Yoga For Health? A personal story by Frances Davies

I would not expect to be taken seriously by some if I was to say that practising yoga was dangerous or that an interest in it’s philosophies was risky. At one time I would have been amused too. However I will try to relate some events which, upon reading, may make a person think twice before taking up these seemingly harmless exercises.

Most yoga classes take the format of about an hour’s gentle stretching exercises and postures, a little meditation probably at the end, an interval where the teacher usually talks about Yoga’s values and origins, finishing with an extremely enjoyable relaxation session where most people stretch out in a sleeping bag to completely unwind.

The exercises’ original purpose was to train the body to be supple and strong enough to sit for long periods to practice meditation.

I loved it straight away and soon began practising at home in between classes. I found the talks fascinating and unwittingly started to apply their values to my every day life. Initially I had only been interested in the exercises as a way of keeping fit, not realising that there was so much more.

Yoga

The word yoga means yoke or union. It is about disciplining the mind, body and spirit. The exercises are pleasurable, but their original purpose was to train the body to be supple and strong enough to sit for long periods to practice meditation. The meditation is also pleasurable and feelings of being ‘at one’, of ‘tuning in’ and eventually ‘out of body experiences’ are are not difficult to attain and there is a feeling of extreme peace as a gentle calmness washes over you.

I felt fit and calm and more and more intrigued by it all. However after a while something was happening to me that I didn’t at the time attribute to yoga. I felt as if I was losing confidence in myself in general. I was becoming increasingly shy and nervous. I had never been an over confident person but this was different. I was eventually prescribed tranquilizers and sleeping pills and told I was suffering a breakdown.

I reluctantly gave up my job. I say reluctantly as I was fighting hard to stay on top. I did not confide in my friends or family as it felt embarrassing, but with the aid of increasing amounts of pills somehow managed to hide what was happening. The only person who knew was my husband who, with much love, supported me even though we did not know what was wrong.

An Anglican vicar introduced me to Transcendental Meditation

Eventually we confided in an acquaintance of my husband who happened to be an Anglican vicar. He was extremely sympathetic and told us about a meditation technique he himself used which he felt sure would help. His own doctor who he introduced me to, also practiced it and also recommended it to her patients – and she readily put me in touch with a teacher of ‘Transcendental Meditation’ (TM)

I was asked to attend an introductory talk at a large hotel in Blackpool. People of all walks of life seemed to be there. Respectable looking people who like me were curious and somewhat guarded. The speaker was a middle aged English lady who told us that she was married to a GP who recommended TM to his patients. She spoke with such confidence and radiated such calmness that many of the audience, including myself, readily arranged for the teaching.

I felt more than a little silly as I stood on the doorstep of a large house in Ansdell near Blackpool, with my bunch of flowers, a white handkerchief and of course my cheque book. But as I was shown inside my mind was put at ease as it was explained to me that these things which I had been asked to bring, were purely for mood making and for the benefit of the teacher herself.

My ‘gifts’ were placed before a picture of a very old Indian man with kind eyes.

I was led to a room and after obediently taking off my shoes, sat on a chair, while the teacher filled the room with a lovely scented incense. She sang a beautiful lilting song in some foreign language and placed my ‘gifts’ before a picture of a very old Indian man with kind eyes.

Although bemused and puzzled I remembered the people who had brought me here, people who I respected and trusted, so I just listened with interest.

I was given my ‘mantra’ – a little word that I had to repeat quietly to myself over and over again.

The teacher left the room and I had the sensation of sinking deeper and deeper into my own body. It was a very pleasant experience and when she returned I reluctantly opened my eyes. It felt as if I had to climb up through a tunnel to get back to reality!

I was told to go home and repeat my mantra in the same way for twenty minutes morning and evening and to wait for my life to change. I was told never to disclose to anyone the details of the ceremony as it would weaken its effects or put it into the wrong hands. It still all sounded crazy but I had come this far so decided it was worth trying.

I started to feel changes in myself almost immediately. My thinking became clearer and my need for sleeping tablets diminished and disappeared. I seemed to develop an astuteness, keen awareness and deep sensitivity. Other people who had learned at the same time as myself seemed also to experience similar and other good changes (we had monthly meetings where our progress was monitored) and all seemed to be going well.

I developed tendency to snap and fly into quite unprovoked tempers

However after about three months I began to notice other changes. The nervousness I had experienced before started to return. My shyness developed into an acute turning in on myself. I found that I would tremble uncontrollably if anyone raised their voice at me or if I bumped into any one I knew while out shopping etc.

I realized how utterly ridiculous all this was, and struggled hard to fight it. I consulted the TM teacher who said that it was only ‘stress release’ and it had to come out somehow. Alex my husband had also began to notice changes. I developed a tendency to snap and fly into quite unprovoked tempers, something which was completely out of character and yet it felt fully justified at the time.

Tension was building rapidly between us and Alex’s sleep was beginning to suffer. At first soon, after we had fallen asleep, he would jolt awake and feel very restless. He would have to get out of bed and walk around to stop the jumpiness in his legs. When he finally climbed back into bed he had to fight hard to ignore the tingling feeling which would start at his feet and work up into is entire body

I talked to the TM teacher who said that I was emitting a lot of stress when I slept and that my husband was picking it up. She said that it would settle in time but that perhaps if he also meditated it would solve the problem. Alex, always having been a strong and independent person, refused to consider this. We both agreed that something was very wrong but it still sounded crazy and weird.

I did of course decide and attempted to stop practicing the meditation. But as I said previously, it had to be practiced morning and evening for twenty minutes. I found that if I missed just one session then I would experience the most dreadful tiredness. Although I desperately continued trying to stop.

I thought I would lose my sanity

The most I ever managed was a week, at the end of which I felt so weak with tiredness that I thought I would lose my sanity. I was also plagued with a recurring flu like virus which always lasted for about three days and would effect me sometimes as often as every week. Other new candidates seemed to suffer with this too, but we were told it was just stress release!

After about six months the sleep situation became intolerable. We had even tried attaching copper wire to the metal headboard of our bed and running this to the radiator to earth the static – sounds crazy doesn’t it! This had been suggested to us by some of the chief consultants of the TM network (which we had discovered was immense) but nothing seemed to work.

I started to attend weekend courses which were run by the TM teachers of varying grades in various country stately homes, as was encouraged. These weekends were designed to speed up the process of emitting the ever increasing ‘stress’ and consisted of extra meditation sessions, hours of yoga and intense teaching about the health benefits of TM.

There was also attractive and persuasive information about further advanced techniques, which were on offer (at considerable cost). Their purpose was to help us achieve the perfect harmony we were aiming for – that is if we had not found it already! Quite often people would feel head-achy and would walk about looking a little zombified on these weekend courses – but it was all for our own good!

Strange and worrying things had started to happen within our house

Things at home however just got worse. We had started to take turn about, with one of us sleeping on the settee and the other in the bed (this went on for about four years). Alex, although weary to the bone, could hardly sleep at all. He felt as if the whole house was affected.

Strange and worrying things had started to happen within our house – it felt like something was controlling us. Alex’s business started to suffer and we inevitably experienced financial problems.

It’s difficult when you are in the midst of something to realize how many years of your life are being consumed. Life has to go on, and so you struggle through. The years went by and we coped with difficulty. Many times we talked about splitting as it seemed like the only solution but this was not what either of us wanted.

Transcendental Meditation

Maharishi of Beatles Fame

TM we discovered, is an immense global network. It’s wealth spilling over into private ‘health’ clinics, advanced techniques costing thousands of pounds (I have actually seen film footage of people levitating whilst practising these techniques) housing developments and diamond trading to name but a few.

Some years ago a new political group was launched. The ‘Natural Law Party’ openly admitted that all their members practised TM, claiming that their leadership abilities were enhanced by this.

Some people may remember during the 1970’s, film shots of the Beatles on TV parading alongside an Indian man with long flowing robes and flowers everywhere, as they happily promoted their involvement in TM – no doubt leading to many converts.

Yoga was the doorway and TM the invitation to being controlled by a force of evil.

Not everyone who practices yoga and related meditative techniques will necessarily experience side effects, at least not to the degree that I did. Some no doubt will laugh at my story. Others may have experienced minor happenings but not attributed them to yoga or meditation.

It is pretty obvious to me now to realise that there had been a powerful spiritual force at large in my life. Whether people believe in such things or not, these forces do exist and are as active today as they have always been. I believe that yoga was the doorway and TM the invitation to being controlled by a force of evil.

Alex and I are now free of it’s hold – which actually lasted for around 10 years, but we also have a very definite and clear understanding of why it all happened. – interested? – Read on.

Seeking Something ‘Spiritual’

I had a Catholic upbringing of which, as a child, I was proud. But like so many of my friends I stopped attending church soon after I left school. However years later, after marrying and having two children, I suppose I began to feel a need for something of spiritual substance.

I started a search around churches of various denominations, including the Catholic. In conclusion I decided to remain open minded about them all but not attend any.

I had started to practice yoga and TM somewhere along the line, and found that my life had taken on a bizarre and frightening slant.

Our two teenage children had become Christians some years previously. They both had serious reservations about my involvement in Eastern practices. But even though I agreed that something malicious was playing havoc with our lives, I was powerless to do anything about it.

Our daughter suggested we talk to her pastor

It was difficult to confide in anyone outside of the TM circle about our experiences, as it all sounded so bizarre. People within this circle appeared to be either single or couples meditating together and none seemed to have experienced the extremities that we had.

The TM teachers were sympathetic but all they could come up with was that Alex needed to meditate too or, as was hinted at, that perhaps we were not suited as a married couple and TM with its wonderful way was showing this to be so!

We, of course, did confide in the Anglican vicar who had originally recommended TM to me and also eventually a Catholic priest. But the first did not seem to take what we said seriously as he hadn’t experienced any problems (his wife also meditated) and the second, in recognising what he called an ‘earthly force’ (I now call it demonic), had unsuccessfully prayed through our house.

I say unsuccessfully as after he did this, complete with priestly robes and holy water, the atmosphere became more intense and angry and I could relate of some frightening manifestations which we experienced.

Our daughter, seeing our distress, suggested that we talk to the pastor of a church which she attended and we both went along to see him, not really having much hope.

It was some weeks later that a miracle happened.

This pastor immediately recognised that a satanic energy was at play and said that we needed to become Christians before it could be dealt with. This made little sense to me as I already considered myself to be one. However, in my immensely traumatised state, I allowed myself to be led through a prayer which I was told was committing my life to Jesus Christ.

I went away feeling only a little comforted, concluding that nobody truly understood just how bad things were. I did not at first appreciate the full impact of what that prayer meant and it was some weeks later that a miracle happened.

I was walking through a wood with our little dog. I was feeling desperately unhappy and trapped by our circumstances. I knew something was very wrong but could see no way out. As I walked I made up my mind that Alex and I would have to split. I remember saying almost out loud ‘is this the only way ‘ It was then that I heard a very loud answer ‘ NO ‘

The voice was like thunder and seemed to surround me and I felt something like a click in my head, and I can only say that I knew so profoundly, so definitely that I was free, that I could go home and never need to meditate again.

I later learned that our two teenage children and some of their friends had been praying for us

I felt very excited and somehow just knew that I had experienced a miracle from the hand of God Himself, which still, years later, I can not fully take in and I feel tearful and emotional whenever I relate that moment.

The next week is one which I will remember for the rest of my life. This was when I came to know the power of prayer. I knew that I had been delivered of something evil, I felt a freedom in my mind and a peace inside.

But I was also strangely aware of what I can only describe as some sort of struggle. Then the struggle simply stopped. I later learned that our two teenage children and some of their friends had been praying for us – such is the power of our God.

We did not split! And now, years later, we can look back with awesome understanding about why we experienced what we did.

Conclusion

In today’s world some of us are reluctant to believe in our creator God. The old Bible stories we were taught in school have long faded in our memories and rarely referred to in our busy adult lives. Many of us will, if thinking of devotional issues at all, group all religions together in our modern day broad mindedness, respecting each persons own spiritual walk, as their individual choice, considering all to be beneficial rather than any causing any harm.

The simple message of the Bible is the pure truth and it’s power is very real.

These indeed used to be my own thoughts. I now know without a shadow of doubt that nothing could be further from the truth.

The simple message of the Bible is the pure truth and it’s power is very real. Satan does exist today and his depraved works surround us. He has many names and comes in many guises.

The battle, although hidden, is ongoing today. It is not some dusty old myth from a bygone age. It is clear that the god often referred to in yoga is not the God of the Bible. The god (Absolute) often given credit in TM is a false one – a clever deception to embroil people into a very wicked power.

There are many different sources of alternative therapies available to us for all sorts of reasons. They can seem attractive and indeed do initially work. But therein lies the danger, as we innocently put our trust in these seemingly harmless activities we are opening ourselves to spiritual forces at large. Laughable you may think but as my own experience shows very real.

Sadly many churches today are letting people down. Many have become institutional dusty relics being more concerned with unnecessary ritual, status and political correctness than in giving people true guidance and teaching in their spiritual needs.

Others dangerously embrace a bizarre mixture of beliefs and are sadly lacking in any sound direction. This sad fact has allowed many substitutes to spill into our lives, all attractively packaged and offering much but, once tasted, are as a deadly poison.

Very real spiritual dangers

Yoga, hypnosis, tarot cards, divination, spiritualism, TM, clairvoyance, psychic healing, New Age, Buddhism, Hinduism (which is actually behind TM although that fact is strongly denied) and many many more – all come under the same heading – that of clever baits of deception. They are all spiritually dangerous.

Alex never once blamed me for bringing the destructive and utterly confusing influence into our lives, even though it gave us years of distress. Wasted years some may think. It was a long time, frightening and isolating, but in sharing our story we can hopefully warn anyone who is considering any of the alternatives listed above and others – so not wasted!

Udate

This story was written around 1990. We are now in 2020. Alex died 7 years ago. Before his death we spent time working with and representing Reachout Trust, a Christian organisation who have great knowledge and much information about the dangerous effects of alternative therapies, cults and New Age. If you would like any help or information, then this organisation can still be contacted @ www.reachouttrust.org

I (Frances) can be contacted at [email protected]

I wrote the above testimony as an outreach and am more than happy for it to be passed on to any person who would benefit. Below is a footnote which can either be passed on with the testimony or not.

Note: There are several helpful articles on the Reachout Trust website to help you understand the problems with Yoga and Transcendental Meditation.

FOOTNOTE FOR THE CHRISTIAN

(who will understand)

There are many details which could be related about what we eventually realised was demonic activity over the years we were entrapped. But the one astounding revelation came during the evening service after we had both been baptised in a small fellowship church which we had started to attend.

Alex had been asked to give his testimony and as he stood to walk to the front, a vivid memory hit him like a bolt! He, as a child of 11 years old, had made a commitment to Jesus in a small Scottish Mission Hall. Alex had forgotten this and gone his own way in life, but God had not forgotten!

As husband and wife what we had experienced was a clash in the spirit – the light of our glorious Holy One and the darkness of a Hindu god ! – Everything suddenly became very clear!

Praise, Glory, and Thanks to our Amazing God!

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