Catholic Priest Bans Yoga

A church in the UK halts popular yoga classes in its rec hall because of the practice's Hindu roots.
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A church in the UK halts popular yoga classes in its rec hall because of the practice's Hindu roots.

Yoga is so popular today it's offered in all kinds of places outside of yoga studios: parks and beaches, department stores, and even banks. Since churches are popular gathering places for communities, it should come as no surprise that some church halls offer yoga classes along with other group fitness offerings such as aerobics and Zumba. But not everyone agrees that yoga should be taught in church buildings.

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A catholic priest in Englan has banned yoga from a church hall because it is a Hindu practice and is not compatible with Catholic beliefs, according to a report from The Mirror.

A yoga instructor Cori Withell told The Mirror that her yoga and Pilates classes at St. Edmonds Church in Southhampton were cancelled before the series was complete because the hall was only to be used for Catholic activities.

"There was never any meditation in my class, it was just exercises," she told the paper. "Yoga is not religious: spiritual, but not religious."

Father John Chandler disagreed. "Yoga is a Hindu spiritual exercise. Being a Catholic church we have to promote the gospel and that's what we use our premises for," he said. "We did say that yoga could not take place. It's the fact that it's a different religious practice going on in a Catholic church. ... It's not compatible. We are not saying that yoga is bad or wrong."

Whether Christians and other faiths should practice yoga isn't exactly a new debate. Yoga is been banned for Muslims in some Middle Eastern and Asian countries. And remember when Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke out against Christians practicing yoga?

What do you think?