I just heard a priest on Catholic radio, “Putting on the Mind of Christ” program, say that Yoga is something Catholics shouldn’t take part in. He said it has origins and ends that clearly aren’t of Christ. Has anyone ever heard that? I don’t engage in Yoga and now I’ll tell others not to. Any thoughts?


Do a search for yoga on the forum; this has come up before.

What priest was it? I’m a bit on the fence about it. There are some who say the different poses in yoga are prayers or worship of pagan gods. But I think there has to really be some intent for there to be any effect. Perhaps there are certain souls who should avoid this like the plague, either because they are particularly sensitive or because they were practitioners of paganism and are avoiding any and all things that not explicitly Christian.

Then again, I’m not into Yoga and there are alternatives like Pilates.


Yoga postures are full-body mudra, or gesture–sort of a gestural version of mantra, or prayer. Along with mandala or icon, they make up the three components of Hindu religious practice.

Fundamentally the point of all of them is to deny the distinction between God and Creation; all North Indian sects (Hindu and Buddhist) are advaita, meaning “Nondualist,” but actually what our philosophy would call Monist: nothing exists but existence itself, or God.

I’d say Yoga could be dangerous, but not necessarily. I do however think there are perfectly safe alternatives and it’s best not to take chances.


I agree with the above quoted.

I must admit that I’m a yoga addict! I do all the positions for exercise and to stretch out, but I’ve never gotten into the whole meditation end of it. I simply do it for the physical benefits (that and pilates). Bash me all you want but it won’t make me stop doing it. :wink:


So, one priest critisised yoga, I’ll bet you could find a priest with the opposite point of view. Big deal. It’s just exersises. The word Easter means “The Teutonic Goddess of Spring” did you know that?


Did you read my post? It’s not just exercises.


Yoga – Health or Stealth?

Hatha Yoga, a popular form in the U.S., aims for the conscious control of the physical and etheric (subtle energy) bodies. This emphasis on energy , another characteristic of yoga, changes the perception of the world as the arena of divine grace into the perception of the world as a domain defined by science, technique and control. Yogic control of body and mind is particularly popular now as we in the west develop a renewed fascination with the human potential movement initiated by Hegel, latched onto by Hitler and now hailed as the precursor of a soon-to-occur evolution in consciousness known as the New Age. The use (or misuse) of Hatha and other yogas at the blatant service of immature personalities brings with it a host of problems. An example is at my own workplace where Power Yoga is offered at lunchtime for a quick pick-me-up. The yoga instructor recently had the class perform an exercise designed to stimulate the pituitary gland – and one of my co-workers did not sleep the entire following night. **The dangers of any kind of yoga can include abuse of power, unconscious motivations of teachers and students, as well as the ignorance **of the physiological and psychological effects of yoga. It is important to note that historically, in the east, advanced yoga practice was only permitted within narrowly defined parameters. Students practiced under the strict guidance of a yogi in controlled, slowly advancing stages in stress-free settings. Higher levels involving breath work and energy work were always reserved for those initiates successfully completing years of the purification which decreased the likelihood of problems. FULL Article



No, they aren’t. And Yoga philosophy is specifically dualist, though admittedly Yoga can easily be fused with Vedanta philosophy (many, perhaps most forms of which are advaita, though there are significant dualist traditions as well).

The purpose of yoga is to discipline the body so that it becomes a help rather than a hindrance in the quest for union with God. This is perfectly in keeping with the Eastern Orthodox tradition of hesychastic mysticism, which as far as I know is orthodox from a Catholic perspective (although in the past many Western theologians attacked it). And yes, I know that most of the Orthodox will revile yoga. That doesn’t affect the point that the principle of bodily discipline as a means to spiritual union with God is both orthodox and Orthodox. The Orthodox think that yoga is tainted by its association with heathenism, which is a separate issue from the one you raised.



You are going to find lots of arguments on both sides of this question. Based on my personal experience of taking a yoga class, I won’t do it again. I found it very creepy, but I know plenty of other Christians who have no problem with it.

Since there are tons of other stretching/strengthening methods out there, I prefer to use those. I love pilates for example.


Heresy is heresy, One man’s heathenism is another man’s paganism - better to be safe then lost.

Up to this day, the Latin Rite Catholic Church has never fully accepted Hesychasm especially the distinction between the energies or operations of God and the essence of God, and the notion that those energies or operations of God are uncreated. In Latin Rite theology as it has developed since the Scholastic period, the essence of God can be known, but only in the next life; the grace of God is always created; and the essence of God is pure act, so that there can be no distinction between the energies or operations and the essence of God (see, e.g., the Summa Theologiae of St Thomas Aquinas). Some of these positions depend on Aristotelian metaphysics.

Is this because it is where it orginated? That is within/from Vedanta philosophy?:shrug:

Yoga (Devanagari: योग) is a group of ancient spiritual practices originating in India. As a general term in Hinduism[1] it has been defined as referring to “technologies or disciplines of asceticism and meditation which are thought to lead to spiritual experience and profound understanding or insight into the nature of existence.”[2] Outside India, Yoga is mostly associated with the practice of asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga or as a form of exercise, although it has influenced the entire dharmic religions family and other spiritual practices throughout the world.[3]
Hindu texts discussing different aspects of yoga include the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita, and many others.



You quote an article (wikipedia?) saying that traditional Latin Rite theology has not accepted hesychasm. Very true. But as I’m sure your fellow Catholics will be quick to remind you, Latin Rite theology is not identical with the Catholic Church. It is just one strand–although historically the dominant one.

No. It’s true that aspects of yoga are spoken of in texts such as the Upanishads, on which Vedanta builds. But yoga as a school of philosophy is one of the six “darshanas,” of which Vedanta is another one. Yoga is by definition one of the “dualistic” schools.

If you look down further in the same wikipedia article you cited (under “Yoga sutras of Patanjali”) you will see that the article supports me. Patanjali is listed as the founder of the formal school of yoga. And lest you say that this has nothing to do with yoga as practiced today, the form that I studied (Iyengar) is explicitly based on Patanjali, and in fact the only practice In encountered in those classes from which I had to abstain as a Christian was the occasional chanting of an invocation to Patanjali (I would remain silent during this chant and sometimes pray the Jesus Prayer silently–however, this I only heard this chant perhaps three or four times that I can remember in the three years during which I studied yoga).



The OP is Roman(Latin Rite) Catholic

But what is/were the goal and main purpose of Yoga?

Goal of Yoga
Within the monist schools of Advaita Vedanta and Shaivism this perfection takes the form of Moksha, which is a liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara) at which point there is a cessation of thought and an experience of blissful union with the Supreme Brahman. For the dualistic bhakti schools of Vaishnavism, bhakti itself is the ultimate goal of the yoga process[62], wherein perfection culminates in an eternal relationship with Vishnu or one of his associated avatars such as Krishna or Rama.[63]

Like I said it is better to be safe then to be lost. Besides, even if one can seperate the the exercise from the spirituality of Yoga (which I personal doubt) it is best not to promote yoga in order not to tempt those young or weak in the faith. Just as Paul said it would be better not to eat the flesh offered to pagan gods in order not to tempt nor scandilize your weaker brethren. For our goal is not only to get ourselves into heaven, but help everyone around us along the path, no?

1Cor 8:7 But there is not knowledge in every one. For some until this present, with conscience of the idol, eat as a thing sacrificed to an idol: and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
1Cor 8:8 But meat doth not commend us to God. For neither, if we eat, shall we have the more: nor, if we eat not, shall we have the less.
1Cor 8:9 But take heed lest perhaps this your liberty become a stumblingblock to the weak.
1Cor 8:10 For if a man see him that hath knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not his conscience, being weak, be emboldened to eat those things which are sacrificed to idols?
1Cor 8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ hath died?
1Cor 8:12 Now when you sin thus against the brethren and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.


There are yoga classes popping up that are Christianized. Just google for Christian Yoga and you’ll find them.



I’m with you. I like yoga. And there isn’t anything religious about it for me. For instance, I was in a car accident and had to go to physical therapy. One of the exercises was to roll my neck and then hold it to the side. Guess what? I saw that same exercise in a yoga class. Was my PT teaching me yoga? No - it was just coincidence b/c there is only so much you can do to stretch you neck :slight_smile:


Did you know that Hindus believe that stretching your neck opens your throat chakras, leading to realization of Brahman, which is a pagan deity? You should never stretch your neck.:eek:




Of course you find anything that you “want” - just google for it, but that doesn’t mean it is really Christ centered or should be practiced by Catholics and other Christians. Just google Christian Sex and see what you find.:shrug:
2Cor 11:3 But I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted and fall from the simplicity that is in Christ.
2Co 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Christ, whom we have not preached; or if you receive another Spirit, whom you have not received; or another gospel, which you have not received: you might well bear with him.


You’ve got my point exaclty :slight_smile: Hope I don’t go by a cemetary and yawn! A ghost my go down my throat!!!

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