PRESS RELEASE 22/02/2015
Hindus are urging His Holiness Pope Francis to discipline a Northern Ireland Catholic priest who reportedly linked yoga to Satan.
Father Reverend Roland Colhoun, a priest at Waterside Parish of Roman Catholic Diocese of Derry in Northern Ireland, as reported by Derry Journal, “warned parishioners against taking part in yoga” while saying mass in Drumsurn recently. “Yoga is certainly a risk. There’s the spiritual health risk”, Journal quoted him.
UK’s The Independent quoted him as saying “Yoga leads to Satan” and that he fears it could lead to “The Kingdom of Darkness”. “It’s a slippery slope from yoga to Satan”, RT channel said quoting him.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, stressed that on the other hand, seeing the proven benefits of yoga, it should be introduced in all the schools of the world; stressing that incorporating yoga in the lives of the students would be a step in the positive direction. According to US National Institutes of Health (NIH), yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. A recently released NIH survey report revealed that more Americans of all ages were rolling out their yoga mats in an effort to improve their health and approximately 21 million adults and 1.7 million children practiced yoga.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Rajan Zed pointed out and added that yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche.
Zed indicated that they would also inform Diocese of Derry Bishop, Most Reverend Donal McKeown, about this.