Greek Orthodox Church says yoga is ‘incompatible’ with Christianity

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The powerful Greek Orthodox Church has said that yoga is”absolutely incompatible” with the Christian faith,

Yoga has no place “in the life of Christians,” the governing body of the Church has ruled.

It said it intervened after Greek media recommended yoga as a way to combat stress during coronavirus quarantine. Yoga has been recommended in countries around the world as a way to keep fit and combat stress during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Orthodox Church is an influential organisation in Greece, and 90% of Greeks identify as Orthodox.

“[Yoga] is a fundamental chapter in Hindu religion… it is not a ‘kind of physical exercise’,” the Holy Synod said in its statement this week.

Although it is not unheard of for religious authorities to criticise yoga, correspondents say it is unusual for the Orthodox Holy Synod to issue a public statement on the matter.

Appearing on a Greek TV network on Thursday, an Orthodox priest defended the Synod’s statement.

The church’s opposition is based on the “experience of those who practised yoga”, Father Michael Konstantinidis said, explaining that “if yoga offered what man wanted, we would be happy”.

The ancient spiritual practice has connections to Hinduism and Buddhism.

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