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The Truth About Yoga

The Truth About Yoga

Yoga led Laurette Willis into a New Age lifestyle. Now she's warning others of the spiritual pitfalls—and offering an alternative.
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The attractive couple on the television screen gracefully moved their bodies into the next yoga pose: arms extended, head tilted slightly back, a deep breath in. In front of the TV set, a seven-year-old girl and her mother did their best to mimic the posture. The little girl, Laurette, loved this special time with her mom.

It was 1965, and Laurette's mom, Jacquie, didn't think twice about exercising along with this yoga program that came on the TV after Jack La Lanne. She developed a passion for yoga, and began instructing free classes in her home. Laurette served as the demonstration model for her mom. The young girl relished the attention—and her family never suspected this seemingly innocent exercise would open the door to a New Age lifestyle that would affect Laurette for the next 22 years.

Speaking Out

Now 46, Christian speaker/author Laurette Willis tells everyone she meets about the dangers of yoga. The Oklahoma resident addresses groups across the country, speaking from personal experience and her knowledge as a certified personal trainer and aerobics instructor. She's developed a prominent presence on the Internet, largely due to her new exercise program, PraiseMoves, which she calls "a Christian alternative to yoga." She shares her testimony on the website (www.PraiseMoves.com) in a pull-no-punches style, and responds to numerous e-mails—some curious, others critical of her stance on yoga. Additionally, she posts comments on the message boards of other fitness and religion websites. She's also self-published a book and video about PraiseMoves.

So what caused Laurette to become vocal about yoga? And is yoga really all that bad? Her testimony is a bold answer to both questions.

Throughout her childhood, Laurette's family regularly attended church. "If someone had asked us, we would have said we were Christians," she says. "But we never heard the message of salvation at our church." Lacking knowledge about the Christian faith, Laurette's mom found herself drawn to New Age practices, and began reading books by Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce (both claimed to have psychic abilities) and taking Laurette to an ashram, a Hindu yoga retreat.

As an adult, Laurette immersed herself in every New Age and metaphysical practice she came across: chanting, crystals, tarot cards, psychics, channeling spirits.

"I tried everything—Kabbalah, Universalism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism —because I was spiritually hungry," Laurette says. "I call the New Age movement 'Burger King' because it's like the fast-food restaurant's motto: 'Have it your way.' That's what the New Age movement tries to do, to achieve God on its terms."

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August 19, 2014  1:36pm

Teresa - that's exactly how I found myself in a Yoga class. Do I feel particularly at home? Not at all. Do I want to praise God during my practice? I do this no matter. I don't care to compromise my faith but I also don't feel to impress anyone nor do I feel saved by being self righteous and setting myself apart bc another Christian feels uncomfortable with the practice and yes, this is often due to not understanding what's going on. If you understood then you can choose, otherwise, I agree, it IS spookey. Hinduism is not our home nor our expression. I know our world is searching. Christians are even searching if we are to be 100% honest. God will lead each of us on our personal journey and guide us if we seek Him. In my profession, I've had to weed through a lot from both sides of the coin. It's a journey and God honors a teachable spirit and contrite heart.

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August 19, 2014  1:26pm

I've recently become certified as a Yoga Instructor. I don't have an attachment to this title nor this practice but I do believe strongly in movement, relaxation and yes meditation most certainly. Do I 'chant'? Well, I can tell you that if my spirit feels bothered I do not. Some days I join in due to the unity and vibration this practice together creates because I do not believe I'm being ignorant but rather decisive. I believe that God Almighty is IN energy!! HE CREATED IT! Is it for everyone to pursue, apparently not but that's not bc it's evil/bad, it's bc we all struggle with different levels of maturity,vices... I am not so naive as to think the enemy can not use whatever tool he can - heck, he can use other Christians!Do I think I'll become oppressed by doing downward dog? It's a bit more complicated then that. Mind you, there is a lot of harm being done in the name of God by thinking just by not exposing ourselves we are safe. Knowing Gods voice is key. Walk gently & stretch!

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August 19, 2014  1:16pm

Bottom line is that each person MUST be responsible for what they do and take in. This not only goes for whether or not to participate in a yoga class, say the word OM or choose to explore a meditation practice but it also goes for what comes across the pulpit, how others quote the Bible or offer as 'truth'. Both sides of this coin present a profound danger when accepting anothers interpretation, conviction or practice - period. We will each be accountable for how we lived and why we chose the things that we did AND whether our life was lead by faith in God or fear. For me personally, I resist legalism. Do I want to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, absolutely! What Satan meant for evil can God use and turn to good? Most definitely. Do I want to live in compromise or mediocrity not so much, not at all actually. But it is ME who gets to choose and one thing that is very clear is that we are to make good judgement but not judge. I say, seek God in ALL things and listen.

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