Church calls for rereading of yoga

April 04, 2018 11:35 pm | Updated April 05, 2018 04:41 pm IST - KOCHI

 Nuns practising yoga at a training session at St Joseph’s Convent at Kunnamthanam, near Thiruvalla.

Nuns practising yoga at a training session at St Joseph’s Convent at Kunnamthanam, near Thiruvalla.

The Syro-Malabar Church has called for a rereading of the role of yoga. The Syro-Malabar Doctrinal Commission says in its report that Christians are forced to reread the role of the traditional physical and mental regime in the context of the Sangh Parivar trying to exploit yoga to achieve its political and communal goals. The report is posted in the latest bulletin of the Mananthavady diocese of the Church. The need for a rereading of yoga has intensified with a government move to make yoga compulsory in schools and to present it as an inseparable part of the Indian culture, the commission said.

The commission observed that there was no role for God, the creator and sustainer, in yoga even while it took into consideration the spiritual experiences of human beings. It said studies tended to show yoga as prevailing in the pre-Buddhist, Jain and Hindu periods. Though yoga may have originated and grown out of secular traditions in India it later spread under the influence of the Hindu religion under Brahminical dominance. Yoga thus acquired the hues of Hindu religion, the report said.The report went on to point out that recent Pontifical council directives had pointed out to the danger of physical gestures and exercises becoming idolatrous in themselves if proper care was not taken. They can also stand in the way of one’s soul being lifted up to God. These documents also warned against equating the physical experiences stemming from yoga with the workings of the Holy Spirit, the commission headed by Joseph Kallarangatt observed.

The Church, in its Catechism for Youth, placed yoga in the “secretive” category of practices and said that yoga did not go in harmony with the Christian faith.

At the same time, the Catholic Church did not approach yoga with the view that all eastern modes of worship were improper or bad. If training regimes that aid the working of the Kingdom of God can be discovered in Indian culture it would be a great asset, said the Commission headed by Joseph Kallarangatt.

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