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!