Skip to comments.Want to Start an Argument (among Catholics)? Just Say “Yoga”
Posted on 07/01/2014 4:20:15 PM PDT by NYer
Yelling fire in a crowded theater can get you into trouble. So can saying yoga in a group of Catholics.
I just do it for the stretches, I dont do anything religious.
Its evil the work of the devil.
Oh please! The next thing youll be telling me is the number 13 brings bad luck.
Practicing yoga breaks the First Commandment; its pagan worship.
And so it goes. And goes. And goes.
Three years ago, I did an article titled To Yoga or Not to Yoga.” Initially, I wrote it then put it aside for around a year. I was not sure I was up for putting my head into a hornets nest. When the time seemed right, I posted it. The hornets came. So did a number of radio interviews in which the listener lines lit up the whole time. Can you stay on for another half hour, I was asked by host Drew Mariani at Relevant Radio. This happens every time we talk about yoga.
There are a lot of issues that come with controversycontraception, supposed same-sex marriage, and abortion, being among them. The difference is that the Church has spoken definitely on those issues. People can agree or disagree with the Catholic Church but they cannot pretend the Church is in favor of any of those issues. With yoga, interpretations abound. Debates can get heated, with both sides convince that yoga for exercise is either harmless or evil.
In a definition from About.com, yoga is described as, . . . a disciplined path for purification of our attachments to the temporal world of form (bodies and objects) and the ever changing world of energy and mind, to experience the bliss and unity of consciousness as the unchanging, ever permanent, immortal and infinite Being. Wow. Cool. Wait, whats that about the immortal and infinite Being? Is that God? Or the devil? Or is it nothing if I just show up with a mat and stretch pants ready to limber up?
Yoga is considered a whole body experience originating in Hinduism as a means to reach enlightenment through exercises and meditations that unite the body, mind, and spirit. For Catholics, worshiping or becoming one with a yoga deity breaks the First Commandment. No one argues that point. The question is, can we claim to just be there in pursuit of physical fitness alone?
Hatha yoga, the one used in exercise classes, prepares the body for enlightenment through physical postures. Some people say they dont participate in the meditations or postures that could be religious. After all, if an atheist folds his hands, hes not praying. So if a yoga posture used for worship means nothing but a balance exercise to you, then is that all it is?
Putting your body into a particular posture does not automatically turn it into a form of worship. But what if that is the purpose of the pose as many of the yoga postures are? Can you remain neutral even if the instructor is not? Isnt the intent of the person what matters most?
The controversy with yoga goes beyond a persons intent. No one is accusing Catholics of going to yoga class specifically to worship a Hindu God. The problem is that yoga holds that all existence is one; there is no distinction between God and the universe. Through enlightenment a person becomes one with all of existence.
Having taken a yoga class myself many years ago, I know that the stretches, relaxation meditations and poses, all mesh together. It would be hard to discern the instructors meaning behind everything. For instance, a classic yoga mantra: Soham means, I am the universal Self, which is often used repetitively, timed with your breathing.
A friend who took a yoga class told me everyone was supposed to fold their hands and bow before they began. She said she did not do that but upon considering that yoga exercise is one part of a bigger pagan spiritual practice, she decided to quit. Why take a chance? she said. If parts of it are wrong, then Im not going to participate in any of it.
In part 1 of the 3 part series, What is Yoga? A Catholic Perspective, Fr. Ezra Sullivan O.P., a Dominican Friar of the Province of St. Joseph pointed out that one indication of yogas spiritual nature even in exercise classes is the way it affects practitioners over time. The International Journal of Yoga published the results of a national survey in Australia. Physical postures (asana) comprised about 60% of the yoga they practiced; 40% was relaxation (savasana), breathing techniques (pranayama), meditation, and instruction. The survey showed very significant results: although most respondents commonly began yoga for reasons of physical health, they usually continued it for reasons of spirituality.
In addition, the more people practiced yoga, the more likely they were to decrease their adherence to Christianity and the more likely they were to adhere to non-religious spirituality and Buddhism. In other words, whatever their intentions may have been, many people experience yoga as a gateway to a spirituality disconnected from Christ.
Regardless of the warnings or information, there are always Catholics who say they will not give up their yoga because it makes them feel good and they personally dont use it for religion. But there is a further consideration with yoga. By participating in yoga, or when a school or church sponsors classes, it gives the message of blanket approval. If yoga is okay with the Church or with Sally Stretchy, then its obviously okay, is the impression. So, if just part of it is wrong, is it still okay to practice some of it? What do you think?
(To read all three parts of the yoga article or for daily spiritual direction go to: http://spiritualdirection.com.)
Why is Yoga incompatible with Catholicism? - FATHER JOHN HARDON, S.J.
From Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican's Chief Exorcist: The devil does yoga
MB asks: While its true that most yoga positions are designed to be positions of worship to Hindu gods, I find it hard to believe that theres any danger in practicing them when its just being done as an exercise. - See more at: http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=17011#sthash.ggtxRmmq.89BjEVzj.dpuf
Yoga, as well as Transcendental Meditation, are incompatible with being a Christian.
That’s news to me. Now I know why I was always bored stiff trying to twist myself into a pretzel while exclaiming “om!”
How many public schools teach and encourage yoga?
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Sorry, couldn't help it. Carry on.
Can one replace “Om Namah Shivaya” with “Our Father Who Art in Heaven?”
I would say yoga is pretty bastardized in America. I mean, they teach you how to do it at Elaine Powell exercise centers. It’s not my cup of tea I’ll tell you that.
With respect to Deuteronomy 12:30-31, I would say leave that notion alone.
There are plenty of “new age” spiritual movements which borrow a little this and a little that from eastern religions that say “I am God”, “The universe is God”, etc. Even if their message is well-camouflaged as something innocent, there is usually a deeper core that leads in the wrong direction, saying there is no absolute God and whatever feels good is right.
Right. It is not a Catholic thing but a Christian thing.
Yoga, the most pressing matter in Catholicism.
You looking to add to the anxiety that people in this country are facing and dealing with?
When is it enough for people like you?
No! Please visit the linked web sites above for a detailed explanation.
Oops, I meant to say
According to an expert on the topic, the 'positions' one assumes in yoga are intended to draw in certain spirits. I would encourage you to visit the links posted agove.
“When is it enough for people like you?”
I’m guessing never.
I haven’t attempted yoga in about 40 years. The only spirits I drew were awful pains in the back.
People are joking, NYer. Everybody of a certain age tried to lose weight or relax using a bastardized version of yoga.