Q. I have been listening to Catholic radio and have heard some commentators talk about why it is a sin to engage in yoga. They say it is the worship of false gods and that Catholics should not engage in the practice. I find yoga helpful for healthy living. Do I have to suspend my yoga practice?
A. No. The practice of yoga is not sinful. It has entered into the mainstream of healthy living and disciplined practices for maintaining a sense of deliberate and sustained nutrition and exercise. That being said, the practice of yoga is associated with a spiritual practice, but it does not have to be. Experiences can have many meanings. We light candles, for example, for church, for celebrations, and for numerous other practices—some of which we might find dubious—but that does not mean we should discontinue lighting candles. We are quite capable of living in a “both/and” world. Not everything is “either/or.”
Q. I dread the resolutions that are part of the expectations for the new year. I make so many promises, and one by one I do not fulfill what I have promised. Just the thought of the promises that I feel that I must commit to fills me with a sense of dread and anxiety.
A. There is no requirement to engage in New Year’s resolutions. It is part of the cultural experience of the new year, but it is not something we have to do. It is also not sinful to make a resolution and not fulfill it. That is an experience of what it means to be human. Some of our best resolutions, even those that would benefit us the most, are hard to maintain. Regardless, we just keep trying.