No More Namaste: Missouri Megachurch Pastor Claims Yoga Has Demonic Roots

Photo: Oleh_Slobodeniuk (Getty Images)

Put aside all your concerns over pentagrams, Ouija boards, “666,” or any Harry Potter book you’ve ever read. The true root of all evil could be coming from yoga, at least according to one Missouri pastor. According to KSDK, a leader at an Assemblies of God megachurch recently told his congregation that yoga has “demonic roots” and warned his people to avoid the workouts:

Pastor John Lindell told the attendees of James River Church in Ozark — which has a congregation of about 10,500, according to a 2016 report — that the positions in yoga were “created with demonic intent to open you up to demonic power because Hinduism is demonic.”

Yoga is evil? It’s an interesting hypothesis. And it’s not the first time it’s been posited. Even though yoga started roughly 5,000 years ago, before the origins of essentially any modern-day religion, including Christianity, according to historians, the word “yoga” comes from a meaning to “join,” “yoke,” or “unite.” What exactly are people unwillingly joining when they snap into that “Happy Baby” pose? Are they asking for a trip to Exorcist town? Is Mr. Lindell’s warning that much of a stretch?

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Let’s take a look at just a few common poses that leave us with some serious questions!


Triangle…as in, pentagram? Just look at this beautiful, older woman in Trikonasana. That skirt just screams “Satan!”

Photo: wanderluster (Getty Images)


We all know the moon is a pure symbol of witchcraft. We just don’t trust this guy and his gorgeous nature-like setting. Warlock.

Photo: Pete Saloutos (Getty Images)


A Cobra is a snake. The devil appears as a snake in the very beginning of the Bible. We’re not taking any chances. And this dude’s headband looks extra sketch.

Photo: Yuri_Arcurs (Getty Images)

Yup. All those poses sound like dark magic to us. We’re just going to get our friends together for a workout in the church and call it stretching.

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Josh Helmuth is a sports reporter for KSDK in St. Louis who contributes for Mandatory. He goes to yoga with his wife occasionally and enjoys the stretch.