What about Yoga & Orthodoxy? – Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA



What about Yoga & Orthodoxy?

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA





Yoga is a psychosomatic practice, an interaction between mind, body, and spirit(s). We must remember the word ‘yoga’ means ‘yoke,’ like the wooden crosspiece fastened over the necks of animals attached to the plow. St. Paul warns us, Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?[18]

Yoga isn’t Scriptural nor is it otherwise part of our Church’s Holy Tradition. Everything we’re looking for, everything, can be found in and through the Orthodox Church. So what would we want from yoga?

It is important to know that in yoga, as well as many mystical schools, strange lights may accompany practitioners but these are often from demons or created lights of the mind, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.[19] Many have and are following the ‘spiritual fireworks’ of the so-called ‘new’ age. Of course, this is not the Uncreated Light experienced by Moses and the disciples on Mount Tabor. It is not the Divine Light St. Gregory Palamas defended in the 14th century against western scholasticism. Direct knowledge of God is possible, and direct experience, but knowledge and experience of evil is also certainly available. We have freewill to choose whom and what we seek. This, of course, requires discernment and testing, where accountability before an experienced priest or elder is absolutely necessary. Indispensable, too, is heartfelt participation in the Mysteries of the Church. We do better looking into the mysteries of our hearts than entertaining these imaginations of the head.

Furthermore, something should be said in relation to the claim that ‘pop’ forms of gym yoga carry no danger or threat to a practitioner. Someone who holds such an opinion is either ignorant of, or chooses to ignore, the many warnings that appear in the eastern yoga manuals concerning the Hatha yoga that is practiced in such classes. Is the instructor aware of these warnings and able to guarantee that no harm will come to the student?

In his book Seven Schools of Yoga, Ernest Wood begins his description of Hatha yoga by stating, “I must not refer to any of these Hatha Yoga practices without sounding a severe warning. Many people have brought upon themselves incurable illness and even madness by practicing them without providing the proper conditions of body and mind. The yoga books are full of such warnings…. For example, the Gheranda Samhita announces that if one begins the practices in hot, cold or rainy weather, diseases will be contracted, and also if there is not moderation in diet, for only one half the stomach must ever be filled with solid food…. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika states that control of breath must be brought about very gradually, ‘as lions, elephants and tigers are tamed,’ or ‘the experimenter will be killed,’ and by any mistake there arises cough, asthma, head, eye and ear pains, and many other diseases.” Wood concludes his warning about posture and breathing yoga by saying, “I should like to make it clear that I am not recommending these practices, as I hold that all Hatha Yogas are extremely dangerous”.[20]

If an Orthodox Christian wants to exercise, he or she may swim, jog, hike, walk, and do stretching exercises, aerobics, or Pilates.[21] These are safe alternatives to yoga. We can also offer prostrations before God. The Church doesn’t want any of us to be unhealthy or unhappy. We should trust the prescriptions of our Mother the Church and follow them as best as our ability, and the grace of God, allows. No one should try to extend the life of the body at the expense of the soul.

Above all, we mustn’t trust our own judgment. We must be accountable to someone.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.[22]

As Orthodox Christians, we know that the actions of our bodies, such as bows, prostrations, and making the sign of the Cross have a relationship to the state of our soul before the True God. Why would we ever chance copying bodily actions that for centuries have been directly related to the worship of demons? Such actions could have serious consequences for both our soul and body which belong to Christ.

May we be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.[23]


* * *


[18] 2 Corinthians 6:14.

[19] 2 Corinthians 11:14.

[20] The Sandilya Upanishad gives similar warnings. See Seven Schools of Yoga, by Ernest Wood, pgs. 78-79.

[21] Pilates is a perfectly safe and appropriate alternative to yoga. A mental fitness system aiding flexibility, strength and focus, Pilates is a conditioning routine emphasizing coordination, balance and breathing. Studies have also shown that stretching exercises are an effective alternative to yoga in treating lower back pain.

[22] Proverbs 3:5.

[23] Matthew 10:16.


How is Υoga connected with Hinduism? – Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA



How is Υoga connected with Hinduism?

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA





To be clear, Hinduism does not refer to a specific religion. It is a term the British gave to the various cults, philosophies and shamanistic religions of India. If you ask one Hindu if he believes in God, he may tell you that you are God. But ask another, and he will point to a rock, or statue, or a flame of fire. This is Hindu polarity: either you are God, or everything else is a god.

Yoga is beneath this umbrella of Hinduism, and in many ways is the pole of the umbrella. It acts as a missionary arm for Hinduism and the New Age outside of India.[9] Hinduism is like an extraordinary Russian nesting doll: you open one philosophy and within it are ten thousand more.

And the unopened ones are risks. You may swim easily and carelessly in waters you do not know. But unaware of the tides and nuances of the area, you may be in danger. You may be swept away by the undertow. You may cut yourself against unseen rocks and contract imperceptible infection and poison.

This happens in the spiritual life.

When we dive in the ocean, we may be attracted to the brightest, most colorful and intriguing fish but the most colorful and exotic are often the most poisonous and deadly.

The first time I visited India, I took off my shoes and socks and walked through the water, coconuts, discarded candy and shimmering fire of Kalkaji Temple. It Continue reading “How is Υoga connected with Hinduism? – Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA”

Are you Christian? Forget about doing Yoga! – The Church would like people to replace Yoga with Prayer



Are you Christian? Forget about doing Yoga!

The Church would like people to replace Yoga with Prayer

The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church reacted to the UN’s decision to designate June 21 as International Day of Yoga in 2014. The Holy Synod’s statement says that the practice of yoga has “no place in the lives of Christians” since it is a fundamental aspect of Hinduism and as such is not considered a “form of exercise” but of worship!

Though praised for its calming effect and wellness, Christians are urged to seek the same comfort in God – not hindu practises. After all, the postures of yoga were created as adulation to 330 million Hindu gods. The postures are viewed in the Hindu faith as offerings to gods that in Christianity are considered to be idols.

Furthermore, a third of yoga is concerned with emptying the mind – a contradiction to what Christianity teaches. In the Christian faith, there is free choice and transformation through renewal. Furthermore, astral travel that yoga guides people into is a practise that the church continues to frown upon.

“For this reason, yoga is totally incompatible with our Christian Orthodox faith and it has no place in the life of Christians,” the statement said, even though it added that the the Church respects religious freedom.





Το θαύμα της μεταστροφής μου: Πώς πέρασα από την πλάνη της yoga στην Ορθοδοξία!



Το θαύμα της μεταστροφής μου:

Πώς πέρασα από την πλάνη της Yoga στην Ορθοδοξία!

Στα 22 μου χρόνια άρχισε η πνευματική μου αναζήτηση. Μεγαλωμένη σε θρησκευτική οικογένεια και σηκώνοντας έναν προσωπικό σταυρό βρήκα μία φαινομενική διέξοδο στη yoga. Μόδα, γυμναστική, ευεξία…

Ένα δελεαστικό πακέτο πολύ καλά τυλιγμένο με φανταχτερά χρώματα. Με τράβηξε σαν μαγνήτης και χωρίς να έχω πλήρη έλεγχο της ζωής μου βρέθηκα να διδάσκω yoga. Ξεκίνησε η πλάνη πως οδεύω στον σωστό δρόμο που από μικρή πίστευα και ήθελα, στον ένα και μοναδικό τριαδικό Θεό. Άρχισα να ψάχνω απαντήσεις, να γνωρίζω πλανημένους ανθρώπους προσπαθώντας να γεμίζω τα κενά που όλο και μεγάλωναν. Καμία απάντηση και η πλάνη μεγάλωνε…

Ακολούθησε ταξίδι στην Ινδία ζώντας την απόλυτη “ύπνωση” και το ρέικι μπήκε στην ζωή μου. Δεν μπορούσα να συνειδητοποιήσω τι είχε συμβεί. Ένας φύλακας άγγελος με βοήθησε να επιστρέψω στην Ελλάδα. Σταμάτησα για προσωπικούς λόγους τα πάντα και έφυγα εκτός Αθηνών.

Μέχρι που ήρθε ένα βιβλίο στα χέρια μου: “Οι γκουρού, ο νέος και ο Γέροντας Παΐσιος”.

Το διάβασα σε μία μέρα και πήρα όλες τις απαντήσεις. Ένιωσα ότι κοιμόμουν και ξαφνικά ξύπνησα. Ξεκαθάρισαν όλα στο μυαλό μου συνειδητοποιώντας πως:

Δεν είναι απλά μία αίρεση η yoga και όλα τα εναλλακτικά που κυκλοφορούν. Είναι δαιμόνια που τους ανοίγεις την πόρτα και σου καταστρέφουν την ζωή.

Φόρεσα τον σταυρό μου, άρχισα να προσεύχομαι και να πηγαίνω στην εκκλησία, να κάνω μετάνοιες, να εξομολογούμαι και μετά από έναν πολύ δύσκολο πνευματικό πόλεμο βρέθηκα στα χέρια του Θεού αφήνοντας όλη μου την ζωή σ’ Εκείνον.

Ο Άγιος Παΐσιος έκανε το θαύμα του και με βοήθησε να αναγεννηθώ από τις στάχτες μου.

Σήμερα στα 31 μου χρόνια προσπαθώ να δίνω τον πνευματικό μου αγώνα με την βοήθεια του Θεού ακολουθώντας πιστά μία από τις συμβουλές του πνευματικού μου:

“Ακούμπησε την ζωή σου στα χέρια του Θεού και της Παναγίας”.





Ελληνική Ναυς – Ορθόδοξη Πλεύση

What is Yoga? – Jeremy Butler

What is Yoga?

by Jeremy Butler

Yoga is a practice that has become very popular in the United States. According to a 2008 study, there are 15.8 million Americans who practice Yoga. Before we can answer whether Christian’s should practice yoga or not, we need to define what Yoga is.

Yoga is a practice found in all sects of Hinduism. There are different types of yoga, but all are touted as a means to achieve unity with the divine and thus to earn salvation. There are several practices within Yoga. These include, but are not limited to meditation, repetition of sacred sounds or syllables (typically “Ohm”), breathing techniques, acrobatic exercises, and positioning one’s body in difficult postures.

Meditation is central to all forms of Yoga. Meditation helps its practitioners to be able to find release from the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. “Yoga is a method of spiritual training whose purpose is to integrate or unite the self. A physical exercise, its goal is nonphysical-uniting with God. Yoga teaches that people should attempt to yoke the individual spirit to God, to atman – the individual soul or essence of a person – and to Brahman”. So we see that Yoga is essentially physical exercises in which one tries to attain unity with the universal divine essence of Hindu theology.

Can a Christian practice yoga without getting caught up in the religious aspects of it? – Jeremy Butler

Can a Christian practice yoga

without getting caught up in the religious aspects of it?

by Jeremy Butler

By defintion, Christians should not practice yoga. They can, however, stretch. Stretching is good. The philosophical occult aspects of yoga are not. Yoga is religious in nature and an eastern philosophical one. Remember, the point of the practice of yoga is to unite oneself with “God.” Take this quote from the Yoga Journal…

“Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.”

As one can see, Yoga is more than just a physical exercise. We do not want to leave our minds open to false teaching.

Should Christians Practice Yoga? – Jeremy Butler

Should Christians Practice Yoga?

by Jeremy Butler

No, Christians should not practice yoga since the intention of yoga is a path to attain salvation through union with a false deity. Some Christians practice yoga and say that all Christians can practice yoga. But, that is incorrect. Christians should not be involved in any meditative methodology that deals with energy balancing, focused energy movement, chakras, etc., of which yoga advocates.