As I mentioned in my last post, embracing your femininity as a traditional Catholic woman is a way of honoring God and re-aligning yourself into God’s original plan for you as a woman.
One of the ways that we also honor God is by taking care of the physical bodies that He gave to us through healthy living, healthy eating and exercise.
As modern society becomes increasingly chaotic, frenetic and fast-paced, many of us are so caught up with life’s daily responsibilities that we just do not have the time to exercise.
Yoga seems to provide the answer to modern-day ills by providing fitness for the body, de-stressing of the soul and stilling of the mind.
It is no wonder then that yoga has gained widespread popularity within modern civilization.
In fact, it has become such a part of modern-day culture that a lot of people, Christians included, do not see it as anything else other than a way of exercise and meditation.
Unfortunately, they are wrong. Yoga and Catholicism are simply just not compatible with each other.
Where Does Yoga Come From?
Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj meaning to yoke or to unite….literally ‘union’ with diety
Originating from Hinduism, yoga’s goal is that of Hindu enlightenment, to reach kaivalya (ultimate freedom) and union with deity by releasing the soul from the chains of cause-and-effect (karma) which tie the person to continual reincarnation and it makes the use of a program of spiritual discipline, involving breathing techniques, meditation, mental focus, and yoga positions to achieve that end.
As Catholics, we know that uniting with a spirituality that is alternate to God is to be united with a demonic being. Becoming one with a yoga deity or any diety other than God is a direct violation of the First Commandment.
Can’t I Just Practice Yoga As An Exercise Without Believing The Spirituality
Every yoga pose (asana) and exercise functions like a giant funnel, with the purpose of opening up the person, emotionally and spiritually, and guiding him/her to this higher union.
The name behind every asana is also connected to a specific Hindu philosophy and deity.
Although you might think it is just an exercise, there is still that subtle link to Hindu spirituality, whether or not you acknowledge it.
In addition, the meditation and breathing (pranayama) pulls the yoga practitioner deeper and further into the spiritual side of yoga and Hinduism.
So even if you have zero intention of worshipping a false God or engaging in non-Christian and New Age spirituality, when you practice yoga, you can still be negatively affected by it.
As Catholics, we of all people should be aware of the soul-body connection.
Just as one cannot separate the Sign of the Cross from the Catholic faith or change its meaning, so too one cannot separate yoga from its original spiritual intent. Even Hindu teachers have attested that Yoga and its philosophy are inseparable.
I suppose one should not be surprised at the growing trend of Christians denying the New Age connection to yoga.
After all, 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says: For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables
But What About Christian Yoga?
A rose by any other name would still smell like a rose.
Christianizing yoga or renaming it does not take away the fact that it was born from Hindu origins.
Sadly, many Catholics today have been tainted by so much liberalism that they often do not know enough about their own Catholic traditions to be able to distinguish where Catholicism ends and New Age forms take over.
The attempts of Western practitioners to make yoga more appealing to the masses and in particular to Christians by Christianizing yoga is dangerous.
Come on! It Can’t Be That Bad. Like How Dangerous Can Yoga Be, Honestly?
Fr. Ezra Sullivan O.P., a Dominican Friar of the Province of St. Joseph pointed out that:
“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.”
Many Catholic exorcists have also attested that demons informed them that many souls have suffered demonic attacks and even possession through practicing yoga.
The devil’s greatest trick was to convince humans that he does not exist.
Are There Any Alternatives To Yoga?
Personally, I am a big fan of ballet and also Pilates.
Pilates was developed as a physical fitness system by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Pilates has very similar benefits to Yoga and it is widely used among professional dancers, athletes and sportspeople to improve body conditioning, flexibility, coordination, core strength, posture, stamina and much more. It really is the best alternative to Yoga.
Soul Core is another yoga alternative that is beginning to gain popularity among Catholic circles.
It is a stretching and exercise program that incorporates the use of the Rosary.
Not entirely convinced yet? The resources below should help bring more clarity.
ad Jesum per Mariam