Can I take a yoga class as a Catholic if the teacher starts using the Buddhist terms for the poses?

Sure. However, it is important to make the distinction between practice and belief here. Yoga actually grew up in the Hindu tradition (not the Buddhist tradition) and was seen as a total way of life and belief; not just techniques, practices or ideas, but also eating habits, bathing habits, meditation, social interaction, and work. Today, most practitioners of yoga do so for its physical benefits rather than its spiritual connotations. The key here is to be well rooted in your own Catholic faith so that you are able to recognize and make the distinction. Paulist Father Tom Ryan has actually written a book on the subject entitled “Yoga Prayer.” You can check out his insights and advice at: http://tomryancsp.org/books.htm

Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D.

Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D.

The Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D., formerly the Interreligious Affairs specialist at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is now pastor of St. Benedict's Parish in Anchorage, Alaska. Photo Credit: Bob Roller, Catholic News Service (CNS).