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Vicar bans yoga from church

Vicar bans yoga from church

Publication: Sify News
Date: November 21, 2002

An English vicar has banned yoga from his church because he fears the exercise classes could lead participants on a path to "eastern mysticism", The Telegraph reported today.

The Rev Richard Farr, of St Mary's in Henham, on the Essex-Hertfordshire border, said he had enforced the ban after Tom Newstead, the yoga instructor, had confirmed that the ultimate aim of yoga was to enable participants to "ascend to a higher spiritual plain".

"We are here to tell people about Jesus and his exclusive claims. It seems completely inappropriate that we should give someone a platform who is advocating different spiritualities," Farr told The Telegraph.

Newstead, whose classes included several members of the congregation, was said to be "stunned" by the ban.

Yoga, based on an Indian system of exercise and philosophic meditation, has supporters in the medical profession who say it can relieve stress as well as help with spinal and muscular ailments.

Howard Kent, founder of the Yoga for Health Foundation, rejected Farr's stance, pointing out that a Benedictine monk was one of the organisation's instructors and that clergymen were among "our most enthusiastic members". "It does involve an approach to life but it is not one that in any way interferes with Christian teaching," he said.

The ban on yoga will stay, Farr insisted.

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