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Vicars ban 'un-Christian' yoga for toddlers

August 31, 2007 11:30 IST

A children's yoga class has been banned from two church halls in Britain by vicars who said the exercise form is un-Christian.

Louise Woodcock, 41, who was looking for a new home for her Yum Yum Yoga class for toddlers was turned away by the Silver Street Baptist Church and St James's Anglican Church in Taunton, Somerset.

"I couldn't believe it when they suddenly said I couldn't have the hall any more because yoga is against their Christian ethos," she was quoted as saying by The Times on Friday.

Woodcock said that the ban is ridiculous as the classes simply involve music and movement with no religious content.

"I explained to the church that my yoga is a completely nonreligious activity. Some types of adult yoga are based on Hindu and Buddhist meditation but it's not a part of the religion and there is no dogma involved," she said.

"As soon as I mentioned the word yoga the church staff completely changed their attitude," she said.

Woodcock was given permission to use the hall at Silver Street Baptist Church for a children's activity group but Rev Simon Farrar withdrew his consent after discovering it was for yoga, the daily said.

Farrar defended the decision saying: "We are a Christian organisation and when we let rooms to people we want them to understand that they must be fully in line with our Christian ethos.... Clearly, yoga impinges on the spiritual life of people in a way which we as Christians don't believe is the same as our ethos."

The Rev Tim Jones, vicar of St James's, defended his decision saying "any alternative philosophies or beliefs are offering a sham."

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