Can we practice yoga, Catholics ask church

Not everyone has embraced yoga unquestioningly and some have likened yoga to esoteric practices done by cult-like groups.


A debate on Catholics practicing yoga has once again hit the archdiocese of Mumbai after after a church in Andheri started yoga classes in its premises.

Some Catholics, who feel that yoga goes against the teachings of the Church, have sough the direction of Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai on the issue through social media messages.

“We are taught to pray outward to god, whereas yoga asks its practitioners to look inward,” said a church member, Hindustan Times reported.

One person wrote last week to the cardinal, asking for his advice on the subject. “The debate (about yoga) has been going on for long,” said a member of the Andheri church. “Can we do it as asanas, or as a form of exercise? We want to know.”

The Andheri group, which has been discussing the issue on social forums, said they were confused when a newsletter published by the church featured an article on how yoga helps the mind. “We wanted some clarifications,” said a church member. Is yoga fine as an exercise and are we not supposed to go beyond that?”

There are no answers to the questions - at least from the local church.

Father Charles, the head priest at the Andheri church, said, “I have no views on yoga, but in our parish we are offering (yoga) courses to senior citizens. There has been no objections to the courses and I have not received any complaints.”

The debate on yoga is not new. A few years ago, an article by Bishop Thomas Dabre of Pune on the benefits of yoga, published in the local Catholic Church’s weekly newspaper, become an issue of contention.

Critics of the article said that it misrepresented the church’s position on yoga, but the bishop replied that yoga provides physical and mental benefits, and has therapeutic value.

Source: Hindustan Times

Top Stories