What do Catholics think about Yoga practice?


#1

I’m not Catholic myself, but I’m curious as to what Catholics think about the practice of yoga.


#2

I voted other…I’ve been interested in Yoga but have never been able to get over a sense that the practice is fundamentally tied to its religious and philosophical underpinnings.

Do you think the two can truly be separated? Also, if the two can be, does Yoga lose some of its value, what it was meant to be?


#3

I’ve never practiced it, but from a Catholic perspective there are no problems with it as a physical exercise. Leaving it at that, or making the spiritual components strictly Catholic in nature (creating a peace of mind conducive to deep prayer) would seem to me to be not only fully licit, but potentially a great tool. Of course it would have to be expunged of its pagan trappings and understanding.


#4

I don’t do yoga but I probably should. There’s probably no better exersises on the planet to improve one’s flexibilty. In America Yoga has become pretty much secularized, being offered at senior centers, community centers, YMCA’s etc. I think it’s pretty easy to do the exersises and avoid delving into Hindu philosophy, there are plenty of classes available devoid of that.

As far as Hinduism, all my encounters with East Indians have been delightful, I don’t find them to be any more sinful than Christians. Hinduism is a peaceful religion for the most part and no more threatening to me than any other non-Chrisitan religion. It doesn’t seem aggressive at all and pretty much keeps to itself, unlike Islam, which does make me nervous because of it’s violent history.


#5

I practice Yoga regularly(I’m Catholic)

I practice it mostly for the spiritual part, rather than the physical.
I also practice meditation, and learning about chakras, ect.


#6

[quote=TechnoHoney]I practice Yoga regularly(I’m Catholic)

I practice it mostly for the spiritual part, rather than the physical.
I also practice meditation, and learning about chakras, ect.
[/quote]

How do you reconcile the spiritual part with your Catholicism?


#7

Yoga is for wimps. Yoga itself is harmless, but what it can lead to opens the door to the spirit world, good and bad. Beware.

Was this thread put on Non-Catholic Religions because the originator thinks Yoga is a religion?


#8

[quote=Exporter]Yoga is for wimps. Yoga itself is harmless, but what it can lead to opens the door to the spirit world, good and bad. Beware.
[/quote]

For whimps? Nice ad hominem. Ad hominems are for whimps.


#9

I’m not Catholic (I’m Episcopalian), but I and my wife practice yoga, and I don’t think it is contrary to orthodox Christianity. Unless, of course, one worships Hindu gods. The philosophical/spiritual part of yoga in itself does not seem incompatible with Christianity, as far as I can tell. The only difference is that the deity with whom we desire union is the Blessed Trinity.

In Christ,

Edwin


#10

[quote=FelixBlue]For whimps? Nice ad hominem. Ad hominems are for whimps.
[/quote]

O.K. Felix Blue, Yoga is for individuals who want to exercise but don’t want to really exercise - they don’t want to sweat or get tired. HOWSZATT?

Did your comment make you feel good?


#11

[quote=FelixBlue]I voted other…I’ve been interested in Yoga but have never been able to get over a sense that the practice is fundamentally tied to its religious and philosophical underpinnings.

Do you think the two can truly be separated? Also, if the two can be, does Yoga lose some of its value, what it was meant to be?
[/quote]

Maybe I should define what I mean by Yoga. By Yoga I mean the eight-part system of Yoga:

(1) Yama: positive social behavior, like non-violence, truth-telling, not stealing, etc.
(2) Niyama: personal disciplines, like purity, contentment, and devotion to God.
(3) Asana: physical postures/exercises
(4) Pranayama: control of the breath
(5) Pratyahara: withdrawal of senses from distraction
(6) Dharana: concentration
(7) Dhyana: uninterrupted concentration, or meditation
(8) Samadhi: state of non-separation from God

Clearly, steps 1, 2, and 3 could be practiced by anyone, from atheist to fundamentalist. Steps 5, 6, and 7 can occur whenever you’re totally engrossed in something you’re doing – whether what you’re doing are the asanas (physical exercises), or Hail Marys. The only problem I see would be with step 8, but even then, I see some hope: non-separation from God could be interpreted not in a Hindu manner, but in the manner of “theosis”, as found especially among Eastern Orthodox.


#12

[quote=Exporter]O.K. Felix Blue, Yoga is for individuals who want to exercise but don’t want to really exercise - they don’t want to sweat or get tired. HOWSZATT?

Did your comment make you feel good?
[/quote]

I apologize…now I see the humor you intended.

Feel good? No. I only responded that way because it is tiring to see folks using ad hominems rather than making good arguments.

Apologies again…


#13

[quote=Exporter]Yoga is for wimps. Yoga itself is harmless, but what it can lead to opens the door to the spirit world, good and bad. Beware.

Was this thread put on Non-Catholic Religions because the originator thinks Yoga is a religion?
[/quote]

If by “religion” you mean a system of beliefs required for salvation, then no, Yoga is not a religion.


#14

Why Yoga? Pick up Tai Chi you can use that use that when attacked by a violent perpretrator. Oh well that’s the way I think anyway you can’t exactly use Yoga outside the gym Tai Chi you can use for self defense. They have many of the same health benefits


#15

Yoga is supposed to be good for arthritis. I suppose, however, that if you have arthritis, yoga would be rather difficult…at least the lotus position.


#16

[quote=Ahimsa]Maybe I should define what I mean by Yoga. By Yoga I mean the eight-part system of Yoga:

(1) Yama: positive social behavior, like non-violence, truth-telling, not stealing, etc.
(2) Niyama: personal disciplines, like purity, contentment, and devotion to God.
(3) Asana: physical postures/exercises
(4) Pranayama: control of the breath
(5) Pratyahara: withdrawal of senses from distraction
(6) Dharana: concentration
(7) Dhyana: uninterrupted concentration, or meditation
(8) Samadhi: state of non-separation from God

Clearly, steps 1, 2, and 3 could be practiced by anyone, from atheist to fundamentalist. Steps 5, 6, and 7 can occur whenever you’re totally engrossed in something you’re doing – whether what you’re doing are the asanas (physical exercises), or Hail Marys. The only problem I see would be with step 8, but even then, I see some hope: non-separation from God could be interpreted not in a Hindu manner, but in the manner of “theosis”, as found especially among Eastern Orthodox.
[/quote]

Ahimsa,

I know this may be splitting hairs but isn’t true Yoga only the system, including # 8, as you have described above. If you chop off 8 is it really yoga?

Maybe it’s better just to call the other (without 8) stretching exercises.

That said, I suppose one can practice yoga without the background of development in the Upanisads, like one might run a race or throw a javelin without or perform a drama without devotion to Zeus or Dionysius.


#17

[quote=FelixBlue]Ahimsa,

I know this may be splitting hairs but isn’t true Yoga only the system, including # 8, as you have described above. If you chop off 8 is it really yoga?

Maybe it’s better just to call the other (without 8) stretching exercises.

That said, I suppose one can practice yoga without the background of development in the Upanisads, like one might run a race or throw a javelin without or perform a drama without devotion to Zeus or Dionysius.
[/quote]

FelixBlue,

Yeah, the goal of Yoga is step 8, non-separation, or union, with God. Without that goal, you’re just a moral, ethical, healthy, flexible, efficient, and loving person. (Not that that’s anything to sneeze at. :D)


#18

No sneezing here.


#19

I do not do Yoga becuase that would demand some sort of effort. :wink:

But if used for strictly healthy exercise I see no issue with it.


#20

Yoga is Hinduism; Hinduism is Yoga. Hindus worship daemons; ergo, don’t do it unless you desire to lose your eternal soul.


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