Is it okay for Catholics to use yoga as part of an exercise program?

By November 13, 2014 10 Comments

Full Question

Is it okay for Catholics to use yoga as part of an exercise program? What about in physical education for children?


Two factors are relevant here: First, it depends on whether the yoga is being presented in a manner that is free of religious elements, i.e., purely as a system of physical exercise. If it is coupled with elements of Hindu spirituality (e.g., talk about moving kundalini, or energy, around your body), it is not appropriate for Catholics to use it as part of their exercise routine.
Children are not mature in their thinking, and while an adult who is firm in his faith might be able to go to an “iffy” yoga exercise class without danger of being attracted to Hindu spirituality, a child well might not. If a child is being put in danger of being attracted to Hindu spirituality–either now or in the future–by the program, then it is not appropriate.


  • Angela says:

    I dont understand this answer….I do yoga and meditate…..energy is moving about and into and out of our bodies??

  • Night Owl says:

    Maybe they are interested in Hindu spirituality because it resonates with them. Maybe they should be able to explore different ideas and religions – after all what’s the worry if you know that Catholicism is the be-all, end-all? If a person isn’t allowed to explore who they are while they are alive, what’s the point of living? This is my beef with structured religion – it keeps people mental prisoners while they are alive – bound to rules and beliefs that they aren’t even given the opportunity to question – slaves, if you will. And if that weren’t cruel enough, now you are adding limitations to a person’s choices when it comes to physical activity.
    Funny how people with strong belief systems don’t need rules and regulations to remind them over and over how strong their faith is. They can know God and love God even without chains holding them down. Maybe you weren’t aware of this, but for some people, the only thing necessary for faith is a strong belief. No books telling them how to live. No church needed for worship.
    It’s about the actions, not the words. I’ll take a good person who can respect a person’s boundaries and treat them with love regardless of their beliefs, over a person who can only see people through the filter of their own narrow set of religious rules and regulations.

  • JanMarie says:

    I used to do yoga for many years but finally quit after a fair amount of research. Quitting was very difficult because I was very adept at yoga and loved the spirituality that went along with it. I even considered further training to become an instructor. What I realized in the end is that I had replaced the Ideology of Catholicism with the ideology of yoga. Even though we didn’t talk about ‘Hinduism’ much..per say. Even though I was going to Mass and saying rosaries daily…at the end of the day I claimed to be a Catholic but was fooling myself. This came about through prayer and a deeper study of Catholicism. That being said, I also have found that many gymnastics strength holds and even some ‘physical therapy’ exercises resemble certain elements of yoga. I still train on my own, but without the class aspect feeding my spirituality. Instructors do not realize how subtle the mindshift is..esp since Catholics have a completely different mindset of the function of ‘grace’..and the Triune God in our lives. Nowadays I leave my ‘spirituality’ to the Sacraments! It was better for me to eschew yoga practice than to set some fake ‘boundary’ and justify it all. Especially when there are so many Catholics less informed about their faith, looking at me saying..”Well, she is very devout and SHE does yoga” It is setting up scandal. and This is my story. God Bless +

  • MTNCATH says:

    odd. I went to several yoga classes and while the religious atmosphere was liberal (“give thanks to whatever higher being brought you here”), there was still a strong eastern slant to it. But it was fine – I just prayed the Hail Mary and Our Father through the entire class. Awesome prayer time! 🙂

  • Sonceto Zare says:

    Kundalini is allowed in catolicism. while hindu gods and religion elements not, but meditation is neutral.

  • therese says:

    My daughter and I practice yoga for its physical exercise…I emphasized this to my daughter and we both agreed and comfortable about this notion. We adore and love our Catholicism! Our Faith stands always… nothing to be confused about. It is a given fact. Thank GOD!

  • Arleen says:

    So glad this question came on my Facebook page. In the comment section, there are some awesome webpages to visit… Warfare library to be exact. Thank you I plan to take some time to look over the articles on this site. Also, night owl, you prove the point. Your “opinion” is not an opinion based on Jesus, the way, the truth (his truth), and the life. Your truth, night owl, is bogus, I will follow the truth of God, Jesus Christ, to the best of my abilities.

  • Kay Cee says:

    Any Yogi will tell you that you cannot separate out the ‘exercise’ from the ‘religion.’ Each posture and pose is an invocation to a ‘deity’. The name itself, Yoga, means to be ‘yoked’ – the whole poling being to be ‘yoked’ or bound to a “deity” or Hindu god. The practice of yoga is incongruent to the Christian faith, Catholicism in particular.

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