"....They are contrary to, and irreconcilable with, Orthodox Christian ascesis, especially with Prayer..."
Our times are times of extreme spiritual confusion and apostasy from the Will of God. The father of this condition is the devil, who uses the people that he seduces into fallacy in order to succeed in his homicidal plan. This confusion is cultivated mostly by groups belonging to the so-called "New Age of Aquarius". Their basic dogma is that "all religions are the same; all of them are paths that lead to the same objective" - so they say. However our Lord Jesus Christ Himself refutes them, when He says in the Gospel: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6). Consequently, the paths to salvation are not many, but only one alone: Christ and His Church.
These heralds of confusion identify Christian prayer with yoga and meditation, which are techniques of oriental religions and occultism. With what will follow, I believe that this confusion will be cleared.
Ascesis has been legislated by our very Lord Himself, in the sacred Gospel. Ascesis is the means for reaching the purpose of Christian living, which is to rid oneself of passions and become united with God (theosis by Grace). Among the kinds of ascesis are fasting, night-vigils, prayer, sincere repentance and confession, humility; the severing of one's own will by being obedient to the will of God; by not trusting our own nonexistent powers but only God's power; by attributing to God all good things and whichever progress we make on the path of virtue while putting the blame on ourselves for our sins. Along with these, we should add the study of God's word and the conscientious participation in the Sacraments of our Church - especially in the Sacrament of repentance and confession and the Sacrament of the Divine Eucharist. Ascesis is not only for monks and clergy, but for every Christian, as clearly observed in the sacred Gospel and the lives of the saints of our Church. This path of ascesis was the path followed by the millions of saints of our Faith.