Yoga and Indian head massages lead to Satanism, says Northern Irish priest
A yoga teacher who also describes herself as a "good Catholic" has defended the ancient discipline after a Londonderry priest equated it to paganism - and even Satanism.
Evelyn Donnelly rejected the warning by Fr Roland Colhoun from Glendermott parish who said that practising yoga or getting Indian head massages will lead to the "Kingdom of Darkness".
Fr Colhoun said that while people may go into yoga with good intentions, it will not be long before they are drawn towards the "bad spiritual domain" of "Satan and the Fallen Angels".
He told the Derry Journal: "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."
But Ms Donnelly, who has taught yoga for over 15 years, said she was a "good practising Catholic".
She said most people come to her classes to "learn good posture and breathing to help them with tension in their bodies and to help calm a busy mind".
"In all the time I have been teaching, not one person has ever expressed an interest going deeper into the spiritual elements of yoga," she added.