By Bro. Peter Dimond
Since the practice of Yoga is rampant in Novus Ordo religious orders and also secular institutions such as the YMCA, it’s important to quickly discuss what’s wrong with it. Isn’t it just stretching? No. I will quote a Novus Ordo “priest,” “Fr.” James Manjackal, who is very knowledgeable about the subject:
“The word Yoga means “union”, the goal of Yoga is to unite one’s transitory (temporary) self, “JIVA” with the infinite “BRAHMAN”, the Hindu concept of God. This God is not a personal God, but it is an impersonal spiritual substance which is one with nature and cosmos. Brahman is an impersonal divine substance that “pervades, envelopes and underlies everything”. Yoga has its roots in the Hindu Upanishads, which is as old as 1.000 BC, and it tells about Yoga thus, “unite the light within you with the light of Brahman”. “The absolute is within one self” says the Chandogya Upanishads, “TAT TUAM ASI” or “THOU ART THAT”. The Divine dwells within each one of us through His microcosmic representative, the individual self called Jiva. In the Bhagavad Gita, the lord Krishna describes the Jiva as “my own eternal portion”, and “the joy of Yoga comes to yogi who is one with Brahman”. In A.D. 150, the yogi Patanjali explained the eight ways that leads the Yoga practices from ignorance to enlightenment – the eight ways are like a staircase – They are self-control (yama), religious observance (niyama), postures (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama), sense control (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), deep contemplation (dhyana), enlightenment (samadhi). It is interesting to note, here, that postures and breathing- exercises, often considered to be the whole of Yoga in the West, are steps 3 and 4 towards union with Brahman! Yoga is not only an elaborate system of physical exercises, it is a spiritual discipline, purporting to lead the soul to samadhi, total union with the divine being. Samadhi is the state in which the natural and the divine become one, man and God become one without any difference (Brad Scott: Exercise or religious practice? Yoga: What the teacher never taught you in that Hatha Yoga class” in the Watchman Expositor Vol. 18, No. 2, 2001).” (http://www.jmanjackal.net/eng/engyoga.htm)
To summarize, Yoga is a spiritual discipline which attempts to unite one with the divine within oneself and united with all of creation through breathing, physical exercises, concentration, etc.
The idea that the divine is to be sought for and found within oneself is, of course, occultic. The idea that the divine permeates all of creation – the idea upon which the practice of Yoga is based and toward which it is geared – is Pantheism and reprobated by Vatican I.
Pope Pius IX, First Vatican Council, Session 3, Chap. 1, On God the Creator of all things: “The holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church believes and confesses that there is one, true, living God, Creator and Lord of heaven and earth… who, although He is one, singular, altogether simple and unchangeable spiritual substance, must be proclaimed distinct in reality and essence from the world…” (Denzinger 1782.)
God is distinct in reality and essence from His creation. Pantheism teaches that God and the universe are one.
Pope Pius XI, Mit Brennender Sorge (# 7), March 14, 1937: “Whoever identifies, by pantheistic confusion, God and the universe, by either lowering God to the dimensions of the world, or raising the world to the dimensions of God, is not a believer in God.” (The Papal Encyclicals, Vol. 3 (1903-1939), p. 526.)
As an aside, John Paul II himself taught this condemned pantheistic notion in his encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem (50.3), May 18, 1986. He stated:
“‘The Word became flesh.’ The Incarnation of God the Son signifies the taking up into unity not only of human nature, but in this human nature, in a sense, of everything that is ‘flesh’: the whole of humanity, the entire visible and material world. The Incarnation, then, also has a cosmic significance, a cosmic dimension.” (The Encyclicals of John Paul II, p. 316.)
Notice that as he was expounding (as usual) on his heretical belief that Christ is united to each and every man, in this case John Paul II decided to take it one step farther: not only has Christ united Himself with every man, he says, but with the “entire visible and material world.” According to Antipope John Paul II, the grass, trees, rivers, lakes, oceans, etc. were all united with Christ by virtue of the Incarnation. He develops the thought in the next sentence of this encyclical.
John Paul II, Dominum et Vivificantem (50.3), May 18, 1986: The ‘first-born of all creation,’ becoming incarnate in the individual humanity of Christ, unites himself in some way with the entire reality of man, which is also ‘flesh’ – and in this reality with all ‘flesh,’ with the whole of creation.” (The Encyclicals of John Paul II, p. 316.)
Antipope John Paul II was a Pantheist. In Pantheism, the world and God are a single thing.
A Catholic Dictionary, by Attwater: “Pantheism – A false philosophy which consists in confounding God with the world. According to some the world is absorbed by God (Indian pantheists, Spinoza); others teach that God is absorbed by the world of which he is the force and the life… But all [Pantheists] seek to establish an identity of substance between God and the world.” (A Catholic Dictionary, by Donald Attwater, p. 366.)
The Catholic Encyclopedia: “Pantheism, the view according to which God and the world are one.” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 11, New York: Robert Appleton Co., 1911, p. 447.)
Since, as we saw above, the practice of Yoga is based on the idea of union with the divine within oneself and within all of creation, the practice of Yoga is therefore an expression of belief in the condemned pantheistic heresy that God and His creation are a single thing. Truly practicing Yoga, therefore, is practicing a false religion and expressing belief in a false god. The conservative Novus Ordo priest I quoted above, who is outraged by the rampant practice of Yoga in “Christian” and “Catholic” circles, summed the situation up quite well:
“The practice of Yoga is pagan at best, and occult at worst. This is the religion of antichrist and for the first time in history it is being widely practiced throughout the Western world and America. It is ridiculous that even yogi masters wearing a Cross or a Christian symbol deceive people saying that Yoga has nothing to do with Hinduism and say that it is only accepting the other cultures. Some have masked Yoga with Christian gestures and call it “Christian Yoga”. Here it is not a question of accepting the culture of other people, it is a question of accepting another religion...” (http://www.jmanjackal.net/eng/engyoga.htm)
Yet, the Monastery of the Holy Spirit offers a special “Fundamentals of Yoga and Christianity” Retreat. (http://www.trappist.net/newweb/enews_03_18_05.html)
The Carmelite Spiritual Center in Darien, Illinois offered a “Living Your Light” Yoga Retreat. (http://www.carmelitespiritualcenter.org/living-light.asp?a=retreats)
The “Catholic” Ecclesia Center in Girard, Pennsylvania – which is approved by the Diocese in which it resides, as I personally confirmed – includes on its staff a Yoga instructor!
“Michael Plasha is a credentialed Yoga Therapist and a Yoga Alliance registered teacher… He has also trained in Zen and Vipassana meditation. Since 1980 Michael has taught over 3,000 classes in yoga and meditation… Yoga … is a non-dogmatic approach to union with the Divine presence within everyone.” (http://www.ecclesiacenter.org/staff.htm)
Notice that the Ecclesia Center admits that Yoga is an approach to the Divine presence “within everyone,” thus proving that it’s rooted in and directed toward Pantheism and the occult. The website also states that Ecclesia Center “provides spiritual renewal to persons of all faiths.” (http://www.ecclesiacenter.org/index.htm) This is total apostasy, fully approved by the Diocese.
Other examples could be given, but the evil practice of Yoga is so rampant at “Catholic” monasteries that Budget Travel Online actually advertises for it!
“More than 2,000 monasteries, abbeys, and spiritual retreat centers are scattered throughout the United States and Canada. About 80 percent are linked to a religious order. But most take a more ecumenical, interfaith approach to accommodate this increased interest. “In the old days if you were a Catholic retreat center, you advertised yourself that way. Now most of them want everybody to come,” Stone says. Many places offer yoga, Buddhist thought, prayers of all sorts.” (http://www.budgettravelonline.com/bt-dyn/content/article/2005/06/04/AR2005060400391.html)
All of this is more proof of the Great Apostasy. As even the Novus Ordo “priest” said: “this is the religion of antichrist…”