Patriarch and senior bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church have declared yoga to be “completely incompatible” with the Christian faith, saying it has more to do with the Hindu religion than physical exercise.
Yoga has no place “in the life of Christians,” the church’s synod, or governing body, ruled in response to Greek media outlets recommending yoga to deal with stress during coronavirus quarantine, the BBC reports.
“[Yoga] is a fundamental chapter in Hindu religion … it is not a ‘kind of physical exercise,'” the Holy Synod declared in a statement this week.
The church’s declaration is based on the “experience of those who practiced yoga,” Father Michael Konstantinidis told Greek media. “If yoga offered what man wanted, we would be happy,” he said.
Yoga is practiced mostly as a physical exercise by roughly 300 million people around the world, according to the International Yoga Federation.
At an event last year, Metropolitan Nektarios of Argolis warned people about the “dangers” of doing yoga, saying, “We make a confession to God. This is the same thing that people do during yoga,” The U.K. Times noted.
Yoga involves “Pranayama,” or breathing exercises involve, in some forms of it, the chanting of “Om,” a mystical Sanskrit sound that is considered sacred in Hinduism. However, some believe that the religious part of the original yoga can be adopted or customized by people of other faiths as per their own beliefs.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Anugrah Kumar