Is Yoga Sinful?

Comments

  • Lara PatanganSeptember 2, 2014

    Dan, I appreciate your point of view - mostly the fact that you were willing to be balanced about the subject. I wrote about the topic on my blog http://mercyme40.wordpress.com/2014/02/ but wrote from the point of view that it is the intention we assign things that makes them sinful or holy. I practice yoga and consistently pray in my class while holding poses and during the meditation at the end. I pray to Jesus Christ. Praying to anyone else never occurs to me because He is my only God. (He being the trinity!) Anyway, it bothers me as someone who takes my faith seriously the condemnation that others put on yoga. It feels like a stretch to assume that just because it is a religion for some mean that it is for all of us. It is my preferred form of exercising -- and a time when God and I hang out.

  • Deepak PJuly 4, 2013

    Yoga is grossly misunderstood by the western people and the so called Yoga salespeople. Yoga as a term has been referred to define way to self realization and we may find it used to express various ways such as "Samkhyayoga", "Bhaktiyoga", "Karmayoga", etc. The one people use generally is used in context with what is called "Rajayoga". Rajayoga has eight main parts: Yama: mainly refers to the ethical and moral behavior. Niyama: self discipline in day to day living. Aasana: this is the one people go to attend and pay to learn. This is mainly related to the individual health. Pranayama: controlling the breath and reaching equilibrium. Pratyahar: separation of the senses from their objects. Dhyan, Dharana and Samadhi: These three are core to the self realization. First five do not have anything to do with spirituality and those are to prepare you for the next three. No doubt that the roots of RajaYoga are in Hinduism, however, Saint Thomas also was influenced by it and that is apparent from his gospel which for some reasons did not make it through the compilation. If you think it may help you in any manner, you should have freedom to experiment. There are no Hindu missionaries spreading it. There are folks who charge you to teach the Aasanas!

  • Deepak PJuly 4, 2013

    Yoga is grossly misunderstood by the western people and the so called Yoga salespeople. Yoga as a term has been referred to define way to self realization and we may find it used to express various ways such as "Samkhyayoga", "Bhaktiyoga", "Karmayoga", etc. The one people use generally is used in context with what is called "Rajayoga". Rajayoga has eight main parts: Yama: mainly refers to the ethical and moral behavior. Niyama: self discipline in day to day living. Aasana: this is the one people go to attend and pay to learn. This is mainly related to the individual health. Pranayama: controlling the breath and reaching equilibrium. Pratyahar: separation of the senses from their objects. Dhyan, Dharana and Samadhi: These three are core to the self realization. First five do not have anything to do with spirituality and those are to prepare you for the next three. No doubt that the roots of RajaYoga are in Hinduism, however, Saint Thomas also was influenced by it and that is apparent from his gospel which for some reasons did not make it through the compilation. If you think it may help you in any manner, you should have freedom to experiment. There are no Hindu missionaries spreading it. There are folks who charge you to teach the Aasanas!

  • Deepak PJuly 4, 2013

    Yoga is grossly misunderstood by the western people and the so called Yoga salespeople. Yoga as a term has been referred to define way to self realization and we may find it used to express various ways such as "Samkhyayoga", "Bhaktiyoga", "Karmayoga", etc. The one people use generally is used in context with what is called "Rajayoga". Rajayoga has eight main parts: Yama: mainly refers to the ethical and moral behavior. Niyama: self discipline in day to day living. Aasana: this is the one people go to attend and pay to learn. This is mainly related to the individual health. Pranayama: controlling the breath and reaching equilibrium. Pratyahar: separation of the senses from their objects. Dhyan, Dharana and Samadhi: These three are core to the self realization. First five do not have anything to do with spirituality and those are to prepare you for the next three. No doubt that the roots of RajaYoga are in Hinduism, however, Saint Thomas also was influenced by it and that is apparent from his gospel which for some reasons did not make it through the compilation. If you think it may help you in any manner, you should have freedom to experiment. There are no Hindu missionaries spreading it. There are folks who charge you to teach the Aasanas!

  • Brenda RummelMay 25, 2012

    How does the church feel about the Christ Centered yoga workouts that are available on-line, one is called Holy Yoga, it talks about going to prayer, and meditating on Jesus while doing the yoga workout. Just wondering

  • Lora CronkAugust 19, 2011

    Hi Dan, Johnette Benkovic has been addressing yoga and new age beliefs on her program "Women of Grace" on EWTN. According to herself and her guests, even the various positions in yoga are an homage to different spirits and deities. Also, according to the program, certain mediation visualization exerceises run counter to Catholic teaching. Just thought I'd pass that on.

  • Amie N.August 18, 2011

    Certain yoga poses are intended as postures of worship to certain Hindu deities. That is why a priest or any other concerned Catholic might be wary of anyone even engaging in the poses. The Sun Salutation is the first example. My sister-in-law teaches yoga. She organizes her classes in a sequence of poses to worship the deities appropriate to the day, season and "needs" of her class members. She is not entirely truthful with most people in the class about her beliefs (she calls "the path of yoga" her religion) or her intentions for the classes. For those "in the know", she runs expensive "seminars" where they learn about the gods and the prayers and how to "open their chakras". Yoga is scary stuff and Catholics should be wary.

  • Paul HakelAugust 12, 2011

    As a 23-year-old Catholic philosopher who has looked in to both Eastern and Western religions, I would hope that more Catholics learn about the bodily and spiritual philosophy of yoga; I think that Western religion has the correct moral theology with Eastern religion having strong, and very superior, forms of bodily discipline and ethics. Combining the profound insights of Hindu yoga with the Biblical way of life, where all theology remains orthodox, would result in the greatest life quality. For instance, the developed sexual practice of Brahmacharya in Hinduism; it gives the "how" of celibacy whereas they Bible gives the "why", and affirms the medical value in being celibate and retaining semen (for men). While Westerners carelessly eat anything which could physically incite them to lust, such as garlic or spicy foods, the Eastern medical ethics promote physical development and abstention from lust-increasing foods, which is conducive to moral discipline! Explore and separate the wheat from the chaff!

  • Jo Ann Allen-SiegertJune 3, 2011

    I have practiced various forms of Yoga for the past 20 years or so. I have been in the Group Fitness industry for over 30 years, and have had an opportunity to work out in many and varied mind/body classes. As a very strong practicing Catholic, what I have found is that Meditation about God and my life and Peace that passes understanding can happen when I am meditation in our 24 hour adoration chapel or when I am lying on a mat at the beginning and end of a Yoga class. What any Christian needs to consider is that you can bring Christ into any setting, and that it is up to us to do that...not some Yogi trying to teach us some other form of religion. What happens is that I am allowed 10-20 minutes of total quiet - something that rarely happens in most people's lives - and I can then spend the entire time focusing on God. The rest of the class is incredibly helpful in keeping my 50 something joints and back more supple and allowing me to stay off so many pain pills. It is very complicated - but I guess I'd wonder What Would Jesus Do? and then make your own decision.

  • David CalvilloJune 3, 2011

    Dan, Thank you for exploring this topic for and with us. Many of us are getting on the "other" side of our earthly journey and need to change our exercise habits to deal with our not so youthful bodies. Yoga and Tai Chi and other such exercises are exercise routines that into which I've been considering transitioning. Over the last few years, I've incorporated my Rosary praying into my running (never could do so with my swimming) but the asphalt pounding and my knees have caused me to question the wisdom of running for someone on the north side of 50. The bottom line of your article is to stay faithful to our Catholic Christian faith throughout. We'd do well to follow St. Paul's advice and live in a state of "pray wihout ceasing." Thanks again for a well written, useful article. www.realmenpraytherosary.org. To Jesus Through Mary, david

  • Cindy StevensonJune 2, 2011

    Dan, I'm so glad you looked into this and clarified it. I had read recently that a priest had told a parishoner (somewhere in the US) that even holding certain yoga poses was sinful. I could not understand this at all. I do yoga about once a week, and I've never had any kind of attachment to it in a religious sense or seen it as a way to make an idol of my body, it's simply extremely effective stretching in my mind and heart. The video I use doesn't even suggest a mystic connection. I know there are some who use it as part of their mytholigical practices, but not me. I'm glad to know that just using the poses to stretch out my muscles and ligaments isn't sinful in and of itself. My prayer life is separate from my exercize regime, although I've been known to say a little prayer of thanks for my abilities while working out.

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