Promoted by @JamesMartinSJ – Jesuits have yoga in church sanctuary at a school

Take a really good look at this, at a Jesuit site on Facebook.

This is yoga in the sanctuary of St. Francis Xavier Church in Manhattan, which also has a well-known High School.   In view is a door that leads to a gymnasium and hall.

This is what Jesuit homosexualist activist James Martin has been promoting through tweets, etc.  “Ignatian Yoga”.


From what I understand, yoga opens you up to demonic attacks.

They are doing this in the sanctuary of the church, where there is a school.

I’ll bet the people involved in this have been howling about school safety and gun control, while they bring this spiritual weapon of the Enemy directly into the sanctuary of the school’s church.  Ironic.

This looks like sacrilege to me.

This is what Jesuits are into these days.

Does any of this seem right or good to you?


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  1. Joy65 says:

    OK I am trying NOT to be uncharitable here but WHAT will this priest have to do to get corrected?

    I mean his words and stand on homosexuality are not in line with Church teaching and this now yoga in CHURCH in the Sanctuary when there is a gym right there.

    God have mercy on us and on the whole world.

  2. Stephanus83 says:

    I fully understand and accept that Priests cannot wear clerics at every hour of the day. However, is it really that difficult to put on a collar when you’re making a public video with the intent to teach the faithful? Uniforms and processional dress affect the way information is received and analyzed.

  3. erick says:

    I have been told that the poses of yoga are the bodily worship of eastern gods. If that is so, would this not be a serious problem in the sanctuary?

  4. teomatteo says:

    whoa…. how come those men aren’t in yoga pants? Fr. Martin?

  5. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Does it seem right? Dear Lord in heaven, no! >=(

    It is an outrage.

  6. Amerikaner says:

    Dear (crazy) Jesuits,
    You have your reward now. But here’s the rub… you will all meet your Lord and will have to give account of your scandalous ways.

  7. rbbadger says:

    Sadly, other religious communities of men aren’t much better. Because I am a priest for a relatively small diocese, the bishop insists that we try to all go on retreat together every year. Where we go is to a Redemptorist retreat house. One of the Redemptorists, now having gone to his eternal reward, was also a Zen master.

    Why a Catholic priest would seek to become a Buddhist monk is something I’ve never fully been able to understand, especially if he comes from a Congregation which was founded by one of the Church’s great teachers on prayer. There is a Zen Buddhist meditation hall on the grounds of the retreat house which is apparently still used.

    The retreats we have had there have been very good. But I am somewhat leery of all the alternative spiritualities at work there.

  8. Uxixu says:

    The permissive heterodox aka Progressive wing of the Church reminds me of the Democrats in 2016 not realizing there’s a cycle and the shoe will one day, sooner or later, be on the other foot…. the meltdown they’ll have with a more traditional pope will be as hilarious as the pathetic tantrums on the political left in the age of Trump.

  9. Sagarpriest says:

    To be fair, I think lots of forms of yoga have been drained of any spiritual content. It’s largely suffered, as Americans can do better than anyone, the fate of being rendered benign. One could make an argument from subtlety, but it seems unlikely. On the other hand, Fr Z., you expect people to know in these days what is a sanctuary? It’s not the “altar area,” which some old fellow is dutifully leaning upon. Nothing sacred here. A desacralized church, and a desacralized exercise practice — fitting.

  10. JabbaPapa says:

    AFAIK when yoga is practiced purely as an exercise régime it is permissible — but when it is proposed as a “spiritual” exercise, it is to be resolutely shunned in principle.

    Even besides the possibilities of demonic influence, that manner of yoga is mind-altering, and comes with a high risk of providing those who practice it with dogmatic and doctrinal confusions.

  11. Amante de los Manuales says:

    It’s disgusting.
    It’s infuriating.
    It’s hurtful.
    (Besides, it looks stupid.)

  12. adriennep says:

    They could be doing the Hokey Pokey around the altar and it would still be just as open to the demonic. The nature of sacrilege.

  13. Julia_Augusta says:

    Doesn’t the Triangle Pose commemorate the Trinity? : )

  14. dbf223 says:

    That sanctuary seems like a pretty cramped spot for yoga. Is there really room for everyone to stretch out? As noted, there is a gym right next door. If I had to bet, I’d say that mass has been said in that gym on any number of occasions, and if you asked, they would give you some long spiel about “sacred spaces”. If a gym or the outdoors is sacred enough for mass, wouldn’t it be good enough for yoga too? It seems very silly to try yoga in the church sanctuary – besides being sacrilegious.

  15. arga says:

    Just browsing this post incited involuntary swearing, before I even had a chance to think about swearing.

  16. Midwest St. Michael says:

    The following (sent to me by a friend) is from section 2.1 of “JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE A Christian reflection on the “New Age” (caps original) [Pontifical Council for Culture & Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue] :

    “Some of the traditions which flow into New Age are: ancient Egyptian occult practices, Cabbalism, early Christian gnosticism, Sufism, the lore of the Druids, Celtic Christianity, mediaeval alchemy, Renaissance hermeticism, Zen Buddhism, Yoga and so on.”

    “A word needs to be said on the notion of paradigm shift {where have we heard that before?}. It was made popular by Thomas Kuhn, an American historian of science, who saw a paradigm as “the entire constellation of beliefs, values, techniques and so on shared by the members of a given community”. When there is a shift from one paradigm to another, it is a question of wholesale transformation of perspective rather than one of gradual development. It really is a revolution, and Kuhn emphasised that competing paradigms are incommensurable and cannot co-exist. So the idea that a paradigm shift in the area of religion and spirituality is simply a new way of stating traditional beliefs misses the point. What is actually going on is a radical change in world- view, which puts into question not only the content but also the fundamental interpretation of the former vision. Perhaps the clearest example of this, in terms of the relationship between New Age and Christianity, is the total recasting of the life and significance of Jesus Christ. It is impossible to reconcile these two visions.”

    Note: the phrase “paradigm shift” is used quite often in section 2.1.


  17. Fr_Andrew says:

    Sadly, that’s quite tame and “conservative” sacrilege, compared to what I saw during my years in Jesuit schools.

    One reason I chose a different vocational “life path” — or whatever they’re calling it these days.

  18. Elizabeth D says:

    Notice that the Jesuits are attuned to the fact that a trad looking church helps sell “Ignatian Yoga” retreats. Even “Ignatian Yoga” retreatants don’t want to do yoga in barren modernist churches.

  19. Kathleen10 says:

    I’ve lately heard the excuse that the poses have been stripped of meaning, and are purely exercise.
    We had a kerfuffle in my family because someone posted a photo of their 8 year old sitting in the lotus position with his hands and fingers held just so, for Eastern prayer. I commented will someone please tell X he’s a Catholic? It opened up a storm gate you can imagine. There’s nothing so vehement as former Christians now promoting Eastern mysticism, God help you if you diss it. Would but they had defended and stuck to Christianity with such force, things would be a lot better around here.
    Yoga is taught and encouraged in schools, and I see it taught to our preschoolers and seniors. It has been successfully passed off as a “non religion”, but that is just so false. Satan can’t know our thoughts, but he can read what we do. Putting ourselves in prayer positions, maybe even positions where we don’t understand the meaning but someone does, seems a foolish thing to do when one believes in supernatural realities. I wish to be in no prayer position that calls on anyone but my Lord and Savior. I have often wished there was such a thing as Christian yoga. Maybe we need something similar, we can call it Christian Yoda.
    Anyway go try to teach a class and put the kids hands in a typical Christian prayer position with head bowed. You’ll get tossed out on your ear, but yoga, it’s all the rage.

  20. lawoski says:

    The teaching of yoga at a Jesuit high school is not a new phenomenon. I attended a Jesuit high school on the west coast in the mid-1980’s where one of the priests taught a class called Christian Yoga. The class was not taught in the sanctuary of the school’s chapel.

  21. rtjl says:


    Well, Dominicans have a way of praying with the body consisting of various prayer postures that is not yoga at all. May I recommend these instead?

  22. Sawyer says:

    Saint Ignatius Loyoga?

  23. Knight from 13904 says:

    I hope Raymond Arroyo covers this story on his show tonight. Ask Fr. Gerald Murray what the heck is going on in this diocese???

  24. rhhenry says:

    Well, seeing as how they’re already contorting themselves doctrinally . . .

  25. hwriggles4 says:

    This reminds me (Yes, Really) of the time our 6th grade CCD class did meditation – it was the late 1970s. We closed our eyes and our instructor led us. As a kid, I didn’t know any better, but I know the difference now.

  26. ejcmartin says:

    Frankly I am surprised that “social justice” warriors like the Jesuits would stoop to such cultural approbation. (One Canadian university refused to offer yoga unless it was taught by someone of Indian decent)

  27. SenexCalvus says:

    Hey, y’all! We’ll be celebrating under-represented faith traditions in an ecumenical service at my faith community’s worship center this Sun Day, and you’re invited! We’ll be sacrificing a kid goat to the god Pan. (Don’t worry, it was organically raised.) But for those of you who don’t believe in higher powers, don’t worry: we don’t either — it’s just community-building. And for those of you who are opposed to killing animals, we’ll be releasing balloons on which we’ve written our dreams for a better future. And for those of you who object to the environmental damage caused by errant balloons, we’re hosting a Pythagorean meditation on the healing power of numbers. And for those of you who object to the patriarchal tyranny of number fact, Father Spadaro will be initiating aspiring yogis into the Orwellian mantra known as “2+2=5”. And for those of you who don’t believe that a non-Indian pseudo-guru has any street cred, well . . . you’re right! But shoot, come on out and join us anyway! It’s all good! At least we’re serving hotdogs, and there will be face painting for the kids!

  28. Paul of St Paul says:

    I was not aware of Catholic concerns about yoga until this post. If Father or readers could spare the time I would appreciate a short post on this subject, or a link to a longer article. As Christian Meditation is popular in my area, any concerns about that too would be welcome.

  29. Gaetano says:

    I am sorry to say that this is not even close to the most heterodox practice at St. Francis Xavier.

    Also note that the altar does not serve as a stabilizer when you can’t maintain balance during a yoga pose.

    Sadly, Xavier High School is the alma mater of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Fortunately, there is not much interaction between the students and the parish.

  30. VexillaRegis says:

    Dear Paul of St Paul, the CAF usually has reliable answers:

  31. bookworm says:

    I don’t see where mere positioning without an explicit purpose of praying is enough to constitute prayer; if it were, then one would be potentially worshiping false gods or demons every time one knelt down to scrub the floor, prostrated oneself to look for something under the bed, etc. That said, yoga or any form of exercise, regardless of its origin, does NOT belong in a church sanctuary.

  32. robtbrown says:

    A distinction must be made between Hatha yoga, primarily a group of stretching and breathing exercise, and Mantra yoga, a method of meditation. A mantra is one word, often of one syllable, that has little or no meaning to the meditator and is intended to empty and open the mind. My mentor John Senior, once a Buddhist, said that if you want to open your mind, you better know what’s going to enter.

    I use certain yoga exercise for my back.

    Hatha yoga in the sanctuary is as appropriate as elliptical trainers annd nautilus equipment there. Both cases are based on a denial of the concept of sacred space, .

  33. Mike says:

    Once one accepts that after Vatican 2 Jesuitism became Teilhardian rather than Catholic, all this makes sense, insofar as it can.

  34. Anne C. says:

    Paul of St. Paul ~ I followed the link given by another reader to Catholic Answers, but it was difficult to find the explanation. I finally found the most comprehensive explanation (which dates back to 2012) here:

  35. Seppe says:

    Dominican Father Ezra Sullivan wrote an excellent and very thorough five-part series on problematic issues associated with the philosophy and practice of yoga and eastern meditation for Catholics which may be accessed at

  36. adriennep says:

    There is a group called Pietra Fitness that does have excellent Catholic/Christian yoga style exercise DVDs. If no one tells you a particular upper back stretch is called the Cobra, and if you are breathing with the Holy Spirit in mind, then no harm. Joseph Pilates used much yoga style movement with innovative calisthenics at early 20th century and created now world famous Pilates. You can’t convince me that is dangerous to the aware Catholic soul. However, beware the seemingly innocent guided-breathing thoughts at your local yoga class at gym. And get out of here with the “Namaste” crap at the end. You could look as foolish as Justin Trudeau.

  37. Bob B. says:

    Reminds me of a couple of years ago. The Jesuit priest saying Mass, after sprinkling Holy Water on all those attending, decided to have a water fight on the altar with the deacon, who “returned fire”. If that wasn’t enough, he turned on the altar servers and showered them, too.
    Having taught in a Jesuit high school for a short time awhile ago, nothing surprises me anymore. Staff expressing pro-abortion, pro-contraception, anti-military rhetoric, no sanctuary lamp, etc., are par for the course.

  38. jaykay says:

    Bob B.: “The Jesuit priest saying Mass, after sprinkling Holy Water on all those attending, decided to have a water fight on the altar with the deacon, who “returned fire”.

    It probably wasn’t even holy water, properly defined. God help us. When we think of the respect that the Apostles had for the Temple, even after its replacement by the Holy Sacrifice, what can we say about the casual, regular, profanation of the real Sanctuary we so often see?

  39. robtbrown says:

    Seppe says:

    Dominican Father Ezra Sullivan wrote an excellent and very thorough five-part series on problematic issues associated with the philosophy and practice of yoga and eastern meditation for Catholics which may be accessed at

    There are more “problematic issues” associated with the Dominicans all but abandoning their own Rite and the suppression of Latin liturgy and Gregorian Chant throughout most of the Church than with a few stretching and breathing exercises.

  40. JabbaPapa says:

    Well said robtbrown — it might be worth adding that the Eastern spiritual teachers themselves also denounce this westernised “spiritual yoga” as being a perverted and dangerous form that should be avoided.

  41. Suburbanbanshee says:

    First off, nobody should be doing anything in the sanctuary that involves exercises. Obviously.

    Second, all that hatha yoga stuff is actually something that late 19th and early 20th century Indians appropriated from the UK, Sweden, the US, Germany, et al. In other words, it’s a modern adaptation of various forms of calisthenics, stretching, and isometric exercise. Indians in the independence movement decided that they needed to train their young men’s bodies for military fitness, and they gave everything Indian names and Hindu significance. Then they pretended it was age-old. Basically, it’s the same reason a lot of people make up “Celtic” or “ancient pagan” stuff.

    Now, of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s a good Christian idea to be doing their Hindu thing. It doesn’t even mean that all the yoga exercises are healthy exercises, because some people are idiots. Heck, one of the sources for yoga was some Scandinavian guy who designed the exercises for the Hitler Youth, in his old age. (And Harvard students too, IIRC.)

    But it does mean that yoga practitioners should really be wearing white Victorian singlets and shorts, and using European names for everything. It’s pretty hilarious.

  42. Suburbanbanshee says:

    (I think the reason you always see Victorian people exercising in white clothes is that you could bleach white clothes more easily. Of course, maybe they wore other colors when they weren’t being photographed.)

  43. David Collins says:

    I agree with AdrienneP. If yoga can open you up to demons, why not “baptize” it, so to speak, and use it to open yourself up to Jesus? Just not in the sanctuary.

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