Question about Yoga and Catholicism

Wasn’t sure about where to post this question. I have been doing 20-30 min of yoga poses several days a week for several years. I have found the poses to be the only thing to help with increasing chronic back and neck pain. I caught the end of Women of Grace the other day and they were discussing the incompatibility of yoga and Catholicism. I do not attend classes, only do the physical exercises at home for the physical benefits of pain relief and flexibility. I do not participate in yoga meditation, mudras or anything beyond physical stretching. I use exercises taught by a physical therapist and cds taught by a dancer who combines yoga with weights and other exercises that are not traditional yoga. I was very upset to hear that just by doing yoga exercises, I may be sinning. Does anyone have any advice, info or links to share with me regarding this? I would also appreciate advice on stretching exercises, books or cds that would be more compatible with Catholicism.

From Catholic Answers Apologist, Michelle Arnold:

“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.”

It is my understanding that Christian prayer with Yoga stretching for purposes of health for self interactive with others is a work in progress that leads the Christian to a deeper understanding of the benefits of prayer vs for instance; worry “Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all.” Catechism Of The Catholic Church. 2342,

There are many ways in which we worship God, pagans have their own ways as well to worship their Gods. God prohibited us to practice paganism in any form. People have fallen into paganism because they look for temporal benefits while God offers you eternal ones. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and Life, and just as God the Father has shown his people the way, Jesus came to make it more clear by giving us the example to follow the narrow path that takes us to heaven, that is self denial, accepting all sufferings and dificulties in life by uniting all these to the passion of Jesus, and offering them for our conversion and salvation, as well as for others, and doing all these because we do love God, and because we do love our neighbor. The Chruch was founded in the blood of Martyrs, Jesus being the first one to give himself for our salvation, and thus show us the way to His Heavenly Father.

As a converted atheist into catholicism, and as a person who had only studied science and thought human reason and logic was the only important thing; I have to say that I have come to know much more by denying myself to follow Jesus’ ways, and being obedient to our Roman Catholic and Traditional Chruch, and by reading the gospel, than by following my own ways, philosophies, and human precepts. Our own ways of thinking and behaving will certainly ruin us.

Yoga is not a “discipline”, “art”, or anything like that at all. It is not something you can Christianized with prayer, meditation, or reflection in God, or anything like that at all; regardless of all the proclaimed benefits said by wolves dress in sheep clothing, or devils dressed as angels of light. Yoga is a pagan way of praying to demons by using your own body, each principality of demons has its own demands for worshipping, some are aggressive and violent, others are mild and peaceful; but in any way a person who falls into worshipping these demons ends up in the Mystical Body of the Devil, and goes out of the Mystical Body of Christ. The deception is to think that because we do no harm to anyone, or because we go to confession, and receive communion, and participate or contribute in any way in the church , we are fine. There are no half truths, or pious lies, so do not sugar coat with prayers or anything that comes purely from our Chruch with paganism. The church of Christ is the Church of Christ and you can not prostitute it with idols by bringing pagan ways of worshiping into it, so it says the Father, Jesus and the Apostles, in all the Bible. So I would advise you to read the Bible, pray and meditate in it.

If you put a single drop of black ink into clear glass of water, it will get clouded, and the more drops of black ink you put the darker it gets losing its clearness. Nowadays, people are rushing to obtain a false security in temporal benefits that can be obtained from something abstract, intangible or invisible (such as the intellect), to something material (such as savings, and painkillers). We are so much into an antichrist system of consumism that we keep adding black drops into that glass of clear water rushing to get one thing after another. Jesus way is a way of sacrifice in which we deny ourselves, carry our cross in silence and humility (all sufferings and dificulties in life), and obtain eternal benefits for us and others that we may not know. The devil is a robber, but comes to us as a salesman, and sells all things that interests us, all temporal benefits at the price of eternal damnation. Accept Jesus teachings in humility because the Holy Spirit resists those who do not want to suffer, and those who are prideful; as long as you are here on earth there is no way to avoid suffering or death; but the pride of people have let them to freeze their bodies so they can be “brought to life in the future”. Are we God - 666?

I’m including these links hoping this will help. Yoga and many other things including UFO’s are sprouts of the New Age, and like a spider web, it has trapped many of the elected. May God Bless you.

For a testimony of a converted Indu who became a priest read
freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1837193/posts

At the end of this link there are links to some documents regarding the
Catholic Chruch, but if you want to search more go directly to the Holy See
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga
www.vatican.va

Just for the record, I could put a lot of bible verses from the old and new testament where God prohibits paganism in any way. On the other hand, regarding my conversion, I have to thank the Blessed Virgin Mary who has shown me, an atheist, the tresure in her heart which is the Holy Trinity, and who has tought me how to love God and others. I thank Jesus and God the Father for the gift of faith, and all the miracles or blessings they’ve done in my life, and for healing me so many times from a tumor, ulcer, and other diseases, as well as from death.

What men and medicne cant’t do God can, and even though I did not want God to heal me I accepted all pains and sufferings in gratitude for all the offenses I commited against him, and all the pain and sufferings I caused to the heart of Jesus, the immaculate heart of Mary, and for all sinners who like me where far from his heart, and all the Church that is suffering terrible from all the attacks of the devil, and lack of faith and love towards God .

It was through all my human hardships that God manifested his Glory, and healed me without me asking for it, or without anyone “praying for me at all” (that is without anyone coming to me while I was sick and dying. When I suffer I can tell God how much I really love him, and how grateful I am for being his creature; I unite my suffering whether physical, mental or emotional to the Passion of Jesus and offer them to Him in silence though the hands of our Beloved Blessed Mother who brought me to the Holy trinity in the first place, and I offer that for the sake of others, their conversion and salvation; for the souls in purgatory, and for our church which is plagued with many who have gone astray from the truth, and departed from Jesus, but are bringing many more into the pit of Hell; in all forms of justified or sugar coated practices, philosophies, ideas, and paganism. But above all I offer them for the intentions of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. how grateful I am to have such a Mother as my Mother. May God Bless you all.

http://images.encyclopediadramatica.com/images/thumb/4/4e/Pain5.jpg/800px-Pain5.jpg

By Yoga do you mean the spiritual version or the one that Michelle Arnold mentions above that can be separated from any forms of prayer and simply be a form of exercise? :shrug:

I do pilates and I have found it to be very good for my back pain. Pilates is a great workout and it is not a religious practice in any way. It was started by a guy that liked exercise. They are big on concentrating on the placement of your body. It isn’t concentrating in the “meditation” sense. It’s concentrating on your body in the sense of becoming very aware of how your body is placed-much like ballet which is very concerned about “proper placement”. The goal is to strengthen your muscles by improving your control and your awareness of how you are using them.

When they say things like “centering” in pilates, they are generally talking about your “core” muscles aka your abs or the center of your body. It’s not “centering” in the new age sense. If they try to make it sound new-agey in pilates…then they are just making up random stuff.

By yoga, I only meant as an exercise form as I do not participate in meditation, mudras or anything other than the physical exercise. I have also tried pilates but have found it much harder but I do have some pilates dvds and will use them also.
Thank you for your answers.

Really? Really? Look, hon, I know it may be easy to troll CAF, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay.

Explain what is unchristian or pagan about meditation.

med·i·tate

verb /ˈmedəˌtāt/
meditated, past participle; meditated, past tense; meditates, 3rd person singular present; meditating, present participle

  1. Think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation
  1. Think deeply or carefully about (something)
    * - he went off to meditate on the new idea
  1. Plan mentally; consider
    * - they had suffered severely, and they began to meditate retreat

Explain. Why do you feel this is this incompatible with Christianity?

Although to answer the actual question in the thread… NO. Yoga is just fine.
Your soul isn’t in jeopardy because of yoga.

Contact Drew Mariani on his Facebook page. He had someone speak of this very topic recently.

I don’t know, I’ve been doing Yoga exercises (along with Pilates) for the last 10+ years and I’ve never delved into anything other than the physical exercise portion of it.

Works wonders for muscles and back pain!

My wife has been doing the same for many years for similar reasons and also because she finds it helps with severe period pains and cramps. In the past I have been told to watch out for ‘demonic oppression’ here due to this. This was despite making it plain that my wife was only interested in the physical relief it provides and had no interest in embracing any pagan forms of worship.

Could you also go ahead and put JUST ONE bible verse up showing where God prohibits stretching?

A physical therapist once gave me a yoga stretch to do. It consisted of laying flat on my stomach and pushing myself up without making my body rigid like you would do if you were doing a push up. My girlfriend has a yoga dvd that she uses once in a while to stretch. There’s never any mention of anything that even comes close to ANY religion. It’s just a bunch of stretching which is something that as part of a regular exercise routine we should all do.

I’m sorry but anyone who buys into the idea that the purely physical part of yoga is anti-Catholic is stupid. Frankly, if it weren’t for the forums rules I’d give a much more elaborate description to such stupidity.

If you will please reread my original question, I was simply asking for opinions on yoga in reference to compatibility with Catholicism. I do yoga daily. I viewed a Women of Grace program on which they were saying that Yoga was incompatible with Catholicism, even if you just do the poses. I did not state that meditation was pagan or unchristian. I just don’t do yoga type meditation. Not my thing. I simply like the way yoga exercise makes me feel. Prior to watching that program I had not heard anyone state that doing yoga poses was a sin and I wanted other opinions on that subject. Don’t really want to argue or debate. I have a husband and teenagers for that. :wink: Thank you everyone for your helpful answers.

Hi Keran,

I saw that episode, too, and thought it was really interesting. It completely changed my view of the subject.

I was actually told by a couple of priests and Catholic apologists that as long as I was doing it for the physical exercise component only, yoga would be okay for a Catholic to practice.

The guest on Women of Grace, Susan Brinkmann, said something that really struck me. She explained that it is an impossibility to separate the physical exercise from the spiritual worship of Hindu gods, since every pose is, in fact, an act of worship to a Hindu god.

When she stated that there was a time when Catholics would rather be martyred than even appear to be worshipping another god, it clicked with me–and I’m sticking with Pilates!

Finally, I also liked the comment that Johnette Benkovic made during the show, in answer to those of us who wanted to do yoga for the physical aspect only, separating ourselves entirely from any spiritual component. She stated that, regardless of our intentions, there is a very real spiritual aspect to these exercises, and that fact doesn’t change just because we chose to ignore it.

Her example was something along the lines of this: I’m going to drink this arsenic-tainted water, and I’ll be fine, because I simply chose to believe that it doesn’t contain arsenic. Her point was that the objective reality is that there is an expressly non-Christian spirit world that we tap into when we perform the yoga exercises.

Here is a link to Susan Brinkmann’s concise and well-researched article on the subject:

catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8763

I like Johnette well enough but I must disagree with her logic. Worship is an act of the will. If a Shinto believing Japanese baseball third base coach touches his head, chest, and shoulders in succession to tell the runner on second to steal third, he isn’t making the sign of the cross. Or if a man kneels down to pick a penny, he isn’t genuflecting even if it is in a church. This is all the same concept. The human body only moves so many ways, so by this logic, it is possible to accidently worship a demon by trying to stretch individual muscles.

The spirituality cannot be adapted, this is true. However, stretching in a specific pattern with your only intention being physical exertion is hardly spirituality.

Your post actually reminds me of a few humorous pictures that tried to draw similarities between yoga poses and drunk men. :rotfl:

I guess the drunks worship Shiva then eh? :wink:

P.S.

Apparently, the Japanese sometimes use hand seals in Shinto yet when I use them, I don’t intend to worship gods.

I’m just pretending to be a ninja, fufufufu. :stuck_out_tongue:

The Women of Grace show discussed the fact that, regardless of whether someone intends to “just do the exercise” and divorce themselves from the philosophy of yoga, the fact is that yoga has a spiritual reality regardless of the belief of the person practicing the poses (poses intended to worship Hindu gods).

Just because an atheist receives the Eucharist not believing that it is the body and blood of Jesus Christ, doesn’t mean that the Eucharist is not, in fact, the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and there are objective spiritual realities, graces, and power attached to that sacrament.

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