The “Om-School” Movement

by Dr. Peter Jones on November 6, 2012

Children in a classroom doing yoga on their desks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Do you believe the claim Newsweek made in 2009 that “We are all Hindus now”? Phillip Goldberg does. In his book American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Has Changed the West (2010) he makes the compelling case that many Americans have adopted the spiritual Hindu principle of Advaita, meaning “not two,” and now believe that all is “one.” So Bill Clinton uses Eastern meditation, we speak freely of mantras, avatars, karma, mandalas, and…we practice yoga. Yoga is big in Southern California, even among Christians, and even in the schools. Is yoga just exercise, or is it part of the Hinduization of the West? Here is the testimony of Mary Eady, an employee of truthXchange:

This year, my 6-year-old son and his classmates were enrolled in a twice-weekly mandatory yoga class in our local public school. This new district-wide program is funded by a $533K grant from the Jois Yoga Foundation, named after Sri Patthabi Jois, the modern father of Ashtanga yoga.

In researching this new program, I discovered that the curriculum is not just physical exercise, even according to the grant documentation signed by the superintendent of the district. The grant explicitly states that Ashtanga yoga must be taught by Jois-certified instructors as a part of a cross-disciplinary curriculum to teach students “life skills” and how to make healthy life choices based on “key themes of yoga instruction such as self-discipline, balance, and responsibility.”  This particular program is not just about exercise! I could not let my son participate in the class. Here is why.

Ashtanga literally means “Eight-Limbed” and Jois was explicit in his declaration that this yoga was “Patanjali” yoga, described and codified in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.   The ultimate goal of this Eight-limbed path is “Samadhi,” or absorption into the Universe.  The homepage of the Jois Yoga Foundations website opens to a large-font quote from Jois: “Do your practice, All is coming.”

But even milder forms of Yoga instruction cannot be stripped of all Hindu religious connotations. The poses of yoga are themselves a form of bodily prayer intended to change people and connect them to “the Divine.”  Some insist that yoga is spiritually neutral and non-religious, but when we look at yoga through the lens of the One-ism/Two-ism categories, a statement like “Do your practice, All is coming” takes on specifically spiritual meaning.

My method for assessing the claims of yoga’s neutrality has been this: Does this practice allow us to acknowledge that there is a Creator God distinct from us and the rest of creation (reality is Two), or does it imply that we and everything around us are ultimately part of the same whole or “All” (reality is One)?

The president of the Jois Yoga Foundation has insisted that its teaching is not religious. However, the Jois Foundation states on its website, “[Jois] lives on through his teachings at the Institute in Mysore, and every time we practice as he has taught us.” And Jois himself taught that “Yoga is one. God is one. Yoga means knowing God inside you. But using it only for physical practice is no good, of no use. The spiritual aspect, which is beyond the physical, is the purpose of yoga.”

The children in our school district are being taught a practice and a way of making decisions that seeks confirmation, truth and fulfillment within themselves, based on One-ness.  Are they really being taught a practice that is religiously neutral? Is (Ashtanga) yoga a practice that poses no conflict with the Biblical truth—that our purpose, our objective moral standards and our salvation are found outside of ourselves, outside of time and space, in the Person of the great I AM who is distinctly not us?

The tool of One-ism and Two-ism that I have learned in my time at truthXchange have proven invaluable.  Jesus is the “only, narrow way” to fellowship with the Father Creator, which is Two-ism.  Yoga is the broad way to the god within, which is One-ism. These are clearly conflicting religious paths.

Mary’s experience was confirmed yesterday when friends in Canada sent me documentation of the “MindUP” curriculum, teaching Buddhist mindfulness meditation to children in public schools in British Columbia, as well as in other countries, including the US.

Is there any doubt that our once “Christian” West is now deeply infiltrated by the Trojan Horse of Eastern spirituality? Is this the religion of “The Coming Pagan Utopia” (to quote the title of our next Think Tank)? How vigilant the Church must be, in order to avoid complicity in this infiltration! We must “MindUP” with the mind of Christ, as revealed in his Word, in order to speak the Gospel with absolute clarity—for the glory of Jesus and for the saving of souls lost in mists of deceptive one-ness.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Elisabeth November 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm

So I have to believe this because. Why..some person I dont know wrote it…no. I will use the brain God gave me and research the truth myself. Ppl dont believe everything u read…

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Linda Kimball November 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Our polling place was in a local junior high school. While waiting in line I perused the “new” character traits posted on the wall of the cafeteria. First up is “fairness,” the natural language of every self-centered child. Next was “self-control,” defined as autonomy rather than control of passions, etc. Then came “open-mindedness,” an invitation to the confusion of subjectivism. And finally there was “tolerance,” a call to “close your mind and eyes” to the evil done by other people.

When a people seriously try to reason this way, their conscience becomes polluted and their reasoning abilities seriously damaged. Such a people are thus made ready for Eastern spiritual monism.

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Liz November 8, 2012 at 11:03 am

As a long time yoga practitioner, I feel that one can separate out the spiritual component of the practice. The physical practice has been shown in numerous studies to be effective for reducing stress and improving strength and flexibility at a minimum. There are many other physical benefits that are now being studied using rigorous methodologies by neuroscientists and academics around the world. The mindfulness, or meditation, component of yoga, which seems to be the concern here, can be practiced regardless of one’s religious beliefs. The terminology of yoga is certainly different, but all major religions include meditation as part of their practice. Why not just focus on cultivating one’s Christ-like qualities, or on practicing compassion and kindness toward others? Then the issue of whether God is immanent or transcendent becomes moot.

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Mrs.N January 26, 2013 at 5:48 am

Whether God is immanent or transcendent is exactly the point. He is both.

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Mary Eady November 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Whether you can strip out the spiritual aspects of yoga in general or not (I respectfully disagree, as do many respected evangelical Christian leaders including Dr. Jones, Albert Mohler, John Macarthur, John Piper, Mark Driscoll to name only a few — you can read some of my reasoning at http://truthxchange.com/articles/2011/12/01/the-emperors-new-yoga-pants/), the program in Encinitas is a life skills curriculum intended, in part, to teach children how to make life decisions based on “key concepts of yoga,” and it is funded and being taught by JOIS-certified instructors, who are teaching Ashtanga yoga specifically. That alone would indicate that this is not just an exercise program. And there are many lines in the grant documentation that say the same.

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Pam Frost November 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Thank you, Mary for taking a courageous and loving stand to alert parents and students to the spiritual deception of One-ist practices such as yoga that are advancing in our society, schools, and even in our churches. As I post this comment, I think of a recent email I received relating a Christian researcher’s experience at a Christian college. He was scheduled to speak on topics relating to the rise of paganism only to discover that the room he was to speak in had been given to a Sunday morning yoga class and he was instructed to move to another room! Your topic is incredibly relevant and we must give careful thought to the spirit behind yoga in light of One-ism’s challenge to Two-ism (biblical theism). Keep up the good work!

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Sharpy December 3, 2012 at 3:59 am

Linda Kimball wrote, “And finally there was “tolerance,” a call to “close your mind and eyes” to the evil done by other people.” YYYYYIKES! Doesn’t that sound like reruns of the Shoah, where way too many people turned their backs on what was happening to the Jews.

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Sharpy December 3, 2012 at 4:00 am

PS: This blogpost is yet another confirmation of the urgency of homeschooling our kids.

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