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What Does the Church Say About Doing Yoga?


What does the church have to say about Yoga?


To engage in yoga expressly as part of the practice of Eastern spirituality, or as a way of dabbling with Eastern spirituality or mixing it with Christian prayer, is a problem. These practices, with their pagan origins and aims, go against a Catholic’s duty to worship God in truth according to the virtue of religion (see CCC 1807).

In contrast, the Church does not have a definitive teaching on the morality of yoga as mere exercising, but reason tells us that exercises and body postures that promote physical health cannot be inherently evil. If exercises that are part of yoga practices or similar to them are done simply for physical health, in due moderation, and with regard to the good of the whole person, then there is nothing morally wrong with them.

The exercises and poses of yoga are not by their nature pagan or demonic, as if they were black magic spells. So we must guard against superstition (see CCC 2111). That said, faithful Catholics of good will can have differing opinions about the prudence of doing yoga exercises. Some argue that yoga’s cultural connections to Eastern spirituality could draw some people into false religious practices by exposure, or that in practice its spiritual side is just too difficult to separate from the physical. These points are worth considering. Such a caution from a former practitioner of yoga can be found here.

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