JULY 4, 2014
A Catholic Alternative to Yoga
Pietra Fitness exists to help people increase their faith, health, and well being through Catholic prayer and spirituality and the physical practice of stretching and strengthening postures. You can improve your health, wellness, and happiness by strengthening your mental, physical, and spiritual foundations. We have worked hard to develop a program with a solid foundation in each of these areas so that, with God’s grace, you can rejuvenate, refresh, and restore your whole person – mind, body, and soul. It is our goal to help you achieve your optimal health regardless of age, physical limitations, and state of health.
Pietra Fitness is Not Yoga
OUR POSITION ON YOGA
● Pietra Fitness respects people of all faiths. While we recognize and point out specific theological differences, we also firmly believe that all people are greatly loved by God.
● Pietra Fitness is not “Christian yoga” or “Catholic Yoga” and should never be described as such because the term “yoga” describes an integrated whole of philosophies, spirituality, and physical practices based in Hinduism and found in Buddhism and New Age practices.
● Pietra Fitness respectfully asserts that yoga cannot and should not be separated from its spiritual and philosophical roots; therefore the practice of yoga cannot be part of a specifically Christian exercise program.
● Pietra Fitness believes that beneficial stretching and strengthening exercises can be separated from yoga (in some cases slightly modified, and in all cases re-named) and redeemed in Christ for use in a Christian exercise program.
● Pietra Fitness believes that one cannot regularly practice yoga without some spiritual effect; therefore we recommend that Christians stop the practice of yoga and seek alternatives consistent with Christian philosophy and spirituality.
Pietra Fitness is not “Christian yoga” or “Catholic yoga”. Most Hindu and Christian philosophers would agree that “Christian Yoga” is an oxymoron because Christianity (coming from Christ) and yoga (based in Hinduism) have fundamental differences in theology and philosophy. The practice of yoga as such inherently incorporates Hindu spirituality; therefore an exercise program cannot truly be both yoga and Christian. Pietra Fitness seeks to provide some insight into why this is true, both in general terms and through specific examples.
What is yoga, and where does Pietra Fitness stand?
“Yoga” is the ancient Sanskrit term for the physical practice used to develop Hindu spiritual disciplines. The word yoga means “yoke” or “spiritual union”, indicating the innate spiritual nature of the practice. Thousands of years old, yoga teachings are detailed in the Vedas, or sacred Indian texts. These teachings include polytheism (worshipping many gods and goddesses), monism (a belief that all things in the universe are one, without distinction), reincarnation, karma, idol worship, and the goal of realizing one’s own divine identity. Many of these teachings are also prevalent in Buddhism and the New Age Movement. Because these beliefs are not compatible with Christian teaching, embracing the full practice of yoga would be contrary to Christianity. Simply put, to practice yoga is to practice an important element of Hinduism and/or New Age beliefs. Most people in yoga fitness classes do not understand the roots and purpose of yoga and therefore do not understand all they are participating in. While we deeply respect other religious practices and beliefs, it is important for Christians to truly understand their faith and to engage in activities that are wholly consistent with Christian teaching.
At Pietra Fitness, our position on yoga is built on that of the Catholic Church. Our goal is to recognize the good and true, wherever it is found and bring it to fullness in Christ. The Church clearly states that there are very real spiritual concerns associated with the practice of yoga and advises strong caution regarding the practice. We should not take this lightly. We must get informed and make intentional decisions based on solid spiritual and intellectual formation. The Church asks Christians to know and apply their faith. Two documents from the Vatican are great resources for the faithful on this subject:
The Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith
Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life by the Pontifical Council for Culture & Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
How is Pietra Fitness different?
The human body is made and designed by God, and our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. In dutifully and humbly caring for our temple, we glorify God. Since all that is good and true comes from God, we can freely utilize movements that keep us well. Movements that stretch, strengthen, calm, and relax are good for us! Because yoga is thousands of years old, it can lay claim (and does) to almost every possible movement or position of the human body – including movements as innate as yawning, blinking, and breathing. Despite the wide range of exercises catalogued in yoga, yoga does not have a patent on any of them. You should not feel guilty for doing ordinary and natural human movement just because it has an official name in yoga. So while you may see familiar movements in a Pietra Fitness class, it is important to note that the differences between Pietra Fitness and Yoga go much deeper than stretches.
At Pietra Fitness we do not seek to attain spiritual enlightenment and immersion with the divine, nor do we utilize elements of yoga that conflict with Christian teaching. While we, as Christians, desire union with God through our relationship with Him, we recognize that no technique can ever lead to full immersion with Him. Union with God is a gift of His grace alone, and we are distinct from God. Pietra Fitness, then, is not a technique to attain perfection. Rather, Pietra Fitness is a way to stay physically fit while answering the call of St. Paul to pray unceasingly. We simply offer our exercise in prayer to God.
In Pietra Fitness, each exercise class begins and ends with prayer. While the physical workout strengthens and stretches our bodies, our hearts and minds are free to follow the advice of St. Paul and focus on things true, honorable, gracious, and excellent (Philippians 4:8). We do this with scripture and a meditation read during stretches of longer duration. Because gentle soothing movements and extended periods of stretching naturally foster relaxation and serenity, this type of exercise offers a great opportunity to turn our hearts and minds towards Christ.
St. Benedict believed all labor can be a prayer if we are mindful of God: “Ora et Labora” – Prayer and Work. Combining prayer and exercise/work is timeless. It helps us to “redeem the time” as St. Paul exhorts us to do in Ephesians 5:16… and it feels fantastic.
Discerning Elements of Yoga that Conflict with Christian Teaching
Let’s take a closer look at specific practices found in both casual yoga classes offered at the average gym, as well as in-depth classes taught in professional yoga studios. These very common methods are rooted in non-Christian eastern spirituality and/or are utilized in New Age practices. If you have ever attended a yoga class, you have undoubtedly been exposed to one or more of the practices below. All yoga teachers are educated in these techniques and certainly their classes will be influenced in this manner.
- Chanting Mantras – “A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of ‘creating transformation’.” Mantras are commonplace in yoga. Let’s look at two of them: Aum/Om: “The popular Aum chant is fully described in the Hindu scriptures and is synonymous with the Hindu Deity Ganesha.” Deepak Chopra, M.D. explains it this way:
“The primordial vibration Om (or ‘aum’) is considered the most sacred sound in Hinduism and Buddhism… People have used Om as a mantra since ancient times, chanting the sound or silently repeating it in meditation to expand their awareness of the divine. In the Yoga Sutras, the philosopher Patanjali states that the repetition of Om, along with a deep contemplation of its meaning, is a direct path to enlightenment… The symbol is also incorporated into the design of all Hindu temples and family shrines. In the Western world, repeating Om at the beginning and end of yoga classes is common, and more and more people are using the sound as a mantra for meditation and sacred ceremonies.” So’ham: According to Yoga for Dummies, “The mantra so’ham” (pronounced so-hum) means ‘I am He’, that is, ‘I am the universal Self’. It is repeated it in sync with breathing: so on inhaling, ham on exhaling.” In Christian teaching, “I AM” very specifically refers to God Almighty and would not be appropriate for an individual to chant.
- Chanting in Sanskrit – Many yoga classes feature chanting at the beginning or ending of class. The chanting is done in the ancient language of Sanskrit, so most participants have no idea what they are saying. There are many chants, but portions of common chants are translated below
Clearly, chanting in yoga class presents a dilemma for Christians.
- Body Positions to Channel Energy – There are specific hand, body, or eye positions in yoga called yoga mudras. Yogis believe that by forming these positions, one can direct the flow of energy. These positions are utilized by skilled yogis to induce alternate states of mind and consciousness. An article in Yoga Journal explains, “Fingers and toes are charged with divine power, which, when intelligently accessed and properly applied, can intensify the transformative power of the practice… Symbolically, a mudra seals or ‘stamps’ the mark of the god or goddess on the practitioner much like a signet ring stamps an impression on soft wax, signaling her complete devotion and self-surrender… some texts claim, mudras confer magical powers on the practitioner, such as healing others’ illnesses (and maybe even exacting revenge on enemies) and assisting in the awakening of kundalini.” Kundalini Yoga is a particular type of yoga that aims to develop spiritual awareness by freeing the serpent power (kundalini) that is coiled in the base of the spine through exercises and meditation that draws it upward through the seven chakras (energy centers).
- Chakras – The concept of chakra originates in Hindu texts and is in yogic traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. The Chakras are thought to be the seven main energy centers in the body that are located along the spine starting at the base and running upwards to the crown of the head. They believe the chakras can become blocked, and that by practicing poses that correspond to each chakra, you can release these blocks and clear the path to higher consciousness. It is also believed that with the healing of each chakra comes the gift of certain powers. This comes from the University of Metaphysical Sciences: “In addition to its connection to the body, the third eye chakra is also highly related to the spiritual realm. This chakra is said to be associated with the ability to experience and even see into other dimensions during meditation. Astral awareness is related to this chakra. When the third eye chakra is awakened during meditation, a number of abilities are said to open up including higher cognition, remote viewing, intuition, telekinesis and telepathy. Inasmuch, psychic powers are often said to be related to this chakra.” Yoga poses are often sequenced to unblock the chakras, and meditation on the chakras in a yoga class is commonplace. There are many dangers associated with kundalini rising through the chakras, including psychological disturbances. Numerous websites, written by those who have experienced kundalini rising, are devoted to describing the dangers of this practice.
- Unnatural breathing techniques – While proper breathing is extremely healthy (it releases stress and calms the nervous system), it is important that breathing be done gently and at the pace of the individual. In yoga, pranayama is not just breath control, but is also believed to regulate the prana, or life force, in the body. Some studios practice breath control for up to fifteen minutes at the beginning of the class. In more advanced practices, students are encouraged to meditate on the breath and visualize drawing themselves into healing, cosmic, divine energy. The California College of Ayurveda cautions against pranayama when not done correctly. They state: “The practice of pranayama has always been surrounded by an air of mystery. Since such practice is a gateway to yogic powers (siddhis), gurus have traditionally been hesitant to teach it until the disciple was able to prove his or her readiness… Many great yogis have known of the dangers of pranayama when performed incorrectly… faulty practice puts undue stress on the lungs and diaphragm. The respiratory system suffers and the nervous system is adversely affected. The very foundation of a healthy body and a sound mind is shaken by faulty practice of Pranayama… This results in the prana charging recklessly through the body causing both physical and psychological imbalances.” Caution should be used with many breathing exercises found in yoga because these structured techniques can adversely impact students.
- Namaste – This physical and verbal salutation is regularly said in yoga classes. “Namaste” can be translated as, “the divine in me bows to the divine in you.” An article in Yoga Journal explains, “To perform Namaste, we place the hands together at the heart charka, close the eyes, and bow the head. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart.” While Christianity certainly recognizes the sacredness of another person (we are temples of the Holy Spirit), we need to be careful not to insinuate that a human person is the same as God. The Creator and His creatures are distinct beings, although they may be united by grace. For Christians, it is undesirable to allude to the chakra system when greeting or honoring another person.
- Yoga Meditation – Yoga uses various meditation techniques to draw students inward psychologically and emotionally. These techniques may include chants, mantras, and Transcendental Meditation. The Transcendental Meditation technique is based on the ancient Vedic tradition of enlightenment in India. It is believed that, through yoga meditation, you can open the chakras that lead into yogic powers or siddhis. According to traditional sources, the five siddhis of yoga and meditation are:
Knowing the past, present and future
Tolerance of heat, cold and other dualities
Knowing the minds of others, and so on
Checking the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, and so on
Remaining unconquered by others
There are also other powers that can be achieved. “These powers include items such as clairvoyance, levitation, bi-location, becoming as small as an atom, materialization, having access to memories from past lives, etc.” Trying to attain these powers is not compatible with Christianity.
If you have ever attended a yoga class, you have undoubtedly been exposed to one or more of these practices. The Catholic Church, whose job is to care for souls, cautions us regarding the practice of yoga and the influence of the new age movement. Do your research and get informed when in search of a good exercise program for body, mind, and soul.
 Classical Yoga Hindu Academy, http://www.classicalyoga.org/Modern-%22Yoga%22.php
 Deepak Chopra M.D., What Does Om Really Mean?
 Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D., Larry Payne, Ph.D., Yoga for Dummies, pg. 317
 Wikipedia, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashtanga_Vinyasa_Yoga
 Dr. Marc Halpern, Pranayama, Yoga, and Ayurveda, California College of Ayurveda,
Every class is rooted in Scripture. A short verse is read at the beginning and end of class to emphasize a given theme, such as beauty, goodness, truth, etc.
The instructor begins and ends class with the Sign of the Cross, as this is our custom in prayer. Please feel free to begin and end class and prayer in the way that is most comfortable for you.
There are no prayers to learn, memorize, or say as a group. The entire exercise class is solely led by the instructor.
An icon (painting) of Christ on the cross is in every class. This is important because today’s secular culture attempts to remove Christ’s name, image, and influence from everything around us. In Pietra Fitness, we seek to counter this trend. In our classes, Christ reigns supreme. You will see His image. You will hear His name. It is our greatest prayer that you feel His love.
A particular theme is provided for each workout (i.e. Healing, Joyfulness, Peace, Living in the Present Moment, Trust, etc.) because St. Paul bids us in Philippians 4:18 to focus on that which is true, honorable, just, and pure. The theme is supported by scripture and a couple short meditations during long stretches. The meditations may incorporate quotes from the saints (people who have demonstrated a great love for God and lead exemplary lives of virtue).
Near the end of each class, time is given to reflect on the theme while letting the body completely rest and relax. Sacred music (such as Gregorian chant) enhances this quiet, prayerful time.
The instructor will say a short prayer of intercession to conclude the class (such as “Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us”). Jesus taught us that praying together and for each other is very powerful. Just as you would ask a friend to pray for you, we ask the saints already in Heaven to pray for us.
Q. What is a Pietra Fitness class like?
A. Class begins and ends with brief Christian prayer, and there is a simple meditation read during extended stretching. The majority of the class is spent doing various postures and exercises that promote flexibility, balance, and core strength.
Q. Who is Pietra Fitness for?
A. Pietra Fitness is a wellness program for those who seek full integration of mind, body, and soul. We stretch and strengthen the body while combining our workout with Christian prayer and meditation based on Catholic spirituality. People of all beliefs are welcome to attend. Local classes are currently offered for women only, however our online workouts are available to both men and women.
Q. Is Pietra Fitness “Christian Yoga” or “Catholic Yoga”?
A. No. There are other programs and teachers that call their workouts “Christian Yoga” or “Catholic Yoga”, but Pietra Fitness is not one of them. An exercise program cannot be both because Christianity (coming from Christ) and yoga (based in Hinduism) have fundamental differences in theology and philosophy. Most Hindu and Christian philosophers would agree that “Christian Yoga” is an oxymoron because the practice is not truly yoga unless it incorporates Hindu spirituality and/or worldview. Likewise, Christian activities are firmly centered on Christ. Yoga cannot offer the fullness of a program designed to minister to the human person as he/she is understood within the Christian faith. Christ tells us, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other…” –Matthew 6: 24
Q. Does Pietra Fitness have an official stance on yoga and other practices rooted in non-Christian traditions?
A. Our position is based on that of the Catholic Church. Our goal is to draw from the good and true, wherever it is found and bring it to fullness in Christ. The Church does not forbid the practice of yoga, but it does strongly caution people that there are very real spiritual dangers to be aware of. We should not take this warning lightly. We must get informed and make very intentional decisions based on solid spiritual and intellectual formation.
The Church asks Christians to know and apply their faith. Two documents from the Vatican are great resources for the faithful on this subject:
1. The Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith
2. Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life by the Pontifical Council for Culture & Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
Q. Pietra Fitness has exercises that look like movements I’ve seen in yoga. Why?
A. We believe yoga cannot be separated from its Hindu roots; therefore yoga cannot be part of a specifically Christian exercise program. We also believe that stretching and strengthening exercises can be separated from yoga. Our bodies can only move in certain ways, and yoga has catalogued most of them. Exercises that are healthful to the normal function of the human body can be separated from yoga, in some cases slightly modified, and in all cases renamed. These movements cannot belong exclusively to yoga because God is the architect of the human body and the author of human movement. Many movements found in yoga are naturally found in other activities as well (soldiers doing pushups, runners stretching their hamstrings, a gymnast balancing on one leg, and a dancer easing into a split position, etc.). There are yoga poses, however, that should never be used by a Christian because they are explicitly religious in content (e.g. the lotus pose with “OM” fingers). Pietra Fitness also does not incorporate poses that are unnatural for most people and could be potentially dangerous (e.g., odd twisting pretzels).
Q. I just do the physical exercises of yoga. Why is that bad?
A. Yoga is a mind and body practice developed under Hinduism. The goal of yoga is spiritual enlightenment and immersion with the divine.
If you are doing exercise only, then you are not truly doing yoga at all. You are simply exercising. Many yogis are actually offended when westerners strip yoga of its spiritual elements and still call it “yoga”. Again, doing movements that are found in yoga, is not the same as practicing yoga, which does involve the body, mind, and soul.
Q. Can I do yoga without being affected spiritually?
A. At Pietra Fitness, we emphasize that one cannot regularly practice yoga without some spiritual effect. It would be disrespectful to yogis and naïve of us as Christians to conveniently side-step the inherently spiritual aspects of the practice. Yoga was designed for both physical and spiritual impact, and yoga poses are often chosen and sequenced to open up energy channels or to create an altered state of consciousness. The Church cautions us about this, but she is not alone. Yogis themselves have long recognized the potential dangers of yoga. As stated on yogadvdguru.com,
“The negative side effects of yoga are not always physical. Mental instability can also be a side effect of practicing too much yoga or practicing it incorrectly. Some negative, and severe, side effects can include pseudo death, pseudo psychosis, confusion, increased anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal patterns, depression, homicidal urges, and feelings to self-mutilate. Headaches, temporary blindness, sexual pains, and social issues may also arise. A combination of these symptoms when caused by yoga is typically what is known as Kundalini Syndrome, which stems from performing Kundalini yoga poses incorrectly or too often.”
Many of these “symptoms” are spiritual in nature. As Christians, we believe spiritual forces are either good or evil. Nothing is spiritually neutral. These side effects are certainly not good and do not come from God who loves us and grants us a peaceful spirit. Therefore, at Pietra Fitness, we firmly believe it is imperative to avoid energy work and chakra manipulation.
Q. I am a strong Christian. What if I just filter out the spiritual stuff?
A. Can you accurately explain the spirituality and philosophy of true yoga? If you do not understand it in-depth and cannot thoroughly explain what it is, then you should not rely on your ability to “filter out” what you are receiving.
Q. My doctor told me I should take yoga. I totally trust my doctor. Why shouldn’t I take his/her advice?
A. Your doctor has training in and offers expertise in medicine, not in spirituality. Doctors know that deep breathing, stretching, strengthening, and relaxing are all excellent ways to improve health. When giving advice, your physician does not necessarily consider the religious beliefs of patients or the spiritual implications of a wellness program. Ask your physicians what exercise goals they are advising (flexibility training, strengthening, relaxation, core work, balance, etc). Then find a program, in line with your beliefs, that specifically works toward that end.
Q. I am an instructor at a gym, and I know my yoga class has no spiritual content. No problem, right?
A. If you call your class yoga, there is a problem. First, it should not be called “yoga” if it is simply a stretching class. Westerners must be respectful enough to recognize that yoga is rooted in specific beliefs and philosophies, and it offers an entire way-of-life. When the simple stretching and strengthening postures are isolated from the other important elements of yoga (such as purification & cleansing rituals, controlled breathing exercises, dietary guidelines, spiritual philosophy, etc.), can it accurately be called yoga at all? Second, by calling your class “yoga”, you are potentially encouraging students who love your class to go deeper into the practice. You have no control over what your former students may someday learn at the yoga studio of their choice, but you are partially responsible for sending them there.
Q. I’ve been taking yoga for years and have never noticed anything spiritual about the class I go to. What are some examples of common practices in yoga class that may be a cause for concern to a Christian?
A. One example would be the very common advice to “empty your mind” while meditating in class. God gave us a mind to use – to fill with insights, questions, thoughts, prayers, and aspirations. He should be the supreme center of our minds and hearts. Through science we know that a space is never truly empty: when a void is created, another substance will fill it (even if it is just air). So, when you “empty” your mind in a yoga class, you are making yourself quite vulnerable spiritually. There are forces that are eager to fill the space you so willingly create.
Another example is chanting. Do you have a translation of what you are saying? For instance, there is a Sanskrit chant often used to begin Ashtanga yoga classes:
http://ashtanga4life.com/chants/ (February 7, 2014)
The translation explains that in this chant, one is prostrating himself to the “divine serpent…” This clearly is not compatible with Christianity.
Q. If Christians desire union with God, who is divine, then why do they disagree with the Hindu or Buddhist notion of “union with the divine?”
A. Non-Christian eastern mysticism does not recognize a single, supreme, omnipotent, omnipresent God who created all things and all people. Karma, nirvana, reincarnation, total enlightenment – these are all concepts that conflict with the Christian belief system because they establish divinity as attainable for all creatures. Christians recognize there is only One who is divine. Our spiritual union with Him exists in our relationship with Him. It will never put us on par with Him or blur the lines between Creator and created. We grow closer to Him through Faith, Hope, Charity, and the Sacraments. Christians also believe in Absolute Truth, rather than personal truths, moral relativism, and paths apart from Christ to reach enlightenment.
Q. Why do people want to pray when they work out? Can’t they just separate the two… read the Bible then go for a run?
A. Yes! People can certainly separate exercise and prayer, and there are many legitimate forms of both. Nonetheless, activities that integrate the body and the soul seem innately to attract many people. We are both body and soul. In fact, God teaches that our bodies and souls, once separated by physical death, “will be reunited in the final Resurrection” (CCC 366).
It is quite natural then, for people to desire activities that unify body and soul. Walkers and runners often pray the rosary, for example. St. Benedict believed all labor can be a prayer if we are mindful of God: “Ora et Labora” – Prayer and Work. Combining prayer and exercise is timeless. It helps us to “redeem the time” as St. Paul exhorts us to do in Ephesians 5:16. Praying while we exercise feels good and it helps us to pray without ceasing.
Q. Is Pietra Fitness all I need to get/keep my body and soul in shape?
A. Pietra Fitness is not a complete solution to the quest for a balanced life. Physically, you may need a variety of activities to promote wellness – like walking, running, playing sports, or dancing. Spiritually, you need the sacraments and a well-developed interior life. Pietra Fitness is a tool to use as you work toward balanced living. It complements other forms of prayer and exercise.
Q. How is Pietra Fitness different than yoga?
A. Though some of the physical exercises are similar, the practices of Pietra Fitness and other holistic (mind/body/soul) wellness programs are fundamentally different. There are specific practices that our workouts will never incorporate:
Seeking immersion into the divine and becoming identified with the divine
Emptying the mind or seeking altered states of consciousness
Manipulating energy or doing chakra work
Using Sanskrit or chanting
Practicing postures that are explicitly religious in content (e.g. the lotus pose with “OM” fingers)
Practicing postures that are unnatural and potentially dangerous (e.g. odd twisting pretzels/contortions)
Practicing unnatural breathing techniques
Our format includes important elements of Christian prayer, such as: praise, thanksgiving, petition, and seeking God’s mercy. Further, our physical exercises are drawn from many sources and can be seen in a variety of other fitness activities from track to Pilates, dance, and more.
Q. In the yoga studio I go to, there is a table at the front of the room with statues of Buddha and Hindu deities beside a picture of Christ. As a Christian, I like being able to think about Jesus during my workout, while other students can think about their own religious beliefs. Isn’t this a good thing?
A. “Then God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God…. You shall not have other gods beside me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or serve them.” Exodus 20:1-5a
Though you may seek to serve God alone, in the circumstance you describe there are clearly other gods placed beside Our Lord, and you are physically bowing before them in various yoga postures.
This action indicates acceptance of relativism (a rejection of absolute truth), polytheism (belief in many gods), and/or syncretism (the blending of contradictory beliefs or philosophies). Relativism, polytheism, and syncretism are contrary to the truth revealed in Jesus Christ. Here are two more passages from Scripture to consider:
“What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God… therefore, come forth from them and be separate.” 2 Corinthians 6:16a, 17a
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is Lord alone; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Q. I have rededicated the temple of my body to Jesus Christ. Because I’m a temple for Him, is it OK to still do yoga classes or use yoga DVDs, books, and apps?
A. No. The rededication of a Christian temple indicates the intent of total fidelity to Christ. Willful participation in yoga is participation in an activity based in Hinduism (with connections to Buddhism and the New Age). Just as it would not be right to have a statue of Shiva or Buddha in a Christian sanctuary, so it would not be right to practice yoga as a Christian. Christian participation in yoga becomes syncretism (the blending of contradictory beliefs), which by its very nature is no longer explicitly Christian.
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“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” -1 Corinthians 3:16
“…for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” -1 Corinthians 3:17b
Pietra Fitness is a unique “whole-person” fitness program that integrates physical exercise with Christian prayer while drawing upon the rich and timeless traditions of the Catholic Church. Bodily prayer, sacred art, sacred music, and Christian meditation are woven into the stretching and strengthening workouts so that in only one hour, you feel calmer, stronger, refreshed, and renewed.
The LEVEL I workout revitalizes your body and soul with a combination of floor work, standing exercises, and balancing postures. The transitions between floor and mat-work are quicker and more frequent than in Gentle workouts, and strengthening postures are held for longer periods of time. Level I classes are designed to leave you feeling strong, relaxed, and invigorated. The featured meditation calls to mind the healing gift of God’s great mercy.
What is Pietra Fitness?
Pietra (meaning “rock” in Italian) is a word that reminds us of the importance of a solid foundation when building anything that is to have strength, stability, and longevity. At Pietra Fitness, our “whole person” workouts are built upon this concept. We utilize physical exercise to promote core strength as a solid physical foundation for the rest of the body. For the soul, our workouts include prayer and meditations built upon the strongest of foundations: the rock of Christ and His Church. This powerful combination truly benefits the entire human person – restoring harmony and wholeness to both body and soul.
Read some testimonials to Pietra Fitness at http://pietrafitness.com/testimonials/
Read Catholic articles on the dangers of yoga at http://pietrafitness.com/blog/
They are also available at YOGA-FR EZRA SULLIVAN
1. BRAHMA KUMARIS WORLD SPIRITUAL UNIVERSITY
2. CARDINAL OSWALD GRACIAS ENDORSES YOGA FOR CATHOLICS
3. CATHOLIC YOGA HAS ARRIVED
4. DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-05
5. FR ADRIAN MASCARENHAS-YOGA AT ST PATRICK’S CHURCH BANGALORE
6. FR JOE PEREIRA-KRIPA FOUNDATION-NEW AGE ENDORSED BY THE ARCHDIOCESE OF BOMBAY AND THE CBCI
7. FR JOE PEREIRA-KRIPA FOUNDATION-WORLD COMMUNITY FOR CHRISTIAN MEDITATION
8. FR JOHN FERREIRA-YOGA, SURYANAMASKAR AT ST. PETER’S COLLEGE, AGRA
9. FR JOHN VALDARIS-NEW AGE CURES FOR CANCER
10. IS BISHOP DABRE FORMER CHAIRMAN DOCTRINAL COMMISSION A PROPONENT OF YOGA
11. NEW AGE GURUS 01-SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR-THE ‘ART OF LIVING’
12. PAPAL CANDIDATE OSWALD CARDINAL GRACIAS ENDORSES YOGA
13. U.S. CATHOLIC MAGAZINE ENDORSES NEW AGE-REIKI, YOGA AND ZEN
14. VISHAL JAGRITI MAGAZINE PULLS YOGA SERIES OF FR FRANCIS CLOONEY
16. YOGA IN THE DIOCESE OF MANGALORE
17. YOGA, SURYANAMASKAR, GAYATRI MANTRA, PRANAYAMA TO BE MADE COMPULSORY IN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
1. AUM SHINRIKYO YOGA CULT
2. AYURVEDA AND YOGA-DR EDWIN A NOYES
3. TRUTH, LIES AND YOGA-ERROL FERNANDES
4. WAS JESUS A YOGI? SYNCRETISM AND INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE-ERROL FERNANDES
7. YOGA AND DELIVERANCE
8. YOGA IS SATANIC-EXORCIST FR GABRIELE AMORTH
9. YOGA-A PATH TO GOD-FR LOUIS HUGHES
10. YOGA-BRO IGNATIUS MARY
11. YOGA-FR EZRA SULLIVAN
12. YOGA-MARTA ALVES
13. YOGA-MIKE SHREVE
15. YOGA-THE DECEPTION-FR CONRAD SALDANHA
16. YOGA-WHAT DOES THE CATHOLIC CATECHISM SAY ABOUT IT
17. YOGA-WHAT DOES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SAY ABOUT IT?
1. LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON SOME ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MEDITATION CDF/CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER OCTOBER 15, 1989
2. JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE, A CHRISTIAN REFLECTION ON THE NEW AGE COMBINED VATICAN DICASTERIES FEBRUARY 3, 2003
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-01
2. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-02
3. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-03
4. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-04
5. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-05
6. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-06
7. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-07
8. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-08
9. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-09
10. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-10
11. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-11
12. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-12
13. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-13
14. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-14 VIRGO HANDOJO
15. TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-15 PURVI
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