FEBRUARY 19, 2014




Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 3:15 PM Subject: Emailing: what is Pilates

Dear Michel, Could you tell me if the Pilates Method is also New Age and therefore to avoid? Thank you in advance, Pilar


Michael Prabhu
Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2010 2:55 AM Subject: Pilates Exercises

Hello Michael, can you tell us more about Pilates which is becoming very popular here. Our parish hall has been rented out for this. A great number of people are unclear if it is simply exercises or perhaps sinister? One of our speakers tells us NO which is accepted by many of us but we need to know more. Look forward to hearing from you. God bless, Agnes


Stichting Vrienden van Lourdes…Holland
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 7:58 PM Subject: NRMs–new contact from Holland

Good day Michael! I just “stumbled upon” your website this morning while searching for information on the “New Age”. First, thank you for all of the work that you are doing–the service that you are doing to the faithful is bigger than you know. Today, I am writing to you from the Netherlands.  I am a dual national (American/Dutch) and have been living in The Hague with my Dutch husband since 1993. I am writing as a Roman Catholic in need of help, because I may have discovered something that should be of concern to faithful Catholics everywhere.
Please “Google” the following search terms: Lourdeskerk (Dutch for Lourdes Church), Scheveningen and Chizone,
Links: http://www.chizone.nl/index2.html
Paragnost and medium: Tresi Barros (see website and YouTube for additional English info)
Link: http://www.chizone.nl/index2.html
After spending a few moments to review the material, please contact me to discuss the matter further.  We need support, but are too close to the matter to take any independent action. 
I prefer to contact you by phone or via SKYPE.
With kind regards, Catherine Dailey

Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 9:17 AM

Subject: Re: NRMs–new contact from Holland

Dear Catherine,

What you have found in the Lourdeskerk is not a strange isolated aberration. It is so common everywhere, including in India. I have a friend in the UK who recently managed to get her pastor to stop the yoga in her parish church. But usually we crusaders are not successful. That is why I operate this ministry so that I can at least reach people like you to help confirm their discernment and to give them information that may be of help to them and those of their loved ones and friends in the Church.

I examined the sites that you so kindly provided and this is what I noted – I have highlighted particular words in bold and my comments are in red:

LINK http://religieuserfgoed-zh.nl/dossiers: “De Lourdeskerk in Scheveningen – in dit voormalige kerkgebouw is Chizone, center for body & mind lifestyle, gevestigd.

LINK http://www.chizone.nl/index2.html: “In de studio zijn lessen te volgen in Tai Chi, Qi-gong, Pilates, Yoga, etc.

There are 16+ pages of http://www.chizone.nl/index2.html including information on New Age therapies Ayurveda, Craniotherapy, Haptotherapy, Acupuncture, Massage [QiGong and Ayurvedic] etc.


LINK http://www.toussaintdinnershows.nl/arrangement.htm: “Tijdens een verfrissende yoga – of meditatie workshop schud je de vermoeidheid van de dag van je af.

Yes, even though I don’t understand Dutch, I get the hang of it. Chizone [CHI zone] at the Lourdes Church is promoting New Age. Michael




In the links given by Catherine, we note that Pilates is combined with other New Age therapies

Deepak Sharan,
is a Feldenkrais [see page 3], Martial Arts, Yoga and Pilates teacher.

Though many, even Christians, would argue that Pilates is not New Age*, evidence proves otherwise.


*Catholic Answers forums


June 24, 2008

I don’t know where to post this: is Pilates against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church? My daughter would like to try this form of exercise, but I want to make sure it is in agreement with the Holy Father and the Magisterium. Please help.

No, it’s not against the teachings of the Church. Pilates is exercise and good for you. Jim OCDS

Despite opposition and evidence to the contrary provided by other Catholic Answers forum members, Jim, probably a priest of the Order of Discalced Carmelites [OCD], doggedly defends the practice of yoga, insisting that it is not New Age. No moderator intervenes in this debate. This is only one of several instances in my reports and articles where I have shown that Catholic Answers disseminates New Age error.


According to

The Pilates Method (or simply Pilates), pronounced /pɪˈlɑ:ti:z/ is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates 1883-1967. As of 2005 there are 11 million people who practice the discipline regularly and 14,000 instructors in the United States.
Pilates called his method Contrology, because he believed his method uses the mind to control the muscles. The program focuses on the core postural muscles which help keep the body balanced and which are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and alignment of the spine, and aim to strengthen the deep torso muscles.

“Contrology” was Joseph Pilates’ preferred name for his method and it is based on the idea of muscle control. “Nothing about the Pilates Method is haphazard. The reason you need to concentrate so thoroughly is so you can be in control of every aspect of every moment.” All exercises are done with control with the muscles working to lift against gravity and the resistance of the springs and thereby control the movement of the body and the apparatus. “The Pilates Method teaches you to be in control of your body and not at its mercy.”

Photo demonstrating a Pilates Teacher using verbal and tactile feedback to ensure proper form


Pilates puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core or center, and improving coordination and balance. Pilates’ system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises.

A 2013 systematic review found only inconclusive evidence** that Pilates was beneficial to people with lower back pain.

Pilates was designed by Joseph Pilates, a physical-culturist from Mönchengladbach, Germany. During the first half of the 20th century, he developed a system of exercises which were intended to strengthen the human mind and body. Pilates believed that mental and physical health are interrelated.

In his youth, he had practiced many of the physical training regimes available in Germany, and it was from these he developed his own work. It has clear connections with the physical culture of the late Nineteenth Century, such as the use of special apparatuses and claims that the exercises could cure ill health. It is also related to the tradition of “corrective exercise” or “medical gymnastics” as typified by Pehr Henrik Ling.

Pilates published two books related to his training method: Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education in 1934, and Return to Life Through Contrology in 1945. In common with early twentieth century physical culture, Pilates had an extremely high regard for the Greeks and the physical prowess demonstrated in their Gymnasium.




His first students that went on to teach his methods and open studios, and most prominent include: Romana Kryzanowska, Kathy Grant, Jay Grimes, Ron Fletcher, Maja Wollman, Mary Bowen, Carola Treir, Bob Seed, Eve Gentry, Bruce King, Lolita San Miguel, and Mary Pilates, Joseph’s niece. Contemporary Pilates includes both the “Modern” Pilates and the “Classical/Traditional” Pilates. Modern Pilates is partly derived from the teaching of some first generation students, while Classical preserves and promotes the original work as Joseph Pilates taught it.

The method was originally confined to the few and normally practised in a specialised studio, but with time this has changed and Pilates, in whatever form, can now be found in community centres, gyms, and physiotherapy rooms, and many other fitness services offered by Pilates-inspired businesses who have mixed their own understanding of Pilates with other disciplines. A variety of “modern” schools of Pilates, heavily influenced by a physiotherapeutic approach to Pilates, have adapted the Pilates system in different ways for reasons unknown to and unapproved by its creator, Joseph Pilates, and by the contemporary schools of Authentic Pilates who continue teaching his method. Joseph Pilates died as sole master of his own method and still controlling the intellectual property of it, including his apparatus: a fact that only changed with the Lawsuit of October 2000.

Breathing is important in the Pilates method. In Return to Life, Pilates devotes a section of his introduction specifically to breathing “bodily house-cleaning with blood circulation”.

In recent years the term “Pilates” has entered the mainstream. Following an unsuccessful trademark lawsuit, a U.S. federal court ruled the term “Pilates” generic and free for unrestricted use. As a result, anyone in the United States, trained or untrained, can offer “Pilates” to the public.

**Wells, Cherie; Kolt, Gregory S; Marshall, Paul; Hill, Bridget; Bialocerkowski, Andrea (2013). “Effectiveness of Pilates exercise in treating people with chronic low back pain: A systematic review of systematic reviews”. BMC Medical Research Methodology

It is noteworthy that the WikiPedia article on Pilates provides links to two other New Age therapies, the Feldenkrais method [mentioned in the Vatican Document on the New Age #2.3.2] and the Alexander Technique, http://ephesians-511.net/docs/ALEXANDER_TECHNIQUE.doc.


The biography of Joseph Pilates at
http://www.easyvigour.net.nz/pilates/h_biography.htm and at http://www.pilatesmethodalliance.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3277 confirms that he “studied both Eastern and Western forms of exercise including yoga and Zen“.


Alternative/ Blended/ Complementary/ Integrated Healing


By Marcia Montenegro

11. What is Pilates? This form of exercise was started by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Today, there are variations of Pilates, often with an admixture of yoga. An article on the site of the United Kingdom’s Reachout Trust ministry gives an excellent overview of Pilates along with some points to consider before signing up for a Pilates course***

Another excellent overview of Pilates and cautions for Christians can be found in this article by Steve Godwin (with David Grubbs), “The Pilates Method” http://www.wfial.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=artGeneral.article_7

Want more on energy concepts? Read The Christian, Energetic Medicine, “New Age Paranoia,” by Elliott Miller.

An excellent resource on information on alternative healing can be found on CINAM, operated by Janice Lyons of Current Issues in Alternative Medicine. You may also contact her at CINAM (Current Issues in Alternative Medicine), PO Box 16855, Asheville, NC 28816.

A website with articles by Dr. Donal O’Mathuna, a Christian physician, on the topics of bioethics and alternative medicine: http://www.xenos.org/ministries/crossroads/donal/articles.htm

Another excellent resource is Examining Alternative Medicine: An Inside Look at the Benefits and Risks, by Paul C. Reisser, M.D., Dale Mabe, D.O., Robert Velarde [InterVarsity Press, 2001]. Available from Amazon




Pilates (pronounced puh – la -tes), a registered trademark, is one of those activities which is hard to come to a clear conclusion about. It certainly is a discipline in which the practitioner is as important as the practice. We will seek to lay out the facts here and then draw some conclusions and hope this helps you make up your mind concerning this activity.

Pilates is a method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen and balance the body. It is not only successful as a fitness regime but it has also been used to help in professional sports training and physical rehabilitation of all kinds.


Joseph Pilates was born in 1880 and the introduction of what today we call, Pilates, was around 1914. Joseph was a German national living in England at the outbreak of WWI and, as such, he was placed under forced internment in Lancaster, England. During this internment he shared with his fellow camp members some of the exercises he had taught himself over the previous 20 years.

The roots of these exercises came from his study of yoga, Zen meditation and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimens.

During this period he developed the system of original exercises known today as “matwork.” A few years later, he was transferred to another camp where he treated a number of internees suffering from wartime diseases and physical injury.




In 1926 he met Clara, a trained nurse, who was to become his wife and companion in the work for many years. She helped him with the medical expertise needed to develop his original system of 34 exercises and continued the work for 10 years after Joseph died. Joseph Pilates called his original overall programme, “Contrology”.

Joseph opened the first Pilates studio on 8th Avenue, New York and continued to develop his technique until he died in 1967, aged 87.


Pilates today is the subject of court cases over the trademark and you will discover that there are a number of different types of Pilates. One web site lists the following but it does not seem exhaustive.

“Authentic Pilates ™: The Pilates Guild ™ is dedicated to the preservation of Pilates in its ‘purest form’.

 “Contemporary Pilates: ‘While Pilates was undoubtedly a man ahead of his time, the science of exercise has evolved throughout subsequent decades. Contemporary adaptations of Pilates’ principles have emerged, leveraging advances in physical therapy, spinal research, biomechanical principles and anatomical understanding to ensure each exercise is performed with optimal safety and results in mind’ – quote from Prime Time for Pilates by Moira Stott-Merrithew with Catherine Komlodi and Alison Hope.

“Modern Pilates: (book) ‘Unlike the traditional method, which focuses on constantly holding in the lower abdomen and on extremely effortful movements, modern Pilates is firmly based on the functional movement possibilities of the body. The exercises in this book are influenced by developments in therapeutic massage, osteopathy, and the Feldenkrais method, Butoh (a Japanese performance art developed in the 1950s), and ante- and postnatal work. With easy-to-understand diagrams, drawings, and photos, it provides exercises for maintaining good posture, fitness, strength, grace, flexibility, and freedom from injury’ – quote from the Publishers of Modern Pilates by Penelope Latey.

“Yogalates: A fusion of the ancient discipline of yoga with the modern Pilates techniques, the exercises mix both disciplines to develop core strength, help tone muscles, increase flexibility and reduce stress. Yogalates is trademarked by Louise Solomon

“‘Expand your Self, move gently and celebrate the many possibilities which the union of Yoga and Pilates will reveal… Awaken your self, enliven your lines and brighten your Yoga/Pilates experience.’ – the pilatescenter.com

“Yogilates: (book) Integrating Yoga and Pilates for Complete Fitness, Strength and Flexibility by Jonathan Urla

“The Pilates Method / The Method: a name coined first by The Physical Mind Institute in Santa Fe (they have subsequently moved to New York) to represent the traditional Pilates exercises when the law suit was ongoing and the “P” word couldn’t be used.

“Pilates with Chi: (book) combining Pilates with the eastern influences of Chi

“PowerHouse Pilates ™: provides a fitness approach to Pilates education, founded by Marci Clark and Christine Romani-Ruby in an effort to make Pilates education easily available for fitness professionals”

Contrology: Greatly influenced by the early Greeks it appears he emphasised their coordination and balance of body and mind. Joseph dealt with the whole being, for instance, what we eat; what our occupation is and whether we get enough exercise in it; the importance of a good night’s sleep and many other factors that promote a healthy lifestyle.

In 1934 he described it like this,

“It is the conscious control of all muscular movements of the body. It is the correct utilization and application of the leverage principles afforded by the bones comprising the skeletal framework of the body, a complete knowledge of the mechanism of the body, and a full understanding of the principles of equilibrium and gravity as applied to the movements of the body in motion, at rest and in sleep.” – Your Health, Joseph Pilates.

In 1945 he wrote,

“Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Through Contrology you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities.” – Return to Life Through Contrology

The Body and Mind Web Site comments on this,

“The very idea of coordinating or balancing body and mind was itself little-appreciated in the early 20th Century by most physical fitness gurus. At the end of the 20th Century, the concept of introducing ‘spirit’ into the exercise equation still stretches the limits of appreciation of many fitness trainers and students.”

Joseph Pilates also believed in the power of positive thought. We read in, Return to Life Through Contrology,

“One of the major results of Contrology is gaining the mastering of your mind over the complete control of your body.”

Whereas there is much common sense within his writings you do get one or two glimpses that may be he was looking at something more than just exercise. For instance, again in Return to Life Through Contrology, we read,

“So in your very commendable pursuit of all that is implied in the trinity of godlike attributes that only Contrology can offer you, we bid you not good-bye but ‘au revoir’ firmly linked with the sincere wish that your efforts will result in well-merited success chained to everlasting happiness for you and yours.”


1. This is one of those disciplines where knowing the background of the practitioner is vital. As mentioned above forms of Pilates are available combined with yoga and ch’i and these lead us into areas where, we believe, Christians should not go. There will however also be those practitioners who are simply teaching you bodily exercises. Know who is teaching you and what they aim to impart to you via the course.

2. As we noted in the history section, Joseph Pilates was influenced both by yoga and Zen meditation in the development of Pilates. Whereas these practices, which are not compatible with the fundamental beliefs of Christianity, may not have a doorway through the Pilates exercises, some Christians may want to take this fact into consideration.

3. In Joseph’s teachings there does appear to be instances of seeking to deal with ‘spirit’ the inner man. This again is something that Christians may want to take into consideration before undertaking Pilates.


The Pilates-Yoga Connection
– Seeing Yoga and Pilates as Complimentary Disciplines


By Marguerite Ogle, About.com Guide, Updated October 12, 2012

There is a tremendous amount of interest these days in hatha yoga and Pilates together. Both are sophisticated systems of integrative exercise with a lot in common. The six Pilates principles: centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow, could easily be used to describe the principles of many kinds of yoga as well.

Pilates and yoga are also quite different from each other, and it is in the differences that we find many of the complimentary aspects of the two that make them such a great team.

Strength and Stretch

In a general view, Pilates focuses more on strength and hatha yoga focuses more on stretch. There are certainly exceptions to this statement as Pilates does include stretching, in fact, Pilates is known for creating length in the body, and doing yoga does develop strength. The difference is emphasis.

Many people are finding that the core strength and integration they develop in Pilates support them well in the daily activities and crosstraining they engage in. For those who also do yoga, Pilates gives them the stability that they need to control and expand their yoga poses safely. Conversely, the expansive stretching in yoga provides a wonderful balance to the typically more core oriented Pilates exercises.

And let’s not overlook that fact that though Pilates and yoga share some exercises, for the most part, the exercises are different. Further, while yoga uses some props, Pilates incorporates a huge body of material that is done on a large piece of equipment.

Centering, Breath and Flow

Working with the breath is important to both Pilates and yoga. The breath is the great cleanser of the body and in both systems one is encouraged to develop conscious breathing, using a deep full breath to enhance the depth and movement of the exercise.
Learn more about breathing in Pilates

In yoga, there is a much more extensive and meditative set of disciplines associated with the breath. There are techniques of yogic breathing that are used while performing the yoga asanas (poses), as well meditative practices that are based entirely on the breath. In Pilates, deep breathing, lateral breathing, and coordinating breath with movement are primary breathing practices. Breathing in Pilates is recognized as rejuvenating, detoxifying and a means of enhancing awareness; as it is in yoga.

Joseph Pilates, the founder of the Pilates Method was very much concerned with the breath. He encouraged his students to use the breath as fully as possible, expanding the breath into the back and expelling the air completely to support flowing movement. In both yoga and Pilates, working with the breath links the physical exertion with attention of the mind — creating grace and flow in the movement, and providing a vehicle for centering the presence of the practitioner.

Benefits of Yoga and Pilates

The benefits of Pilates and yoga are extraordinary. They are both known to support the development of long, strong, graceful bodies that move efficiently without creating bulky muscles. Both disciplines are integrative; associated with stress reduction and increased well-being. Both yoga and Pilates are used as rehabilitative systems. They can be adjusted for a wide range of people and fitness levels, and both support the achievement of very high levels of body/mind/spirit fitness.

Yoga, Pilates, and Spirituality

When people think of yoga and Pilates, they sometimes think that yoga is “spiritual” and Pilates is not. Hatha Yoga does offer a long history of being associated with spiritual practice, or of being a spiritual path unto itself. Undeniably, the spiritual aspect of yoga is much more overt, and directive as a spiritual path, than what one finds in Pilates.

However, while one is unlikely to find meditation or chanting in a Pilates class, Pilates is a body/mind/spirit discipline. It is clear from Joseph Pilates writing, and the principles infused in his work, that he intended his method to be a vehicle for the enhancement of body, mind, and spirit. Many Pilates practitioners do find their lives enhanced, well beyond physical fitness, through Pilates.

Yoga/Pilates Classes and Integrity

While yoga-Pilates exploration and mix and match is very valid, and can enhance your fitness level, it is also important to remember that Pilates and yoga are each very full, distinct, and sophisticated disciplines. Really getting to know either one of them and experiencing the full benefits of either takes time. To reap the rewards of Pilates or yoga, one needs a teacher, for at least some of ones study, and one needs to practice regularly. [Read more in Understanding Pilates Fusion]

Yoga and Pilates combo classes are popping up everywhere. Students will want to be aware that while there are excellent Pilates certification programs and yoga teacher trainings, becoming a good instructor for either yoga or Pilates requires a very significant amount of time and effort. For this reason one will want to take care that ones instructor genuinely has enough training in both Pilates and Yoga to teach them together. As people continue explore the benefits of practicing Pilates and yoga together, it will be up to the students and teachers to monitor and maintain the integrity of each discipline.
Pilates vs. Yoga

So which to do? The happy answer is: Do Both! Find out for yourself which discipline is right for you. It might be that devoting yourself fully to one or the other feels best or perhaps developing stability and strength in Pilates will lead you to increase your range of motion even further through yoga.

More about Pilates and Yoga

Five Exercises Pilates and Yoga Share

7 Yoga Poses for Your Pilates Practice




Yoga not a Catholic meditation technique


By Marta Alves, 2003

This Catholic apologetic paper has been written in answer to the following email message:

Peace be with you! I am a high school youth minister at a Catholic church. Recently a debate has arisen among members of our parish staff about Yoga. The basic debate is thus: is it possible to separate the movements and positions of yoga from the spirituality? Several members of our staff do yoga at the church once a week and they claim that it’s just exercise — totally separate from any sort of religious ties. I’d be interested in reading your treatise and hearing the results of your research in this area. Thanks! In Christ, Janet

…Yoga is not a Christian practice and can lead individuals away from the Catholic Church first and then away from Christ

In the Church’s bazaar in my parish, gift certificates to yoga classes in the Dharma Institute* were auctioned…

*THE DHARMA CENTER, 13817 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land, TX 77478 – It offers yoga, t’ai chi, Pilates, massage therapy, healing touch, aromatherapy, etc. -Marta


Should Christians do yoga?

SHOULD CHRISTIANS DO YOGA – Sword of Light and Truth


THE TRUTH ABOUT YOGA – Sword of Light and Truth


By Margaret Anne Feaster

is a form of exercise. The problem is usually the music in the studio. The music tends to be New Age or chants or something other than Christian. So while your body may be benefiting, what is your mind being programmed?


Pilates New Age? Is it a stretch or yoga?


By Susan Brinkmann, December 10, 2009

Margaret asks: “Is Pilates exercise considered New Age?  What about simple stretches for warm-up and cool down when doing a work out? How is one to know what ‘yoga’ is and what isn’t?”

These are all great questions. Let me tackle them one by one.

The origin of Pilates is in the New Age. The inventor, Joseph Pilates, was a man whose fitness ideas were rooted in yoga, Zen meditation and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimes. He was also very committed to what has become a popular New Age concept known as the power of positive thinking.

A big problem with Pilates is in the instructors who may or may not be teaching a version that incorporates New Age techniques. Examples are “Yogalates” and “Pilates with Chi”. (It just so happens that the March/April issue of Canticle Magazine – www.canticlemagazine.com – will feature an in depth article about Pilates.)

Having been a fitness instructor for many years, I can say that Pilates is a resistance exercise of which there are many others. In fact, the gold standard (according to science) continues to be free weights.

(I use them 3x a week) because they build muscle which elevates the metabolism (good for weight loss) and build bone strength (good for post-menopausal women). Exercise tubing and bands are also excellent, as are the resistance machines found at your local gym. But free weights remain the best choice for overall fitness value.

As far as stretches are concerned, there are dozens of stretches used at the beginning and end of classes to warm up and cool down. These are not yoga moves. Normally an instructor will say if they are using yoga, and the only stretch I know of that even remotely resembles a yoga move is a back stretch where you lay on your back and pull the knees tightly to your chest. A similar move is called the “rock ‘n roll” position in yoga and is used to transition from one pose to another.

You may want to review basic yoga moves (there are about 4 billion websites to choose from) just to familiarize yourself with what they look like.

Can Christians get involved in yoga if they “just do the exercises”? Click on this link to read how yoga instructors are answering this question: http://womenofgrace.com/newage/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=7


See also
Athletic company sells “Chi” to their customers


By Susan Brinkmann, April 16, 2010


The Alexander Technique


By Susan Brinkmann, August 5, 2010

I am a musician and my teacher recommended it for ‘body awareness.’ Apparently, it is popular among professional, classical musicians. The idea of ‘body awareness’ sounds very New Age to me!-JC

“Body awareness” is a classic New Age term and refers to all kinds of movement techniques such as massage, yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, Rolfing; Cranio-sacral therapy…



“But I’m not worshiping other gods!”


By Susan Brinkmann, January 21, 2010

I am not sure why Pilates would be against Faith or contrary to God’s plan for us. Again, the body works as a whole, created by God. I could guess that if you attributed the healing to yourself and not God or the way he made the body that would be a danger. I see that as a problem within the person themselves not with the exercises. A person could think the same when going to the gym and “worshipping” all the machines and not seeing the glory in the way God made the body and how it works and attributing their health and fitness to themselves and the machines .-Sheila

As my blog on Pilates explains (See http://womenofgrace.com/newage/?p=9 ), the link between these exercises and the New Age comes through its founder, Joseph Pilates, who drew his ideas from Zen, yoga, and Greek fitness regimes rather than from Christ and the way God created our bodies to function. But the greatest danger in Pilates is the instructors, many of whom are deeply immersed in the New Age and pass on these beliefs in their classes.


Yoga/New Age exercises


By Susan Brinkmann, June 18, 2010

MP writes: “I am shocked to have learned that most of the stretch exercises that I have done [over the years for the warm-up and cool down portion of my workout] are actually yoga! The problem is that these exercises are not listed as yoga…”

MP continues: “This prompts the question(s): 1) How do you know what exercises are yoga/new age? 2) What stretching exercises are there for lower back pain that isn’t yoga/new age? 3) Is there a pictorial resource available? I like step aerobics and I’m looking to get back in shape. I’m afraid that most of the tapes/DVDs are more new age than not. For example one book that I have recommends the following exercises for a total body workout:
– spinal arch and curl
– super squat

– single/double arm reach
– spinal dive 
– ab circle
– beach kneel
– spinal twist 
– heel beat
– swimming frog
– leg flutter
– alternating leg kick
– straight leg triangle/circle
– leg circle
– salsa shoulders
– bikini swirl
-roll down
Aren’t most of these if not all new age?”

MP signs her e-mail “Trying to remain faithful in Jesus Christ through Mary.” Isn’t that beautiful?

Jesus and Mary are certainly keeping their eye on MP because she is absolutely correct in her assessment of the exercises/stretches she has been doing – almost all of the moves she lists are associated with
yoga, Pilates or both.

Of the list she presents, the spinal dive, leg flutter, leg circle, roll down, ab circle, heel beats, alternating leg kicks, single double arm reach, swimming frog and straight leg triangle/circle are all Pilates moves.

The spinal arch and curl is interesting. If this exercise is associated with the Gyrotronics Expansion System (GES), it is part of a training program that was once called “Yoga for Dancers.” Its founder, Hungarian Juliu Horvath, once described himself on his website as a “universal being.” But if not associated with GES, there is nothing wrong with this exercise. (You may be able to determine this by checking the index in the back of the book or contacting the author.)

The spinal twist is definitely a yoga exercise. Also known as Ardha Matsyendrasana, it is a preparatory pose for the Lotus position, which is done while contemplating Brahma and for the purpose of obtaining knowledge through the favor of the “roused Kundalini” (serpent power).

Super squats and the beach kneel are based in calisthenics so there’s no problem there. Salsa shoulders originates in Latin dance so this is also safe to use.

I was not able to uncover much about the bikini swirl, although it is quite similar to the Pilates “Booty swirl” and could be an adaptation.

Being a former aerobic instructor (but still a health nut) I share your frustration with the influx of eastern/Hindu influences into today’s fitness regimes.

It never ceases to amaze me how, in a culture that is so sensitive about the “separation of Church and state,” that so few people bat an eye at the intrusion of eastern religions into this and other areas of American culture – but they’ll scream bloody murder over the mere mention of Jesus’ name.




I wrote three blogs on this subject that I think you’ll find helpful. In addition to “sharing your pain” they’ll give you some ideas about alternatives (with pictorials).

Is it a stretch of yoga? http://womenofgrace.com/newage/?p=9

Yoga-free Workouts for Christians http://womenofgrace.com/newage/?p=105

Alternatives to Yoga http://womenofgrace.com/newage/?p=42 


Non-Christian fitness programs at the YMCA


By Susan Brinkmann, March 3, 2010

ST writes: “With all the new age classes (yoga, tai chi, Pilates), and martial arts(tai chi, karate), and SWAT taking place at the YMCA and any health club I’ve looked into, I avoid going to them even to ride a stationary bike or walk on the treadmill. People think I’m crazy, but I don’t want to be in an environment that will put my soul in danger. That is most important. I was told by a priest that as long as I don’t participate in these classes, that it would be OK to work out in these facilities. I’m not feeling that he is correct. What do you think?”

I would have to agree with the priest. Unless you are directly involved in these practices, you would not be harmed by them. This is especially true if you go to these gyms with the proper spiritual protection in place (praying for protection such as the St. Michael prayer, wearing your scapular or a blessed medal, etc.). 

But having said all that, this whole situation still makes me want to scream – and this is why.

Don’t all of these fitness trends derive from eastern religions? Then why, in a politically correct culture that is always so careful not to push their religion on others, do they cram this stuff down our throats in every fitness center on the block? If these fitness concepts were based on faith in Jesus Christ, they’d be tripping over themselves in their haste to get the programs thrown out.

This is just another example of a dirty little double standard that Christians need to confront whenever they see it.

For instance, I just saw an article praising the benefits of tai chi in a Taste of Home Healthy Cooking magazine! Then there’s Dr. Oz’s book – You, Staying Young – that exalts either yoga or tai chi on every other page. This stuff is everywhere!

The time has come for Christians to fight back through 1) prayer and 2) writing polite letters that turn the tables on these establishments and let them know how dissatisfied we are that their organization/publication, etc. is foisting religion on people under the guise of health and fitness. (This is especially true for the YMCA – the Young Men’s Christian Association!!)

We might also point out that there is absolutely no reason to promote yoga, tai chi, Pilates, etc. because there are many non-religion based alternatives available. And these alternatives are not based on the balancing of “universal life force energy” that is not scientifically supported. Established fitness programs are based on science and are a much healthier choice.

However, if an establishment insists on offering these programs (and they will because they’re big sellers), they should at least provide full disclosure to participants by letting them know about their links to religion.

Another option will be to stop patronizing these organizations – but be sure to send them a letter and let them know why you left.

However, don’t be surprised or even disappointed if they continue to promote their yoga, tai chi and SWAT classes. The point is to at least make them squirm a little. If we have no right to “push our religion off on others” neither do they!


Why do so many exercise programs feel more like something we should be doing in a Hindu temple?


By Susan Brinkmann, March 16, 2011

MR asks: “I’m wondering about Pilates. I was reading some of the blogs but didn’t feel that they totally answered if Pilate’s is not acceptable. I have Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds DVD which includes a section called ‘You can do Pilates’. I didn’t know this was an issue. Should I no longer do the Pilates on her DVD?”

Being a former fitness instructor, I’m continually fascinated (and frustrated) with how most U.S. fitness programs are turning into a quasi-Hindu temples. We just can’t seem to get a good workout these days – in a gym or on a DVD – without being pummeled by Hindu and/or other eastern religious beliefs. It’s all about yoga, Pilates, Yogalates, tai chi, “Om” chants and namaste greetings. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of feeling like I just stepped off a plane in Mumbai every time I walk into an exercise class at my local gym. Not that I have anything against Hindus or Mumbai, but I go there to work out, not to be indoctrinated in someone else’s religion.

Imagine the outcry if we decided to begin every exercise classes with an invocation to Jesus Christ. What if we insisted that everyone make the sign of the cross “just to work out” their triceps? We’d probably be sued, or fired – or both – in very short order.

Anyway, getting back to MR’s question, the problem with Pilates is not that the exercises themselves are New Age, but that their creator, Joseph Pilates, was heavily influenced by yoga and Zen meditation when he invented it.

How have these beliefs influenced the exercises?

He was also a big endorser of the power of positive thinking, a movement that eventually morphed into the New Age’s Human Potential Movement.



This movement is a spin-off of the New Thought movement of the 1900s in which people believed that if the mind could conceive it, a person could achieve it. How much of these practices are present in a typical Pilates workout?

Leslie Sansone, who produced MR’s DVD, does not appear to be involved in the New Age, although she does have a You Can Do Yoga video; however, she specifically says it has “no breath control or mind/body work.” Her large collection of workouts includes one that features Christian themes, and I could find none that espoused walking with any other religious belief system.

Although this does not appear to be the case with MR, the overarching problem with Pilates is that it is just too heavily infiltrated by New Agers, which means you’re bound to encounter instructors who incorporate New Age concepts into their workouts. Some do it openly, such as in Yogalates or Pilates with Chi. Others are more covert about it and employ more subtle suggestions such as introducing eastern breathing techniques or seemingly innocent visualization exercises.

In one of the more outrageous cases I’ve read, one instructor of a children’s Pilates workout told her class she wanted to help them “develop a relationship with the inside of your body.” Thankfully, a parent was standing in the back of the room and raised the roof over it.  

There is no easy answer when it comes to Pilates and a person who is interested in becoming involved in this kind of resistance exercise must be willing to work out more than just their muscles. Their powers of discernment will also have to be put to the test. They must educate themselves on the difference between eastern and western meditation techniques as well as the risks associated with altered states of consciousness, visualization and other trance induction practices that are likely to show up in mainstream yoga and Pilates classes. For those who just want to exercise and not be bothered with all this fuss, forget Pilates. Having been a fitness instructor for many years I can tell you that the best resistance exercise continues to be the use of free weights (particularly if you’re post-menopausal). Nothing even comes close to this as far as building strength and shaping the body. Tubes and bands are also excellent choices.

Pilates are more of a fad than an innovation, so don’t think you’re missing something if you decide to pass on Pilates. There are plenty of workouts far superior to this one, that come with no potential religious baggage.


The saint-mike.net site is not clear on Pilates:

Pilates exercise


August 29, 2007

Can the “Pilates” exercises be used even though it seems that people who do Yoga use them also? The Pilates exercises consist of breathing in and out while stretching certain muscles. They were started by a man named Pilates for helping men wounded in WWI. (http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/about/pilates-method.html) I started doing them not really noticing how much they were used by Yoga practitioners but stopped because I got so sore from doing them. Could I have inadvertently opened myself up to the occult? -Linda

I really do not know much about Pilates. From what I gather there are some medical effects that have been demonstrated with some of the techniques. On the other hand, some of the underlying philosophy is really problematic — the mind over matter aspects and some of the ideas about breathing — a typical exaggeration of effects that is most common with alternative medical techniques.

I would be cautious, but as far as I know none of the techniques brings on into an altered state of consciousness (which is the primary problem with most Eastern methods).

It does not appear, as best as I can tell for now, that your participation in this method would be spiritually harmful. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Pilates exercise



September 5, 2007

About Pilates: I am a fitness instructor. I do not touch yoga and am very careful as to what stretching movements I teach during a Pilates class because some of them are very similar to some yoga positions.

I have a friend who used to be in an eastern cult. He was a high priest and could contort his body into unfathomable positions. He claims he was addicted to yoga and becoming more and more narcissistic with each passing day. Not to mention the awful supernatural bondages he experienced. He is now delivered and works for a diocese on the West Coast and assists at exorcisms. He is writing a book about scripture and its references to the New Age.
Anyway, he told me these positions were created to give honor and glory to the gods and goddesses of the Hindus.

These “deities” appeared to the people and told them to get into these positions for the positions were sacred and would bring them closer to THE ONE – whoever that is. However, it sounds a bit like Genesis, does it not? When Satan told Adam and Eve they would be like gods if they ate from the tree.
It is important for everyone to be aware that even the fitness industry is saturated with new age practices. My friend told me that getting into one of those positions, even once, will demonize you to some degree. And then the demons will cause you to want more and achieve more in yoga, and you will become fixated on it and have an inordinate desire for it. So even if you have put your foot in the water so to speak, you still have a chance to recognize this practice is not of God and pray against it and any of its negative effects on you. –Raphaela



Thank you for the information about Pilates and also yoga.

There are still some questions that I would have about Pilates, but this is a Q&A forum where I am suppose to answer questions not ask them. I would invite your to join our Spiritual Warfare Discussion Forum. Maybe you can discuss these things in more detail. For your, and anyone’s convenience, here is a direct link to the Registration Page. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Pilates exercise



November 16, 2007

There is a program offered in the local Girls Inc. (club for girls) that is called “Yogalates”. It says it is a traditional yoga and Pilates class. Now I know the dangers of doing yoga and I read up on how Pilates exercise got started. While the start of the Pilates exercise was innocent others have merged it with Yoga. Unfortunately, I did a few Pilates exercise awhile ago without knowing of the Yoga connection. I wrote to you before asking if I had opened myself up to the occult (on 8/29, in this forum). You didn’t think so at the time but you always say that “playing in the devil’s sandbox can get the devil’s sand in your shoes”.

I was wondering if I should mention it in my next confession as I don’t want any part in the occult even if I did something unknowingly and as I am on a prayer team to pray for others. –Linda

When in doubt — confess. The Sacrament of Confession is also a healing Sacrament. If you feel this involvement caused even a venial wound, then confessing it will heal that wound.

I would also recommend the Renunciation Prayer and Re-Claiming Ground found in our Spiritual Warfare Catalog

We will be praying for you in your task to pray for others. I applaud you in your concern to be squeaky clean on this as preparation for your apostolate of intercessory prayer. That is wise thinking. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Pilates, Vitalism, Acupuncture


January 18, 2011

My husband has a sore back and his physiotherapist has now recommended him to start doing Pilates. I have warned him about getting involved with New Age but he thinks Pilates will just strengthen up his back. Is this OK to do? Also the physiotherapist has used acupuncture on his as part of his treatment. –Rachael

I really do not know much about Pilates. From what I gather there are some medical effects that have been demonstrated with some of the techniques. On the other hand, some of the underlying philosophy is really problematic — the mind over matter aspects and some of the ideas about breathing — a typical exaggeration of effects that is most common with alternative medical techniques.

I would be cautious, but as far as I know none of the techniques brings on into an altered state of consciousness (which is the primary problem with most Eastern methods).

It does not appear, as best as I can tell for now, that your husband’s participation in this method would be spiritually harmful.


…the problem with these sorts of techniques is that they are co-opted by New Agers and intertwined with everything from feng fooy to Ch’i and other forms of what is called vitalism.

Vitalism is “the metaphysical doctrine that living organisms possess a non-physical inner force or energy that gives them the property of life. Vitalists believe that the laws of physics and chemistry alone cannot explain life functions and processes.”

Even if Pilates is in itself spiritual neutral, in a lot of cases the instructors will contaminate it by infusing the gobbledygook of the New Age, sometimes in way subtle enough to not be noticed by the average person.

Thus, caution is warranted.

Frankly, there are many specific exercises that have been prescribed for many years, and used by physical therapist (before the age of gobbledygook) that work just fine. One does not have to go to some “systematic” program that is oftentimes intertwined with New Age philosophies.

As for acupuncture, the fundamental and essential foundation of acupuncture is the non-existent Ch’i, the vitalism philosophy that is nonsense. Scientific studies, however, has discovered that acupuncture can be useful for pain control, but not necessarily any better than normal pain medications. Acupuncture does not have any efficacy beyond pain control. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



Categories: new age

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

ephesians-511.net Testimonies

EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai – 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail: michaelprabhu@vsnl.net, http://www.ephesians-511.net

EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai - 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail: michaelprabhu@ephesians-511.net, http://www.ephesians-511.net

%d bloggers like this: