Can Catholics practice yoga?


I have a friend who asked me to help her find any information on yoga, and it is wrong for her to practice its exercise. She herself is a faithful sacramental Catholic who enjoys and does yoga every now and then. Just recently she was handed a Christian book that downgraded yoga, and explained why Christian should have no part of it. The book she was given was not Catholic, so she is interested in finding a book that is Catholic and to see what the Church might have to say about it.

Thanks and God bless.


Physical exercises that are common to yoga that promote health and physical well-being are fine. What Catholics should not do is participate in non-Christian Eastern spirituality. If yoga contains non-Christian Eastern spirituality, one can do the physical exercises but refrain from the prayers. As a general rule of thumb, Christian spirituality is interpersonal (between persons) while non-Christian Eastern spirituality focuses the practitioner on the self.

Recommended reading:

Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age
The Danger of Centering Prayer by Fr. John D. Dreher

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