Catholic faith and yoga? They're incompatible
EDITOR'S NOTE: At Parishworld.net we do our best to pr0vide our readers with articles and materials that we feel are relevant to our everyday practice of our Catholic faith. This article below was originally published in ParishWorld.net May 24, 2007. As you can imagine, it generated some comments and questions from our readers who are practitioners of Yoga.
We invite you to read this article throughly - including the comments from our readers and from our Theology editors. Please share your thoughts with us. It is our hope that through this blog post we can enlighten you on the merits and pitfalls of the practice from a truly Catholic perspective. We also pray this article gives you a clearer guideline on what the Catholic Church teaches about the matter.
Blessings to you all. Enjoy the article below.
~ Wally Arida, Publisher and Editor in chief
Experts on cults and Catholic spirituality agree that yoga cannot be divided from its own spirituality.
FORT MYERS, FL., May 24, 2007 (http://www.speroforum.com/) - As a Catholic contributor, I never write for human respect. If that were my purpose, I would have already curtailed writing. Because my intent is to speak the truth, I never expect a pat on the back. But I maintain it pleases me to learn that my work does not always fall on deaf ears. Like most Christian writers I have encountered admirers and detractors. The positive feedback has been rewarding, but one specific incident is prominent amid the others.
One morning while checking my message machine, I heard a female voice announce, “I’m searching for the woman who writes for Catholic websites.” From her amiable tone, I sensed she was not a detractor and I returned her call.
When I phoned her, she introduced herself and will be referred to herein as “Mary.” She indicated she had read some of my articles and wanted to ask a question about the “New Age” dilemmas prevalent in her hometown. Though Mary and I had just met, it was soon apparent our passions were considerably alike!
Next, Mary shared a very inspirational story with me. She had discovered that a nearby Catholic parish in Fort Myers, Florida, was offering Yoga classes in the Chapel that surrounded the main altar. Mary and a few friends including a relations manager from Relevant Radio, arrived at Pope John XXIII parish on the morning of February 5, 2007.
After arriving, Mary proceeded into the church and lightly sprinkled holy water and blessed salt in the church before the Yoga classes commenced. Then she entered the parking lot to distribute leaflets about Yoga, to approximately 25 women as they arrived for the classes. Mary reasoned the women probably did not understand the dangers inherent in Yoga and she wanted to offer guidance. While distributing the literature Mary was confronted by the Yoga teacher (the Deacon’s wife). The Yoga teacher told Mary, “I wish that you would leave Church property.” Mary in turn professed the same wish to the instructor.
A few minutes after the guru re-entered the church, Mary recited the Blessed St. Michael’s prayer and re-entered the church as well. She slowly opened the door to the Chapel and was horrified by what she witnessed. The Chapel was dark with the exception of a few dimly lit recessed lights. Mary thought, “I’ve never seen an aerobics class like this before near a consecrated altar.”
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