10/07/2014 08:51 BST | Updated 10/07/2014 09:59 BST

Irish Priest Warns Parishioners Against 'Contemptible' Yoga, Tai Chi & Reiki

An Irish priest has warned his parishioners against taking part in the “contemptible” exercises of yoga, tai chi and reiki.

Fr Padraig O’Baoill, a parish priest in Gweedore, County Donegal, made his comments made in the most recent issue of Gaoth Dobhair parish newsletter, the Donegal News reported.

Fr O’Baoill said: “As followers of Jesus Christ we should not partake in deeds that go against our religion.

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

Yoga teacher Sean O’Tuathalain told the Irish Times: “I have to say that this advice appears to me to be coming from a position of ignorance.

“However, I think priests in general are sceptical of yoga and Reiki.”

Fr O’Baoill is currently on a pilgrimage to Lourdes and will address the outcry upon his return, the newspaper adds.

It’s not know why Fr O’Baoill objects to yoga classes, though fellow yoga teacher Norah Graham tells the BBC he had previously banned the advertising of yoga classes in the Catholic newsletter and that she was aware he did not approve.

She said the people who regularly attended her classes had “their own beliefs” and religion played no part in her classes.

She added the practice of yoga in Western countries was now “largely divorced” from religious associations.

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