Q&A - Holistic Health
The "Pilates" Method
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Note: I hesitated to post some parts of this discussion (an illustration and a link I added), but because these influences are touching and changing children around the world, parents need to be aware of them. Please pray for God's guidance.
Question: I would like to get your reaction to something that happened on Tuesday evening. My children swim with a local swim team. The training includes a dry-land portion meant to provide strength and conditioning.
A couple of nights ago, a new dry-land session started. The program was to include some pilates training. When the kids got to the room the instructor had turned the lights very low, to the point where people could barely identify who was in the room. Music was playing. The kids were on mats.
During the session the instructor said “I want you to develop a relationship with the inside of your body.”
Also, the children mentioned that one of the coaches was acting very strangely as she got up from the mat. She was breathing in a noticeably different way and was using her hands to make fanning and fluttering motions near her mouth.
Both children said the instructor was scary. My son didn’t want to participate because he thought it was yoga. My daughter felt as if she had to participate because she wanted to obey the swim coach.
At one point in the session, the instructor said something such as “your private part where you go to the bathroom has an elevator that goes up and down. I want you to squeeze that area.”
When my kids told me what had happened I approached the one of the coaches and indicated that they would not be participating in the dry-land training. He wondered why.
I told him that I like the strengthening and weight training regimen, but the other aspects of the program are not helpful. He still looked perplexed.
I explained that I have a Christian worldview. Some pilates programs focus entirely on the physical exercises. Others incorporate aspects of Eastern religion: breathing, visualization, etc. Those components conflict with Christianity, and I don’t want my kids participating.
He said, “Well, breathing is an important part of swimming, and they have to learn this stuff somewhere.”
I told him that I had been involved in judo and karate during my college days. Why do you suppose people always “bow in” before fighting? They aren’t just showing respect to the opponent. These sports have practices and terms that the average participant knows nothing about.
The Eastern religions know what karate, yoga, etc, are all about. There is a heavy religious component. Those deeply involved in these programs know that the religious component is dominant and that the programs are often used a basis to spread these religions in the western world.
He seemed confused, but said “Ok. Thanks for telling me.”
I don’t trust the instructor. Also, auditing one of the sessions will not necessarily be helpful. The instructor could go several sessions without doing anything unusual. Then once the kids trust her, she can use the music, relaxed environment etc. to get kids in touch with spirit guides.
Question: I would be curious to get your input on what I have just mentioned. Have you heard of similar experiences in sports programs or even other settings. Do you know anything more about pilates? Do you have any other articles that might be of help.
Response: A Google search brought me to this page on pilate training: www.pilatesinsight.com/mind-body-fitness/mind-body-fitness.aspx
It ties this mind-body training to several occult/new-age, Hindu or Buddhist-based rituals such as The Feldenkrais Method, Kundalini yoga, Tae Bo, and Tai Chi. For example, it tells us "Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient Chinese system of movement that is part exercise, part meditation, part martial arts."
I'm so glad God has given you the discernment to recognize the need for concern. So many parents neither know nor care about these spiritual dangers.
You might want to read the articles on "The Revenge of the Sith" at www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/star-wars.htm
Digimon at www.crossroad.to/text/articles/Digimon.html and the Q&A page on Holistic Health at www.crossroad.to/Q&A/HolisticHealth/contents.htm
I suggest you also read about my experience with the mind-body forces on this page: www.crossroad.to/Victory/names/shepherd.htm
More information from the father who raised the question:
The pervasiveness of these belief systems throughout our culture is quite astounding. It is no wonder that the number of people in this country holding to beliefs such reincarnation has skyrocketed.
Here are some articles and links concerning Pilates, Sports and the New Age
As I did some research to learn more about Pilates, I found several items that might interest you.
1. A German, Joseph Pilates, developed this form of exercise in the early 20th century. The exercises as originally designed incorporated the Eastern emphasis on controlled breathing and the Western use of resistance. More recently some people have been teaching a hybrid form mixing Pilates and New Age spirituality.
Here is a link to a Watchman Fellowship article about Pilates, its history, practice and concerns for Christians:
2. Here is a link to Ana Caban's website: http://www.anacaban.com. The site appears to be merely a Pilates exercise site until you go to the links page.
One of those links takes you to Gaiam International: http://www.gaiam.com/retail/default.asp. That site has a page "About Gaiam" showing the New Age link. [It includes this page on yoga (You may not want to read this promotion of yoga): http://www.gaiam.com/retail/gai_content/learn/gai_learnCategory.asp?category%5Fid=12]
Another link on Caban's site is: http://www.jodyrowestaley.com/index.htm. This site is blatantly New Age. Of particular interest is page "Sports & Spirituality Services. That page highlights some athletes who have achieved some success on the national and international sports scene. Silvereign aims to use these athletes to promote spiritual services.
The bottom line is that there may be a link between some Pilates programs and the New Age.
4. Marcia Montenegro has some useful information at http://cana.userworld.com/cana_contents.html. Her perspective is particularly helpful because of her background. She was very immersed in the New Age before trusting the Lord. She gives her testimony on the site. (Her site does not focus on Pilates or sports, but I found her material helpful.)
5. Finally, I could not resist sending you one more article. It is not specifically a Pilates article, but it concerns sports and the New Age.
Of particular interest in the article is the "Examples" section. Tiger Woods father speaks of Tiger using almost messianic language. Although I knew Woods is a Buddhist, I had no idea his father had such lofty views of him apart from the golf world.
http://www.wfial.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=artNewAge.article_3. I also had no idea of his father's relationship to EST.
Here is an excerpt from that article:
"Though not a vocal adherent to New Age practices, one of golf's most influential figures, Tiger Woods, has a family background steeped in New Age influences. Like Michael Jordan, whose basketball successes provided his coach a more prominent platform, Woods' popularity gives his father and coach, Earl Woods a wide audience for his views.
"Speaking of his son, the elder Woods has said, "He will transcend this game…and bring to the world…a humanitarianism…which has never been known before. The world will be a better place to live in…by virtue of his existence…and his presence."12
"While these are certainly the words of a proud father, they are much more.
Earl Woods, an EST (Erhard Seminar Training) follower, boasts that his son "will do more than any other man in history to change the course of
humanity."13 Following is his exchange with a Sports Illustrated interviewer:
Q: "Sports history, Mr. Wood? Do you mean more than Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson, more than Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe?"
A: "More than any of them because he's more charismatic, more educated, more prepared for this than anyone."
Q: "Anyone, Mr. Woods? Your son will have more impact than Nelson Mandela, more than Ghandi, more than Buddha?"
A: "Yes, because he has a larger forum than any of them. Because he's playing a sport that is international. Because he's qualified through his ethnicity to accomplish miracles. He's the bridge between East and West.
There is no limit because he has the guidance. I don't know yet exactly what form this will take. But he is the Chosen One. He will have the power to impact nations. Not people. Nations. The world is just getting a taste of his power."14
Speaking of Tiger's mother, Tida (a devout Buddhist) Earl Woods adds, "Tida was meant to bring in the influence of the Orient, to introduce Tiger to Buddhism and inner peace, so he would have the best of two different worlds."
According to the writer she also "…takes the boy's astrological chart to a Buddhist temple in Los Angeles and to another in Bangkok and is told by monks at both places that the child has wondrous powers. Mrs. Woods, like her husband, has an interesting view concerning her son stating, "Tiger has Thai, African, Chinese, American Indian and European blood. He can hold everyone together. He is the Universal Child."15
To his credit, Tiger Woods does not seem to have such exalted views of himself stating, "I like Buddhism because it is a whole way of being and living… I believe in Buddhism. Not every aspect, but most of it. So I take bits and pieces. I don't believe that human beings can achieve ultimate enlightenment, because humans have flaws."16
Honorable as it may seem, Tiger's statement is quite revealing of the New Age Movement's practice of taking "bits and pieces" of American culture and religion blending them together with eastern mystical philosophy and effectively blurring the distinctions.
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