Yoga putting ‘souls in jeopardy’, Donegal priest warns

Fr Padraig O’Baoill also cautions parishioners over ‘contemptible’ tai chi and Reiki

A parish priest in Co Donegal has described yoga and other disciplines such as tai chi and Reiki as “contemptible”.

Fr Padraig O’Baoill made his comments in the latest issue of the Gaoth Dobhair parish newsletter.

“As followers of Jesus Christ we should not partake in deeds that go against our religion,” he wrote.

“Accordingly, you should do not take part in yoga, thai chai or Reiki...Do not put your soul in jeopardy for the sake of these contemptible things.”


A local yoga teacher said Fr O’Baoill’s stance and advice to his parishioners was “ignorant.’

Sean O’Tuathalain, who runs the Yoga Centre in Letterkenny, said he would love to meet Fr O’Baoill to try to understand why he was urging people not to take part in yoga.

“I have to say that this advice appears to me to be coming from a position of ignorance,” he said.

“However, I think priests in general are skeptical of yoga and Reiki. I can understand where they are coming from but I think they need to find out more about these subjects.”

Mr O’Tuathalain suggested that many people in Ireland turned to yoga after the scandal of clerical sexual abuse emerged.

“I know priests such as Fr O’Baoill may feel that yoga may have Hindu connections. But people in Ireland do not practice yoga for religious reasons. They practice it to find inner strength and inner peace and many people have done so,” he said.

Fr O’Baoill, who is currently in Lourdes, has said he will give reasons for his writings in the parish newsletter when he returns.