Due to questions received from our previous two Yoga, Acupuncture and Reiki Therapy issues, we add this third article to clarify and solidify the teachings of the Catholic Church.
First, let’s define the meaning of Yoga. The word Yoga means ‘union”, its goal is to unite ones transitory self, “JIVA” with the infinite “Brahman”, the Hindu concept of God. This God is an impersonal spiritual substance, one with nature and cosmos. Brahman is an impersonal divine substance that “pervades, envelopes, and underlines everything”.
Yoga practice runs rampant in Novus Ordo religious orders, with Novus Ordo Church members, secular institutions, and health clubs under the guise of exercise. On occasion, we also see Traditional Catholics in participation.
Yoga has its roots in the Hindu Upanishads, which tells about Yoga thus: “UNITE THE LIGHT WITHIN YOU WITH THE LIGHT OF BRAHMAM”. “THE ABSOLUTE IS WITHIN ONES 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.
But who is to be followed? Who is the Light? Is the Light Brahman the highest and supreme god of Hinduism--or is it Jesus? “Jesus said: “I am the Light of the world…” (John 8:12)
Here lies a danger if we’re not careful. Do we not already see a multitude of “Catholics” leaving the Church for false religions?
In the BRAGAVAD 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 practice from ignorance to enlightenment. They are:
1. Self-control (yama)
2. Religious observance (niyama)
3. Postures (asana)
4. Breathing exercises (pranayama)
5. Sense control (pratyahara)
6. Concentration (dharana)
7. Deep contemplation (dhyana)
8. Enlightenment (Samadhi)
Did you notice 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 a system of physical exercises, IT IS A SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE, to lead the soul to Samadhi, total union with the divine being. Samadhi is the state in which the NATURAL AND DIVINE BECOME ONE, MAN AND GOD BECOME ONE WITHOUT ANY DIFFERENCE.
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, nothing more than OCCULTISM.
The idea that the divine permeates all of creation--the idea upon which the practice of Yoga is based and towards which it is geared—is PANTHEISM and reprobated by Pope Pius lX, 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)
Here’s what “Father” James Manjackal had to say:
“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 it is only accepting the other cultures. Some have masked Yoga with Christian gestures and call it ‘Christian Yoga’. IT’S NOT A QUESTION OF ACCEPTING THE CULTURE OF OTHERS, IT’S A QUESTION OF ACCEPTING ANOTHER RELIGION…”
There are always a few exceptions, but generally, holistic healers (acupuncture practitioners) believe that illness is a SPIRITUAL condition and they use methods based on OCCULTISM and Eastern religious views.
Acupuncture originates in the belief that the yin-yang flows along invisible pathways in the body called meridians, and that illness results from an imbalance in these forces, or the blockage of these forces. Inserting the needles at certain points is supposed to allow a balanced flow of the body’s yin and yang energies.
Although there are theories that acupuncture works either because the placement of the needles send signals to the brain which release endorphins or because the needles block a pain signal to the brain, these theories have not been proven. Even if these theories prove correct, then the conclusion would be that it is not acupuncture that is working, since acupuncture is based on the idea that relief is coming from the flowing of chi and balancing of yin and yang.
What would be working is the relief of pain through endorphins and the blockage of pain signals. This is NOT the theory of traditional acupuncture. This relief would have nothing to do with chi, meridians, or yin and yang, but rather with biology and a proper understanding of the body.
Catholics should be discerning about practices such as acupuncture that have no medical basis and “exercises” like Tai Chi that are designed based on spiritual beliefs hostile to Christ’s claim to be the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
The fact that such a treatment may work is not good enough reason for using it. Many things in the occult and mystical world seem to work. The standard for Catholics in adopting a spiritually based idea or practice is not whether it works, but will it cause spiritual harm.
We are admonished to “…believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be from God: because many false prophets are gone into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
These words should be taken to heart in regards to many other holistic and alternative treatments as well—Tao, Reiki therapy, etc.
Here’s a response we received from a gentleman from a previous articles on this subject:
“I assure you that I am at peace being both a traditional Catholic and one who would unhesitatingly visit my herbalist in preference to an allopath for any number of problems. As one who daily prays the rosary and wears the brown scapular, I do not expect to rely on prayer and sacramentals (sic) to cure physical ailments.”
First, we would recommend to this gentleman that he rethink his outlook on prayer and the Sacraments. Saying “I do not expect to rely on prayer and the sacramentals to cure physical ailments” is a clear sign he lacks trust in the Lord. We recommend that he read the 91 Psalm, Chapters 9 through 15 to reassure his faith and trust in the Lord and that the Lord will provide. “The Lord will give you everything you ask for, or something better”—St.Bernard
Additionally, it appears obvious that he has no confidence in the Rosary and Brown scapular. He says, “I do not expect to rely on prayer…” We would recommend that he heed what Sister Lucia of Fatima told: “There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot solve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary”.
Pray the Rosary wear the Brown Scapular and keep the True Catholic Faith—ONLY.