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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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179 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."

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ratings & comments

Average User Rating:

Displaying 1–3 of 179 comments

ro

July 27, 2014  1:24pm

I am truly sorry to read something even writer do not understand... again! Laurette clearly doesn't understand yoga! More, I have the feeling she never tried to understand it, because it is everything else but the things she is talking about in her publications (I have read few of them). To talk about something one should have at least a simple knowledge what they are talking about....This..to a big extent represent today's society...talking without experiencing enough... how sad!

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Bex

July 24, 2014  4:52pm

This was interesting reading, however, my experiences with yoga were nothing like this! Asteral projection? Emptying the mind? Various chants? My classes were at my church's health club, and were focused on connecting to the Holy Spirit, and getting low impact exercise. Everything about it, including the music was Christ-centeredness! I found it eyebrow raising to see that other classes contrast so sharply from mine!

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Paula

July 24, 2014  3:10pm

When I was younger my uncle, who is of the Jehovah's Witness faith, told me about the dangers of meditation. It stuck with me, and yoga has never seemed anything but creepy to me ever since. I know a LOT of women who swear by the health benefits. I'd love to take a non-yoga peaceful stretching class, but to take an actual YOGA class, I'll pass. That's part of another religion, and it seems disrespectful to me to borrow from another religion to "get into shape."

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