Hindus urge Pope Francis to ‘discipline’ Derry priest who warns of risk involved in yoga
Derry Journal Northern Ireland
Monday 23 February 2015
Hindus are urging Pope Francis to ‘discipline’ a Derry priest who warned parishioners against taking part in yoga and having Indian head massages, writes Sheena Jackson.
Fr. Roland Colhoun, who is based in the Waterside, issued caution when saying mass in Drumsurn two Sundays ago, when he says he was drafted in at short notice. He said his sermon was based on the devil and exorcism.
“I mentioned a number of things that are part of the new age movement. It’s so embedded in our culture now that it has gained a kind of a respectability, but the new age practices, they’re certainly not good for us and the Church is very concerned about people employing them and has written specific documents on the new age movement. There is a great body of research (theological, spiritual and physiological) already done on it,” said Fr Colhoun.
“Pope Francis said ‘do not seek spiritual answers in yoga classes’. Yoga is certainly a risk. There’s the spiritual health risk. When you take up those practices from other cultures, which are outside our Christian domain, you don’t know what you are opening yourself up to. The bad spirit can be communicated in a variety of ways. I’m not saying everyone gets it, or that it happens every time, and people may well be doing yoga harmlessly, but there‘s always a risk and that’s why the Pope mentioned it and that’s why we talk about that in terms of the danger of the new age movement and the danger of the occult today. That’s the fear.”
Fr. Colhoun said yoga or Indian head massage “don’t have their origins in Christianity”.
The comments have sparked a global reaction and, on Sunday, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) said: “Hindus are urging His Holiness Pope Francis to discipline a Derry Catholic priest who reportedly linked yoga to Satan”.
Read more at the Derry Journal
It has been suggested that excessive meditation such as in westernized forms of Yoga can “rewire” or change the brain, see:
Meditation and Neuroplasticity: Five key articles
Neuroplasticity – the change of brain structures as a result of experience – is considered to be one of the most important discoveries of neuroscience. Over the last 10 years evidence has been growing that not only the acquisition of navigational knowledge by London Taxi drivers (see video) or learning a new motor task like juggling (see article), but also meditation practice can lead to significant changes to brain structures. Here I respond to a recent request and list five key articles on that topic.