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YOU ARE HERE:   Home >  Articles >  New Age >  It Ain't Yogi Berra They're Selling

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It Ain't Yogi Berra They're Selling

By Bob Waldrep

Yoga continues to be a growing “exercise fad” as evidenced by the many inroads it is making into almost every walk of life. Here are just a few local examples:

  • A local health and fitness gym recently had a huge banner across the front of their establishment proclaiming, “Yoga Classes Here.”
  • Protective Life, a large insurance company in Birmingham, offers employees yoga classes through the services of VIP Yoga.
  • Just the other day the pastor of one of our large metropolitan churches told me someone wanted to offer a yoga class at his church.

The morning show on the local Fox station recently sent one of their on-air personalities to a local yoga spa to promote the benefits of yoga during their daily morning show. Their website later proclaimed, “Jeh Jeh Pruitt went live this morning at Spa Moksha in Inverness, learning Bikram's Yoga from Master Tina Hill. If you'd also like to learn Yoga, call…for information.”

According to a press release on the Spa’s website, Spa Moksha is, internationally recognized New Age alternative medicine author and lecturer, Deepak Chopra’s first licensed center for Mind Body Medicine. ( The release advises the services offered include, “educational services and spa treatments aimed at integrating the wisdom of mind-body research into the Western way of life.” (Ibid) This is another way of saying their goal is to introduce Eastern spiritualities into the Western culture.

While the Fox News staff and reporter Jeh Jeh Pruitt may not be aware of what Spa Moksha and yoga, in particular, really promote, Ms. Hill certainly is aware of the spiritual goals of yoga as she is a graduate of the Yoga College of India, and has been trained in Vipassana Meditation. (

However, as in most such cases, in each of the examples given of yoga classes being offered or promoted, yoga is being postured (and probably sincerely so) as nothing more than good exercise and/or a great stretching program with wonderful health benefits. For example, when we contacted Protective Life to try and discuss this matter they refused to comment other than to say the classes had nothing to do with religion and were merely offered for exercise.

This certainly sounds in line with the promotion found In Protective Life’s employee magazine that the yoga classes were, “…designed to build core body strength, increase your flexibility, and improve your balance. Students who attend weekly classes and develop a regular practice begin to experience immediate benefits. Deep relaxation, improved posture and the development of greater strength, flexibility and endurance are early results”. (Protective News Network [PNN] Vol. 2 issue21, p. 6)

While this may be true, the practice of yoga cannot and should not be so simplistically defined as it is much more. This is evident even in the PNN promotion that includes this very telling instruction under Yoga guidelines, “Take time to breathe. Deep breathing is the cornerstone to a successful yoga practice.”

What they are not saying is that in the hinduistic Yoga Sutras, one of the most authoritative texts on yoga, this is the fourth of eight limbs and is known as pranayama.. This is particularly associated with hatha yoga, sometimes known as “gentle yoga.” defines, “pranayama, as traditionally conceived, involves much more than merely breathing for relaxation. Pranayama is a term with a wide range of meanings…It is to be practiced only after perfection in asana is attained. Pranayama also denotes cosmic power, or the power of the entire universe which manifests itself as conscious living being in us through the phenomenon of breathing.” (

As with the Fox News team, the employees at Protective Life that brought Yoga into their company most likely know nothing of what the practice of yoga is really about and brought it in with the best of intentions. However, it is without question a “spiritual discipline” and corporations that choose to offer such religious training should advise participating employees of such.

When properly placed within its Hindu origins the spiritual dimensions of yoga are undeniable. Concerning the “eight limbs” of yoga in the Yoga Sutras, Ankerberg and Weldon argue in their book, The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, “Because the eight steps are interdependent, the steps of ‘postures’ and ‘breathing’ cannot logically be separated from the others. Thus the interdependence of all eight steps reveals why the physical exercises of yoga are designed to prepare the body for the spiritual (occult) changes that will allegedly help one realize godhood status.” (p. 601)

Though some who participate in yoga are unaware of it, without question the Hindu yogis use yoga to take their students on a spiritual journey. Perhaps those who take yoga, “simply for the exercise benefit” would do well to heed the advice of another great Yogi, baseball Hall of Famer, Yogi Berra, who once said, "You got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there."

Rev. Bob Waldrep, MRE, serves as State Director—Alabama at Watchman Fellowship’s Birmingham, AL office. Bob is also an ordained Southern Baptist Minister and serves as Lay Pastor for the Church at Brook Hills. You can email Bob by clicking here.

This article was excerpted from the Winter issue of The Watchman Update.

For more information on the New Age and Postmodernism movements, please visit our web catalog; or click here to order a free information packet.