Sydney church to ban yoga due to 'spiritual confusion'

Yoga has been deemed too unholy for some Sydney churches, not because of the poses used in the fitness program, but because of its links to Buddhism.

 

Church officials believe some of the chants used in yoga may lead to "spiritual confusion".

For many it's a weekly routine, a good way to relax the mind and stretch out. But could it be sacrilegious?

From the end of June, the Erskineville Anglican Church will ban yoga classes, citing a 2015 report that found it could breach the first commandment of Christianity.

Could yoga be sacrilegious? Photo: 7 News

"It really comes down to the meditation and the mantras that people might chant in the course of the yoga class," South Sydney Anglican Bishop Michael Stead said.

"They might be chanting things which actually have a religious connotation without realising what they are."

Erskineville Anglican Church will ban yoga from the end of June. Photo: 7 News

"It's a particular class, which is a particular form of Hindu spirituality, which is problematic for us," Bishop Stead said.

Mary-Louise Parkinson from the Yoga Teachers' Association said it was a "bit of a rash decision" prompted by "fear rather than understanding."

The church stance on yoga is "a bit rash", according to Mary-Louise Parkinson. Photo: 7 News

The Yoga Teachers' Association feels the church's connection is a stretch.

"The way that we practice yoga and the whole intention has nothing to do with religion," Ms Parkinson said.

"The way we teach yoga has nothing to do with religion," Ms Parkinson said. Photo: 7 News

"The directive comes from a meeting of the church social issues committee that found people may be worshipping 'false gods' in a whole range of activities".

Those activities also include Tai Chi and dragon boat racing.

However the church said these are okay - within reason.

Anglican Bishop of South Sydney Michael Stead. Photo: 7 News

"If people are chanting something, perhaps in a different language, and they don't even know what they're chanting, and perhaps there is a spiritual dimension to that - we do want them to exercise discretion in that," Bishop Stead said.

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