By way of the new age movement, a more subtle form of eastern mysticism has crept into the church under the guise of “Christian Yoga.” However, this activity is more than just a mystical, spiritual practice; it is completely rooted in the pagan religion of Hinduism itself.
Yoga is a group of ancient spiritual practices beginning in India. It is a discipline of self-denial and meditation which are thought to lead to spiritual experiences and a profound insight into the nature of existence. Outside of India, Yoga is largely associated with asanas (postures), and is called Hatha Yoga. This is the branch of yoga we will be covering here  because this is the specific activity that has been embraced by the American culture and is quickly being accepted by the American church. Let Us Reason Ministries describes this acceptance well:
It seems to the secular population that is being targeted to accept only that selected aspect of yoga which fits their naive notion. That what yoga is supposed to do, is to relieve stress and make a fit and beautiful body. Many participants merely presume that the exercises are neutral, harmless, if they are not practiced with any spiritual intent. After all it's only bodily exercise! 
They continue on to describe how hatha yoga works: The words Ha and tha represent the energy which is on each side of the spinal column. Hatha yoga suppresses the flow of energies through these passages, forcing the kundalini (“serpent power”) to rise from the base of the spine through the psychic energy channel in the sushumn (the spine), up through each of the chakras.
The ultimate goal of yoga is to escape this world and achieve moksha, which is a Hindu Nirvana, in order to escape an endless reincarnation cycle. This is how the pagan Hindu Yoga works.
B. K. S. Iyengar, the founder of American Hatha Yoga, describes yoga to be “the means by which the human soul may be completely united with the Supreme Spirit pervading the universe and thus attain liberation.” Thus, even American Yoga is rooted in spirituality. The Christian may be thinking that Christian yoga does not attempt to achieve these things, but rather is only a physical exercise or that it is acceptable if done in worship of God. However, this mentality cannot be farther from the truth.
The danger in yoga comes not in the mentality of the individual approaching the activity, but is rooted in the core of the practice itself. Swami Sivenanda Radha, a well-known yoga teacher, has said in a book on Hatha Yoga, “Asanas are a devotional practice...each asana creates a certain state of mind...to bring the seeker into closer contact with the Higher Self.”  These positions (combined with breathing patterns; i.e. a form of meditation), help to bring the individual into a state of altered consciousness, also referred to as the kundalini awakening. When one reaches this state, they are consumed with a feeling of euphoria, characterized by peace and a sense of increased knowledge.  This altered state of consciousness is not affirmed by Hindus alone, but a fact verified by the experiences of many—it is not mythological that yoga is connected to the spiritual realm. It is here that yoga, and other forms of contemplative spirituality/mysticism are so dangerous.
Although we are most alert of the physical world around us, it should be no surprise that we are connected to the spiritual realm via our own spirit. In ways we are not equipped to understand, the asanas of hatha yoga bring the participant into a state of higher awareness of the spiritual realm by physically inducing an altered state of consciousness through an open mind. This dangerous state of “increased spirituality” initially seems wonderful to those who reach it; however, it makes one vulnerable to the influence of malevolent, evil beings in the spiritual realm (i.e. demons).
Many who advocate these practices object to any dangers by saying that demon interaction does not happen today or that there are Christian precautions to take before entering the spiritual realm, such as praying for Christ to protect one as meditation is performed. Additionally, many emergent church leaders try to pass yoga as acceptable if it is done in a way that seeks to worship God. Pastor Sal Massa (retired) of Lake Country Bible Church in Hartland, Wisconsin, states on this: We should not be naïve as to what yoga was intended to accomplish and what it will accomplish even under the simplest and innocent of terms… It seems that relabeling yoga as “yoga for Christians” has given people the green light to bow down and do yoga for YHWH…Is the Jesus of [Scripture] one who would allow us to integrate paganism with Him and say this is good? Regardless of what some may be saying, it is not the Jesus of this Bible. 
The Ankerberg Theological Research Institute records several examples of what can result from this ignorance, primarily the drawing of an individual into the occult or even demonic activity. One example stands out. Carol, who sought yoga for physical healing, remembers her own story beginning when her yoga instructor, Swami Rama, laid his hands upon her.
Currents of electrical energy began to permeate my head and went down into my body.... It was as if a spell had come over me, the bliss that I felt was as if I had been touched by God. The power that had come from his hand, and simply being in his presence, drew me to him irresistibly. Electrical currents were pulsating around my body and then moved into my hand, the currents were shaking my hand and strong, almost entrancing thoughts were impressed into my mind, "Meditate, meditate. I want to speak with you." It was a miracle. I was communicating with the spirit world. I had found God. Sitting in the darkness of my living room I began to repeat my mantra. A presence seemed to fill the room. I began to see visions of being one with the universe and the magnetic thoughts were now leaving and I was hearing a voice, which identified itself as Swami Rama, saying he was communicating with me through astral travel.
Within one week, after meditating many hours each day and still in constant communication with this spirit, forces began to come upon me and gave me powers to do yoga postures; I was floating through them, the forces giving me added breath even… postures that before would be very painful to do. 
However, after several weeks, these once helpful spirits began to torture Carol. She records that it seemed as though demonic beings of another world were attempting to steal her very soul. They inflicted pain beyond endurance, thrashed her around violently, and suffocated her intermittently. She often felt that her life force was being tugged out of her being. Thankfully, Carol is alive today and well, accrediting her health completely to her relationship with her Lord Jesus Christ. 
What is most surprising about this acceptance of yoga is that it was almost entirely rejected by Christianity a few decades ago because of its association with Hinduism. A contemporary parallel would be the acceptance of “Christian” Ouija boards (as long as Christian music is playing while it is used, of course). How crazy an idea this acceptance of pagan practices is, but the church has grasped onto it almost wholeheartedly.
Before the Israelites took possession of the Promised Land, they were commanded by God to completely decimate all remains of the outside religions.
You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. 4 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way (Deut 12:2-4).
God commanded this to keep Israel pure. It is exactly the same for Christians spiritually. We are not to pollute our relationship with Christ through the beliefs of false religions, but are to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
Worst of all is that the benefits of yoga are completely unnecessary for the Christian. There is no need to pursue the spiritual realm, increased knowledge, or the peaceful state brought about by hatha yoga. All of these spiritual needs can be found in our Sovereign Lord who has revealed Himself to us through His Holy Word and there given us all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pt 1:3; cf. Psalm 19:7-14). 
Do not get us wrong. Regular stretching exercises are absolutely harmless in and of themselves. However, the error here is that yoga positions are not mere stretching positions, but worshipful poses of Hindu gods, whether one acknowledges it or not. Additionally, they have the danger of altering one's state of consciousness. Yoga is always spiritual because that is the intent of Hinduism—to escape this maya (illusion of the physical world) and find the spiritual reality of moksha and end reincarnation. Stretching and healthy breathing habits do indeed have their benefits, but there are numerous ways outside of Hinduism that these can be accomplished. God has provided the spiritual resources necessary for the believer’s life in His Word and has given ample opportunities for the Christian to maintain physical health in a way that is glorifying and honoring to Him outside of this pagan practice.
Although the occurrences of demon possession are rare (and technically impossible for the Spirit-indwelled believer),  the dangers of interacting with pagan religious practices and evil spirits are very real. The true follower of Christ must separate himself from all that is directly associated with false religions and preserve the purity of the Christian faith. Yoga is never honoring to God. It is for this reason that “Christian Yoga” cannot exist in the truest sense of the word. The two systems are diametrically opposed to each other; it is best the church recognize this and do away with the practice of hatha yoga.
Lord, “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3).
 Three of the main branches of yoga are Karma, Jnana, and Bhakti Yoga. However, Rāja yoga is the one covered here. Rāja yoga is concerned with control of the mind and consists of “The Eight Limbs of Patañjali.” Patañjali developed this branch of yoga to remove man from his false identification with matter. One of these eight limbs is Hatha Yoga.
 The assertion that one can achieve a higher spiritual state by receiving advanced knowledge in some form outside of Scripture from the spiritual realm is known historically as Gnosticism (gnōsis means “knowledge”) and is recorded as the first heresy of the early church. All modern forms of mysticism seek to achieve this in one form or another and are enveloped in teachings of pantheism and panentheism.
 Sal Massa, “Christian Yoga and Reiki,” http://www.lakecountrybible.org; Interestingly, Massa continues to point out that those who are actually enveloped in the Hindu religion do not accept American or Christian Yoga as valid expressions of their own practice which cannot be separated from their religion of Hinduism.
 John Ankerberg and John Weldon, “Innocent Yoga,” http://www.jashow.org/Articles/new-age/NA1101W1.htm; the article also records that Dr. Robert Leichtman “admitted that Carol’s situation was not uncommon among followers of Eastern gurus. He even told her some have died as a result of similar psychic attacks.”
 Carol was apparently not saved prior to this incident.
 If one feels the need to stretch or exercise, numerous possibilities are available outside of this pagan practice!
 It is impossible for a demon to take possession (i.e. indwell) a believer who is already possessed by the Holy Spirit. However, this does not eliminate one from the actions of demons and the possible dangers associated with their actions (e.g. Job), but makes that reality all the more plausible.
This article was authored by Hobie Holden