A yoga teacher has been told her classes were ‘not compatible’ with Christian beliefs and banned from using the Church hall.
When 54 year old Atsuko tried to book the church hall at Pilton in Barnstaple, Devon, last week, she was told that yoga was not a suitable practice for the Church venue.
Kato, who has been teaching yoga for 25 years, was shocked particularly as one of her classes is attended by a local vicar.
The Mail Online reports: But the church told her yoga cannot be allowed because it does not acknowledge that ‘there is only one God and that… Jesus Christ is God himself’.
Yoga originated in Northern India and has connections to both Hinduism and Buddhism.
But Ms Kato hit back and described the stance as ‘outdated’ and claimed yoga had evolved into an exercise for everyone to enjoy.
She said: ‘In one of my classes I have a female vicar and they don’t seem to have concerns so I struggle to understand what the problem is.
‘I had never done a class in that hall before but I was looking for a new venue and when I phoned around I spoke to Pilton Church Hall.
‘They asked me what I wanted to hire it for and I said to teach a yoga class. They said they can not tolerate it if it was for yoga and claimed yoga was not suitable for a church.
‘They said they weren’t allowed to host yoga classes because they were a church and it was not compatible with Christian beliefs. No other explanation, that was it.
‘I was very surprised by this attitude, yoga is so mainstream now.’
Ms Kato, from Bideford, Devon, said the last time she encountered this ‘attitude’ towards yoga was more than 20 years ago.
She added: ‘This did happen to me about 25 years ago when I was running a class in the Salvation Army hall and was told within a few months I would have to close.
‘Someone complained that yoga was a cult. But that in 1997 and I would have thought we had moved on in our views since then.