Church bans yoga after the vicar's wife complains

Church bans yoga after the vicar’s wife complains it’s ‘more like a nice lie-down’ than exercise

  • Rev Dan Brown kicked a yoga class out from Wadsley Church Hall in Sheffield
  • The vicar and his wife claim yoga class in his church is an offence to Christianity
  • Wife Sarah dismissed the session as ‘more like a nice lie-down’ than exercise

For six years they have gathered in their local church hall to calm their minds and gently work their bodies through the centuries-old practice of yoga.

But now the group of middle-aged yogis and their teacher have been booted out by Rev Dan Brown after his wife Sarah decided the sessions were an offence to Christianity and not physical enough.

Mrs Brown joined the class to investigate after her husband became alarmed by references to what he termed ‘Hindu practices’ on teacher Sarah Wilson’s website. 

The group of middle-aged yogis and their teacher have been booted out by Rev Dan Brown after his wife Sarah (pictured above) decided the sessions were an offence to Christianity and not physical enough

During the class the vicar’s wife texted on her phone, did her own exercises and refused to meditate, saying it was against her Christian beliefs.

A yoga enthusiast who insists that the practice should be stripped of its spiritual roots to be a gym-style workout, she dismissed the session as ‘more like a nice lie-down’ than exercise.

Mrs Brown joined the class to investigate after her husband became alarmed by references to what he termed ‘Hindu practices’ on teacher Sarah Wilson’s website. The yoga teacher is pictured above

After being briefed by his wife, Mr Brown emailed Miss Wilson to pull the plug on her class.

He wrote: ‘We find the style of yoga used doesn’t go along with our Christian values or constitution of the Church of England. There are lot of active Christians in the church who attend other yoga groups which are just about the physical exercise without the spiritual dynamic.

‘The church is a Christian venue and cannot be used for other religious practices in the same way you would not hold communion in a mosque.’

The 20-strong class has been forced to leave Wadsley Church Hall in Sheffield and move to a smaller community centre.

Miss Wilson, who also works as a nurse, said she was ‘stunned and outraged’ by Mrs Brown’s behaviour at her class and rejected the vicar’s criticism of unchristian spiritual practices.

She said: ‘We use joss sticks because the church hall often smells of old dinners or bleach. I may do a bit of chanting sometimes but that’s it.

‘The vicar does not think yoga and Christianity are compatible. To me, spiritual practice is about looking after yourself and being connected to nature.’

She added she told a zumba instructor who uses the hall that ‘they won’t be liking you either – swinging your hips in a skimpy top, it is too provocative’.

Class member Lesley Brindley, 57, said: ‘I am a Christian and I do not see a conflict. What’s happened is just wrong. I am going to complain to the bishop.’

Mr Brown was defiant, saying: ‘Yoga exercise was fine but we did not want Buddhist or Hindu practices in the church because it is a Christian building.’

Mrs Brown, an RE teacher, rejected complaints about her behaviour during the try-out session, insisting she was bullied ‘by a room of 20 women’.

She said: ‘I love yoga but this was not exercise. If people want to meditate it is fine, but it is not what we Christians would do.’

The 20-strong class has been forced to leave Wadsley Church Hall in Sheffield and move to a smaller community centre. Miss Wilson, who also works as a nurse, said she was ‘stunned and outraged’ by Mrs Brown’s behaviour at her class and rejected the vicar’s criticism of unchristian spiritual practices

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