Pastor warns about 'demonic roots' of yoga; teacher called remarks ‘ludicrous’

A megachurch pastor in Ozark, Missouri, warned his followers to stop practicing yoga because of its "demonic roots" in Hinduism.

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In a sermon last month, James River Church pastor John Lindell told his congregation that "yoga is diametrically opposed to Christianity," according to the Kansas City Star.

In a video of the sermon on YouTube, Lindell described the roots of yoga and the poses as “demonic” and suggested yoga meditation opens the mind to demonic influences.

“Every single body position has a meaning,” he said.

“Yoga positions were not designed by your local fitness instructor. They were designed, they were created, with demonic intent to open you up to demonic power, because Hinduism is demonic. Every false religion is demonic,” Lindell told followers in the sermon.

Lindell said Hinduism “is not a mild, gentle, pacifist

religion” and “neither is Buddhism.”

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“We may have a sanitized view of it in our Western culture, but it is not pacifist. It is demonic. It is idol worship.” Lindell also called yoga a from of paganism.

It wasn’t just yoga Lindell had a problem with. He also warned followers about the spiritual dangers of Wicca.

Missouri yoga teachers and others disagreed with Lindell's description of the meditative art and said they've seen a drop in their business since his sermon, the Kansas City Star reported.

Yoga instructors interviewed by the Springfield News-Leader called the sermon "ignorant" and divisive at a time when unity is needed.

Reggie Harris told the News-Leader that yoga transformed his life. "Yoga transcends religion," Harris said. "Yoga brings people together in a heart of unity and love. You're teaching people to hate something that may help them physically, emotionally, spiritually," he said.

Yoga teacher Heather Worthy called the anti-yoga sermon “ludicrous,” but also frustrating. She said she’s seen a drop in the number of people at her classes.

Stephanie Wubbena, who operates Goats and Yoga, told the newspaper that yoga is booming in Springfield, but she's concerned Lindell's words could hurt small businesses.

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Yoga does have “pagan origins” as do Christmas and Easter, Wubbena told the News-Leader.

“The blatant hypocrisy is just so overwhelming,” she said.

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