Yoga classes banned

Published December 1, 2001


Concerned about yoga’s links to eastern philosophy, churches in Slovakia have welcomed a government decision to shelve the introduction of yoga classes for children at state schools.

Slovakia’s education minister suspended the plans after discussions with leaders of the country’s Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches.

Government sources said at least 400 teachers had been trained by the Yoga in Daily Life society to introduce the Hatha Yoga system on a voluntary basis at gym sessions in primary and secondary schools starting in September.

But church leaders believed that the plans threatened Christian culture. Yoga, which combines Hindu mystic and ascetic disciplines, teaches liberation of the self and union with the “supreme spirit,” but is better known in Europe and the United States for its breathing and meditation exercises.

The Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference issued a pastoral letter describing yoga as “a path to total atheism” and saying that Slovak Christians did not need to “search for some dubious substitute faith.”


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