Can Catholics practice yoga?


#1

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.


#2

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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