Yoga: A Matter of Faith and Interpretation

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By Emily Carter

March 15, 2023

Yoga and Christianity: A Point of Contention

The Syro Malabar Catholic Church’s recent stance on yoga has ignited confusion among Christian believers. The Church’s view that certain yoga poses may conflict with Christian principles has been met with resistance from yoga gurus and practitioners, who argue that yoga is a holistic practice that transcends religious boundaries.

Sr Infant Tresa, a Catholic nun and yoga master, believes the Church’s position stems from a lack of understanding about the practice. She emphasizes that yoga is not merely a form of exercise but a “way of life as well as science” that can enhance both physical and mental well-being.

The Church’s Clarification

In response to the controversy, Syro Malabar Church spokesman Fr Jimmy Poochakkatt has clarified that the Church does not reject yoga as a beneficial exercise. However, he cautions against considering yoga as a path to eternal bliss or a means of reaching out to God.

According to Fr Poochakkatt, the Doctrinal Commission’s report highlights the importance of maintaining a distinction between yoga as a physical practice and its underlying spiritual implications. He acknowledges that many Christian priests and nuns engage in yoga to enhance their well-being.

Yoga: A Universal Practice

Yoga guru S Rajendran emphasizes the universality of yoga, stating that its ultimate goal is to elevate the practitioner’s consciousness and enhance their overall well-being, regardless of religious affiliation. He asserts that yoga can be practiced alongside religious beliefs without compromise.

Sr Tresa’s yoga classes welcome individuals from all faiths, including Christians, Hindus, and Muslims. She believes that yoga can help alleviate mental and physical strains, fostering a sense of well-being.


The debate over yoga and Christianity highlights the interplay between faith, science, and personal practices. While the Syro Malabar Catholic Church has expressed concerns about the potential spiritual implications of yoga, many Christian practitioners maintain that yoga can complement their religious beliefs and enhance their overall well-being. Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to practice yoga remains a personal decision that should be informed by a thorough understanding of both the practice and one’s own faith.


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