What is Yoga?
1. A school of Hindu philosophy advocating and prescribing a course of physical and mental disciplines for attaining liberation from the material world and union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.
2. Any of the methods or disciplines prescribed, especially a series of postures and breathing exercises practiced to achieve control of the body and mind, tranquility, etc.
3. Union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.
OM~Hinduism-A sacred syllable typifying the three gods of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, who are concerned in the threefold operation of integration, maintenance, and disintegration. (The word OM is frequently used in Tony Horton’s P90X fitness program.)
Namaste~A conventional Hindu expression on meeting or parting, used by the speaker usually while holding the palms together vertically in front of the bosom.
Note: Father Ezra specifically cautions us not to repeat either of these words in the environment of practicing Yoga.)
Yoga is incompatible with Catholicism because the best known practice of Hindu spirituality is Yoga. “Inner” Hinduism professes pantheism, which denies that there is only one infinite Being who created the world out of nothing. This pantheistic Hinduism says to the multitude of uncultured believers who follow the ways of the gods that they will receive the reward of the gods. They will have brief tastes of heaven between successive rebirths on earth. But they will never be delivered from the “wheel of existence” with its illusory lives and deaths until they realize that only “God” exists and all else is illusion (Maya). To achieve this liberation the principal way is by means of concentration and self control (yoga). Hardon, John A. “Ask Father Hardon.” The Catholic Faith 4, no. 2 (March/April 1998): 54-55.
It should be noted that the former chief exorcist of the Vatican (Father Gabriele Amorth) has been quoted saying “all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation” and “practicing yoga is satanic, it leads to evil…” It is clearly a danger to assume yoga postures, because “the best known practice of Hindu spirituality is Yoga”. Hence, all Catholics should proceed with a great deal of care, lest we fall prey to the snares of evil.
Yet despite caveats given by clerics who have dedicated their lives to knowing Christ and His Church, men and women of all ages flock, uninformed and incautiously, to yoga centers throughout Milwaukee. This kind of blithe approach to yoga is dangerous.