Is it a sin for Catholics to do Yoga?

I don’t personally do Yoga, but I know many Catholics who do. I read that it is almost occult activity because it stems from Hinduism and Yoga, as a spiritual path, stresses the necessity of detachment from the material world, to the extent of affirming that the material world is illusory and that all that matters is the spiritual. Although yoga did not spring up within the Christian tradition, this view of the material as the “enemy” of the spiritual resembles the Christian heresy of Gnosticism, wherein salvation (for the yoga practitioner, “enlightenment”) is sought by freedom from matter. As a spiritual path, yoga is thus incompatible with Christian spirituality. The spiritual practice of yoga focuses the practitioner on the self and on the dissolving of the self into a pantheistic “divine.” Christian spirituality is, on the other hand, interpersonal and focuses on union of the self with the Triune God (but not at the expense of the extinction of the self).

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Yes it is.
It is linked to the occult and should be avoided like you would avoid tarot cards and other occult linked practices.


I love yoga. Very good to stretch all parts of your body as you get older. I’ve been in countless classes in several cities and never once encountered the “religious” side of yoga. So let’s clarify that very often yoga is taught only as a means of exercise.
Please do a search for this topic as it has already been discussed numerous times on CAF.


Yoga: leading affluent suburban white women to hell since 3,000 B.C.


The Vatican published something on the topic, October 15, 1989, by Joseph Card. Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) approved by St. Pope John Paul II. Excerpt:

2. The ever more frequent contact with other religions and with their different styles and methods of prayer has, in recent decades, led many of the faithful to ask themselves what value non-Christian forms of meditation might have for Christians. Above all, the question concerns eastern methods.1 Some people today turn to these methods for therapeutic reasons.

28. Some physical exercises automatically produce a feeling of quiet and relaxation, pleasing sensations, perhaps even phenomena of light and of warmth, which resemble spiritual well-being. To take such feelings for the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit would be a totally erroneous way of conceiving the spiritual life. Giving them a symbolic significance typical of the mystical experience, when the moral condition of the person concerned does not correspond to such an experience, would represent a kind of mental schizophrenia which could also lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations.

That does not mean that genuine practices of meditation which come from the Christian East and from the great non-Christian religions, which prove attractive to the man of today who is divided and disoriented, cannot constitute a suitable means of helping the person who prays to come before God with an interior peace, even in the midst of external pressures.

Endnotes 1 - The expression “eastern methods” is used to refer to methods which are inspired by Hinduism and Buddhism, such as “Zen,” “Transcendental Meditation” or “Yoga.” Thus it indicates methods of meditation of the non-Christian Far East which today are not infrequently adopted by some Christians also in their meditation. The orientation of the principles and methods contained in this present document is intended to serve as a reference point not just for this problem, but also, in a more general way, for the different forms of prayer practiced nowadays in ecclesial organizations, particularly in associations, movements and groups.


I think they have some similar exercises that are ok for Christians.

Pietra Fitness?

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No. Yoga is not a sin if you’re just doing the exercises. A Catholic friend of mine for many years taught a morning yoga class at our parish.


I edited down the Pope Emeritus’ words to the essential:

“That does not mean that genuine practices of meditation . . . . . cannot constitute a suitable means of helping the person who prays to come before God…”


I don’t think we should, but I am unsure if I would say it is a sin.

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There are different types of yoga. Yoga as a physical, non-religious, and meditative activity can be very relaxing.


Enlightenment is the end, and union (yoga, “yoke”) is the means.

Is it a form of exercise or a religious experience? I don’t do yoga, but it looks like exercise to me.
Sometimes I see titles of threads like this and think, “Is it a sin to breath air?” :laughing:


For me, stress relief and getting my money’s worth are the end.

If you were going to be so definitive about it, why ask for opinions in the first place?

Just because something is rooted from another religion doesn’t mean it is sinful to practice. Centering Prayer for instance has roots in Buddhism but it’s very much part of modern Catholic spirituality

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I wasn’t. Just saying what the word yoga actually means.


I think many people, Catholics included, do Yoga strictly for the health benefits, and not for any religious reasons, and so I personally don’t see how this would be sinful. Still, there are lots of warnings out there, due to Yoga’s connection with Hinduism, and most of them are from unofficial Church sources.

Here is a group who sees their Yoga practice as part of their Christian faith. They were inspired by Paulist Father Thomas Ryan of Boston, whose interfaith ministry includes the practice of Yoga, and is done with the approval of his bishop and religious superiors. But if Yoga makes a person uncomfortable for religious reasons, then simply don’t do it.

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I suppose that most people objecting to yoga have never done it. I have. It is not a sin. I have not a found a “religious teaching” associated with the stretching and strength training . Even if I did, it doesn’t mean I have to believe it. Not A Sin!


I disagree there. I have no issue with yoga as an exercise, but if I would have an issue an instructor who taught it as spiritual and would recommend quitting that class.

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I heard that even when doing it as an exercise that one is putting ones body in a position that worships a false god or something similar. The top Catholic excorcists say stay away from it.

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