Malabar church opposes yoga as 'spiritual relief method'

Under the subtitle 'Theological crisis,' the report says that the theology of yoga never goes in unison with the Catholic belief tenets.

Kottayam: The Syro-Malabar Church has objected to the practise of yoga as a “spiritual relief method,” which it says is a physical exercise.

“The Sangh Parivar is trying to unleash Hindutva agenda through yoga and it is against the Christian faith,” according to a report by the chairman of the Doctrinal Commission of the Church, Pala Bishop Joseph Kallarangattu.

Taking a strong stand against the practise of yoga in the institutions of the Church, the report has quoted the authentic documents of the Church, which contain references against yoga, and has asked the faithful to refrain from practising it as “spiritual relief method.”

The report explains the stand adopted by the Church forums, including the pontifical councils, the guideline published by the Viswasa Thirusangam on October 15, 1989 named ‘Orationis Formas’ and the document released by the Vatican in 2003 titled ‘Jesus Christ, the bearer of the water of life: A Christian reflection on the new age, ’ and says these share the anxieties regarding yoga. ‘Orationis Formas’ asks the faithful not to misinterpret the physical reliefs received through yoga as the soothing effect of the ‘Holy spirit.’

“Yoga will not get along with the Christian faith as they teach contradictory lessons in the basic realms, including that of God, sin, prayer, meditation and morality. Under these circumstances, the Church institutions should not be a venue to encourage yoga,” the commission says in its report.

However, there is nothing wrong in practising it as a physical exercise. In a reference against the Hindu ritualistic symbols adopted in yoga, the report says that the clear godly images, world view, rituals, holy texts and pilgrim places associated with Hindu religion make it impossible for the conscience of Christians to imbibe the art form. “The blind imitation will lead to contradictions in the religious perspective as well as in the realm of spiritual experience,” it says. Under the subtitle ‘Theological crisis,’ the report says that the theology of yoga never goes in unison with the Catholic belief tenets.

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