I am asked periodically what I think of yoga and specifically of Catholics participating in its practice. Here is my response of limited scope:
In 2003 the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Interreligious Dialogue created a working document on the New Age called Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life. Its purpose was to put New Age challenges in context, and to help teachers of the faith in particular to dialog with those in the New Age movement while teaching the truth without compromise.
“Even if it can be admitted that New Age religiosity in some way responds to the legitimate spiritual longing of human nature, it must be acknowledged that its attempts to do so run counter to Christian revelation.” (1.4)
The need to involve the senses in interior prayer corresponds to a requirement of our human nature. We are body and spirit, and we experience the need to translate our feelings externally. We must pray with our whole being to give all power possible to our supplication. (Catechism of the Catholic Church p. 2702)
With Yoga having known Hindu roots and being undeniably of the Hindu religion in expression and experience, it is in no way safe for a Christian to participate in. Yoga is made up of poses for the 330 million Hindu gods. Sometimes in America we get a watered down version and it may even be called Piyo or other (Pilates/Yoga combined), but it is nonetheless, not of Christian orientation at all. Wether you make your coffee strong or weak, it is nonetheless, still coffee!! Get my drift?
We should all love to strengthen, stretch, meditate and relax just as much as the next, but we must choose an expressly Christian, better yet, Catholic approach to it and they're out there.
Furthermore, when we practice yoga, and claim as yet to be faithful Catholics, we give scandal to our fellow Catholics, and ones of especially weaker faith, who may fall away after having followed our example and partaken of the New Age. We cannot risk it and if you pay for attending then you really condone it. Can you imagine a total non-Catholic tithing into our collection basket at Mass? That would be saying something!
Lastly, you might think you can just "take Jesus in there with you" like I used to think, but you have no idea what god the person next to you is praying to or what spirit they might be channeling. I'm totally serious here! We had better acknowledge the unseen amongst us and not pretend it isn't influential.
...so pick up your Rosary beads and strengthen and stretch while you "FIT" in that daily Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy or both!
Note: I produce videos for my clients which address the human need to stretch, strengthen, relax and be at prayer. (Try this one with me https://vimeo.com/205714592.) They are easy to follow and are always faithful to the Church's teachings. I enjoy Pilates which doesn't seem to be of any religious bent and is therefore presumed to be safe to practice. There are others doing good in this arena too. Check out www.soulcore.com as another possibility.
For a much fuller explanation please read this 2 part article below:
PraiseMoves Christian Alternative to Yoga:
Be fit and FAITHFUL always!
“Good Catholic women don’t feel like this. Surely I’m the only one.”
As a mama of four and a three-time overcomer of postpartum depression and anxiety, these words have echoed through my mind countless times. Postpartum depression is so very isolating and deceiving.
I’m happy to know the truth now — that 1 in 7 mothers will develop postpartum depression within the first year after their baby’s birth, that PPD can happen to anyone, and most importantly, that hope and healing are possible.
Whether you're a new mama or a veteran, the first year postpartum can be one of the most beautiful and most difficult of your life.
Real life with a newborn isn't the highlight reel that we see on so many social media feeds. The sweet snuggles, tiny toes, and milky smiles go hand-in-hand with sleepless nights, crazy hormones, and a big dose of "How am I going to do this?!"
Throw in a postpartum mood disorder -- like postpartum depression or anxiety -- and you can feel like you're drowning.
So how do you know if you're experiencing the “baby blues,” or something more? What are the hallmark signs of postpartum depression? And how do you begin to heal?
If you find yourself asking these questions right now, you’re not alone. Here are three facts every mama should know about PPD, and two things you can do to begin to feel better right now.
PPD is not the “baby blues.”
The “baby blues” are a common experience after childbirth, affecting up to 80% of new moms. Symptoms include mood swings, tearfulness, irritability, and anxiousness that usually begin 3-4 days after childbirth. They resolve on their own within 2 weeks postpartum.
While PPD and the baby blues share some of the same symptoms, they are very different. Because it’s an actual mood disorder, PPD is much more serious.
Symptoms of PPD have a wide range and don’t always match our idea of what depression should look like.
PPD can actually begin anytime within the first year after childbirth, and symptoms will last for more than two weeks.
Many women experience depressed mood, drastic changes in appetite, or a loss of interest in their normal activities. Others will also have symptoms of increased anger, feeling “out of control,” or a deep sense of guilt or worthlessness. Often, a mama with PPD has difficulty bonding with her new baby, or will excessively worry about her baby’s safety. And some mamas will also suffer recurring thoughts of death or suicide. (For a detailed symptom list, go HERE.)
The bottom line: if you’re consistently just not feeling like yourself postpartum, then PPD may be an issue. It won't hurt to bring your concerns to your doctor or loved ones.
PPD is not your fault.
It’s so easy for a mama with PPD to beat herself up with the lie that if she just loves her kids more, or if she just prays harder, or if she were just a better mother, then she wouldn’t feel this way.
No! Sweet mama, this is not your fault. There are a myriad of factors that can contribute to a postpartum mood disorder — hormonal changes, life stressors, lack of social support, thyroid problems, and sleepless nights can all wreak havoc on a postpartum mom’s mind and body.
So don’t blame yourself. Instead, ask the Lord to help you to find healing.
Because there’s good news! PPD is treatable.
When I was at my darkest after the birth of my second baby, I was sure that I would be depressed forever. It seemed impossible that I would ever be happy again. If you feel this way, too, take courage!
There are many effective ways to combat PPD. Among them are counseling, medications, targeted supplements (such as with progesterone), consistent exercise, and excellent nutrition — and often, the best treatment is a combination of some or all of these.
It does take time and effort to discover the best ways to treat PPD in each woman. But if you’re suffering now, there are two things you can do to begin to feel better right away.
First, open your heart to your spouse or a trusted friend.
Let them know that you’re feeling badly, that you’re scared, and that you need their support. Just saying the words out loud will bring some peace. There is no shame in needing help, and no sense in carrying your burden alone.
Second, ask a loved one to assist you in seeing a professional.
Something as serious as PPD can be resolved best when under the careful and gentle watch of a doctor, midwife, psychiatrist, or other provider. The sooner you make the call, the sooner you will be on the road to getting the help you deserve. But you shouldn’t have to figure it out by yourself. Tell your loved ones that you need their support in finding and calling a doctor; they can even go with you to the appointment. Ask them to help you today!
Dear beautiful mama, PPD is not forever, and you do not have to go it alone. I’ve been there three times, and from the other side I can say, there is hope — you will be well again!
For more information on postpartum depression and other postpartum mood disorders, see Flourish in Hope or Postpartum Support International.