Those of you who are wondering whether the new Julia Roberts movie, Eat Pray Love, has anything positive to say about Christianity may want to learn from her lessons – she became Hindu after filming the movie.
I don’t know about you, but I get this stuff all the time – the latest New Age hyper-sell to land in my inbox is the Home Enlightenment and Self Realization Program by Sri Sutrananda which uses a combination of Jnana, Raja, Bhakti, Karma, Hathaa and Kunda yoga to take users on a journey of “spiritual discovery and self realization.”
Jackie sent us a link about SuperbrainYoga® “I know you have spoken on your broadcast before about how dangerous yoga is and how all the positions reflect some sort of praise to a false god. Does that include this Superbrain Yoga®? Or are they just calling this yoga, but it’s really just an exercise for the brain. I would love to try it, because I have a lot of trouble with my memory and focusing, but I don’t want to try it if it is only a gate into spiritual darkness.”
Jackie was right to trust her instincts and question this latest New Age invention. Even a cursory review of the main website is enough to answer a lot of questions!
According to the purveyors of Superbrain Yoga ®, this is a technique meant to “energize and recharge the brain.” It is based “on the principles of subtle energy and ear acupuncture,” and involves gently squeezing the earlobes to “produce the necessary energy connection” which supposedly causes the brain and pituitary gland to become energized and activated.
In some cases, practitioners squeeze their earlobes, then squat and rise, breathing in on the way down and out on the way up. This exercise is said to synchronize the right and left hemispheres of the brain and to improve memory and brain function.
It’s founder, Master Choa Kok Sui, is a “pranic healer” (a form of energy medicine similar to Therapeutic Touch ) who trademarked the name Superbrain Yoga®. He claims that it “transforms or internally alchemizes the energies from the lower energy centers into higher subtler energies. These energies are then utilized by the upper energy centers. When those centers are highly energized, they energize the brain so it can function with greater efficiency and effectivity.”
If this sounds like a bunch of New Age psycho babble, it is!
First of all, the “subtle energies” (also referred to in the literature as prana, chi, qi, yin and yang, etc.) he refers to are not supported by science. (See http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=4). From what I can see, this is the connection between Superbrain Yoga® and yoga they both share a belief in the existence of prana and chakras (energy centers which are also scientifically unsubstantiated).
However, Superbrain Yoga also involves acupuncture, which is where things get interesting.
For those who do not know this, there are two kinds of acupuncture the scientific version which is based on the principles of neuroscience and the Traditional Chinese Medicine version which is based on the existence of opposing energy forces known as yin and yang. Science has found that acupuncture works through the release of endorphins and/or pain relieving neurotransmitters – not because of any “subtle energy” manipulation in the body.
What the Superbrain Yoga® people do is mix things up by calling in a Yale neurosurgeon named Eugenius Ang who explains why squeezing the earlobes may cause changes to the right and left hemispheres of the brain but Dr. Ang’s explanation has nothing to do with “subtle energies” he’s all science.
But by bringing in Dr. Ang, it makes it look as though a practice based on prana is scientifically sound when it isn’t. The only part that is scientifically sound is the part based on neuroscience. However, the “average Joe” will probably not be able to make this very necessary distinction.
I might also mention that the website talks a good game, mentioning all kinds of “pilot studies” and impressive research results but offers no citations, making it impossible to verify them. The site also includes a disclaimer (never a good sign) saying that the author, publisher and the website cannot be held liable if any adverse effects result from the use of Superbrain Yoga®.
I conclude by saying that this is just another example of how the New Age co-opts legitimate healing practices, such as massage or fitness regimes, and radically changes the meaning of them so that they become something Christians are better off avoiding.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with squeezing your ear lobes and doing squatting exercises, there is definitely something wrong with Superbrain Yoga®!
Send your New Age questions to email@example.com
VG asks: “Do you have any info on Budokon? A friend of mine does it and she is a Christian. From what I have read, it doesn’t seem compatible.”
Margaret asks: “Is Pilates exercise considered New Age? What about simple stretches for warm-up and cool down when doing a work out? How is one to know what is ‘yoga’ and what isn’t?”
By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Yoga instructors in Missouri are fighting a move by the state to tax yoga classes, saying they’re not just exercise classes but are a spiritual practice and therefore should not be taxed.
By Susan Brinkmann
A high school in upstate New York has agreed to delay the implementation of yoga classes after a group of parents and religious leaders complained the program indoctrinates children in Hindu rites and is a violation of the separation of church and state.