Jump directly to the content
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.
Average Rating:
185 Comments

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."

No First PageNo Previous PagePage 1 of 5Next PageLast Page

Holly Vicente Robaina

Sign up for TCW's free Encouraging Words e-newsletter to start each day with inspiration and encouragement straight from God's Word.

not a subscriber?

Subscribe for only $9.95 yearly!
Start here for complete access to Today's Christian Woman—a mentor to help you love God more deeply and live fearlessly.

Next Steps

Downloadable resources to go deeper

Religions of the World

Gain a better standing of other religions and learn how you can respond as a Christian.

ratings & comments

Average User Rating:

Displaying 1–3 of 185 comments

Yoga practitioner

August 27, 2014  2:29pm

There is no harm in yoga. I practice yoga and it is, indeed, to acknowledge not just my connection but reliance on God. It is a practice of faith. When you feel you are going to fall, you trust in God, and guess what? He picks you up. It is a practice of small miracles, where you slowly build your strength and confidence in God so that you, too, can live out His will with as much might as you can. Somebody could kneel at a pew and be worshipping Satan...does that make it okay, because the physical act is of prayer? Similarly, the act of yoga is only as sinful as the intention behind the practitioner. When I practice, my intention is one of prayer and meditation. They work for me, and I can't help but voice my experience here. And who's to say that bowing to "the god within you" isn't just another way of seeing the holy spirit that lives in all of us? Good luck on your journeys, Namaste!

Report Abuse

Betsy

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.

Report Abuse

Betsy

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!

Report Abuse

Rate and comment on this article: *

Low

High

1000 character limit

* Comments may be edited for tone and clarity.

More For Women
Gifted for Leadership

gifted for leadership

The Leadership Journal blog inspires and connects women leaders in church ministry
Shopping