Yoga and Catholics

Catholic lay monk Wayne Teasdale says this of Thomas Merton:

“Thomas Merton was perhaps the greatest popularizer of interspirituality. He opened the door for Christians to explore other traditions, notably Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism.”
[Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions – Wayne Teasdale]

I was asked if I would be interested in teaching a yoga class at the Catholic Church I belong to….yes I admit to being a cafeteria Catholic. I had this reply forwarded to me…..

"I have come to find out that there is a lot of controversy about yoga. Some people have been led to believe by EWTN, etc that yoga is unacceptable.  However, I was very happy to see an article in this past week's Catholic Review about "Yoga as Prayer"!!  So we are going to approach it cautiously…… I will contact her and we can make sure her philosophy is not going to offend the very cautious. "

After reading this all I could think about was the writings of Thomas Merton and Wayne Teasdale. I have been wondering how they would reply to this article…….

Former Vatican exorcist: Yoga and Harry Potter are Satanic

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Vatican’s former chief exorcist says yoga and Harry Potter are tools of the devil.

 “Practicing yoga is Satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter,” Father Gabriele Amorth said this week. Those seemingly “innocuous” Potter books convince kids to believe in black magic, he said.

“In Harry Potter the Devil acts in a crafty and covert manner, under the guise of extraordinary powers, magic spells and curses,” said Amorth.

 As for yoga, it leads to Hinduism and “all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation,” the 86-year-old priest said.

I know I don't have any answers but I only pray that in my life time I will witness a universal compassion. We will not judge people beliefs but instead respect and honor each other. Maybe even learn to laugh more.

"Franz Kafka said it so very well: Become still and quiet inside and the world will roll at your feet. It has no choice.' The most wonderful fruit of practice for me is a growing delight with Being itself — a delight I seem to have known intensely as a kid, but which I've had to relearn as an adult. Yoga and meditation have helped me so much. Sleepers, Wake!" Stephen Cope

"From joy all beings have come, by joy they all live, and unto joy they all return." (Upanishads).

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One Response to Yoga and Catholics

  1. LindaE says:

    yoga & harry potter? what about zumba and George Jetson? not to be disrespectful. i encountered a similar mindset many years ago in a non-denominational church i went to, and admit that i freaked out the first time i had to say “OM.” It was like calling the devil out to play. after taking yoga for a while now, i just cannot see how bad something is that relaxes and focuses a person’s mind enough to connect with WHATEVER higher being they believe in. my spiritual beliefs have been strengthened by yoga by allowing my hamster wheel of a brain to slow down enough to form thought! my mom wanted to try yoga, but won’t go because we say Om at the beginning of class…i told her to say ‘home’ instead, but “since everyone else was being evil,” it would rub off on her. it took a minute before i asked her who my real mother was.

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