'Not of Christian origin': Bishop of Waterford writes to schools criticising yoga in the classroom

'Not of Christian origin': Bishop of Waterford writes to schools criticising yoga in the classroom
Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan. Picture: Tracey Boylan-Fitzgerald

The Bishop of Waterford has written to Catholic schools in his diocese to say yoga is "not suitable for our parish school setting".

In the letter, Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan criticised mindfulness classes saying that these practices were "not of Christian origin".

He said mindfulness has been part of the Christian tradition "since the beginning".

“Christian Mindfulness is not mindlessness but is meditation based on Christ, emptying the mind of everything unnecessary so that we become aware of the presence and love of Christ,” he wrote.

He referenced a homily from Pope Francis in 2015, which the Bishop said made the point that “practices like yoga are not capable of opening our hearts up to God”.

“You can take a million courses in spirituality, a million courses in yoga, Zen and all these things but all of this will never be able to give you freedom,” Pope Francis said.

Yoga, which means union, involves a series of poses and deep breathing that aims to unite mind, body, and spirit.

It was developed in Northern India more than 5,000 years ago.

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