December 2020: What do you say if someone says yoga helps calm their child?

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  • #9718
    Dan Marcum
    Participant

    This month’s Whaddaya Say is inspired by an actual conversation with a family member who is Catholic but unaware that practicing yoga goes against church teaching. So, what would you say to someone like this who tells you that yoga has really helped their child to be calm?

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    • #10170
      Robert Wilson
      Participant

      Great answers, Ed, Dan & Brian!

      Here’s the best of the answers from our SPSE Catholic Apologetics Facebook page:

      It is possible to stretch and exercise without practicing another religion. Hinduism is at the root of yoga which professes a belief in many fake gods and the worship of creatures which are not divine.
      Chris P

      Practicing yoga is Hindu and a sin against the first commandment. The poses are representations of different gods. Plus it’s a portal for demons to enter. If you want to keep your kids calm, the rosary is a far better option.
      Emily D

      Some of the yoga poses give honor and glory to the hundreds of yoga gods. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe it. It opens a person up to demonic activity. The devil still exists and has power even if people don’t believe in the devil.
      Irmmy A

      I’m a former instructor (10 years and 25 practicing) and I would say that they should stay away from it. There are too many insidious things attached to it to redeem it. They can find other activities for calming their child. I would do simple stretches and try to avoid poses specific to yoga. I had a very direct instruction from our Lord that became impossible to ignore right after returning to the Church and sacraments. My priest taught against it during a homily-also, priests known for exorcism warn against it. I taught secular and Holy Yoga. My experience was that the yoga community in general is filled with gender confusion and general sexual behaviors contrary to God’s law. I’m talking about people who were married, getting divorced, and re “marrying” same sex. Or raising their tween as the opposite gender publicly on social media. The point is that it’s a door that has been opened and will not easily be shut if it begins to be a problem.
      Valerie B

    • #9873
      Brian Lee
      Participant

      The first thing to do would be do determine the intent of doing yoga. The body postures of yoga are in themselves morally neutral. If a person is doing the poses without the intent of seeking enlightenment through a higher power then act of doing the yoga stretches could be perfectly fine. I found a quote on Catholic Ansers that said, “The assertion that yoga is always a sin shades into superstition, ascribing magical effects to a physical action based solely upon its external performance. Just as it is common to kneel when praying, kneeling by itself is not a holy act.” (https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/the-trouble-with-yoga) It is a neutral posture that prepares the body for the act of praying. The same moral standard is held for yoga poses. Yoga combined with the act of seeking enlightenment is condemned. And if this is the case in this circumstance then it would be worth suggesting ways to find peace in prayer by having true communion with God. A great meditation where I have always found peace is the rosary. I would begin by suggesting that.

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Brian Lee.
      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Brian Lee.
      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Brian Lee.
      • #9874
        Dan Marcum
        Participant

        The author here makes some interesting points:

        Regardless of the warnings or information, there are always Catholics who say they will not give up their yoga because it makes them feel good and they personally don’t use it for religion. But there is a further consideration with yoga. By participating in yoga, or when a school or church sponsors classes, it gives the message of blanket approval. If yoga is okay with the Church or with Sally Stretchy, then it’s obviously okay, is the impression.

        I think part of the controversy is a communication issue. Some people use the word yoga and mean stretching. Others use the word yoga and mean the religion. If we all used the term with the same meaning, our discourse might change. If we all meant stretching, then it is not always a sin for a Christian to practice yoga (stretching). If we all meant the eastern religion, then it is always a sin for a Christian to practice yoga (another religion).

        Since the word does double duty in English, I don’t ever plan to tell someone “I’m doing yoga later” or anything like that. Because even if I only mean “I’m doing stretching later,” the person I’m talking to may not know that the word has two meanings. If the other person decides to sign up for a yoga class to get started, those classes often blend yoga spirituality in with the stretching, so now the other person has begun practicing another religion in part because of what I said.

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Dan Marcum.
        • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Dan Marcum.
        • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Dan Marcum.
    • #9721
      egraveline
      Participant

      Ok, you know that Yoga is against Church teaching but your child has been helped to be calm by it – correct? Then you must first understand why it is against Church teaching. Yoga is not just about limbering up your limbs, but it is a Hindu practice that uses physical means to achieve a spiritual end. So the question of separating the physical from the spiritual is really a contradiction in terms. Stretching exercises and just going outside for a walk or run can help your son. So can take a deep breath and count to 100 slowly. Start your son listening to some soothing music or have him think of things he is grateful for or hug someone. All these will help your son stay calm. And pray for him that he will understand that Yoga is for Hindu’s, not Catholics.

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