things in Jesus name. Jesus is my Lord and Savior in this area, too. God, grant me full repentance and release. I receive Your total forgiveness at Your throne of grace right now. Set my feet on a new path of freedom. Anywhere the enemy has taken advantage of me because of fear, condemnation, guilt/shame, doubt, uncertainty/weakness of conscious, ignorance, pride, or anything that has made him claim he has rights to me, I bring those things to You. Your Word says that no weapon formed against me will prosper and every tongue that rises up against me in judgment, I am to condemn. I believe the blood of Jesus is enough. He is my innocence and defense and according to Your Word oppression will fall for my sake, so this judgment and every accusation against me must fall. With my mouth, I condemn those now in faith of Your Word and the name of Jesus; I command them to fall. God, thank You for this Word, Your promises, and that I am completely righteous in your Son. This is my inheritance. What a gift! May it all be sealed and done by Your Spirit, just as You have said and promised: Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, here on earth as it is in heaven. Amen." See the Scripture: Isaiah 54 (Get another amazing glimpse of the "why" in Isaiah 53)
May your healing and deliverance be ever increasing as God continues to soak His grace and truth that you have heard here deeply into your heart, Loved One. Feel free to email us for specific prayer or to share your experience. May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.