Catholic Priest In Manila Says Practicing Yoga Increases Risks To Demonic Possession

Have you seen the movies The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) or The Last Exorcism (2010)? They are pretty scary, right? Being possessed by a demon looks like a very nasty experience. The twitching, the scratching, the bedeviled eyes, the screaming, bones that turn to rubber, etc. They make you squirm.

From what we've seen in the movies or read in books, demons seem to pick their victims in random. You get possessed if you happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, a Catholic priest in Manila has come up with an unofficial list of things that might cause a person to be targeted by a demon.

In a talk delivered at the Arzobispo de Manila in Intramuros, Msgr. Jay Bandojo made the claims that you open yourself up to demonic possession if you engage in or believe in any of the following: yoga, feng shui, amulets,astrology, transcendental meditation, lucky charms, fortune-telling, horoscope, spirit of the glass, and cursing. That's quite a list. If you are into any of these things, you have a higher risk of being possessed by a demon according to Bandojo.

In an article on the Philippine Daily Inquirer which brought Bandojo's stance to the fore, Bandojo is quoted saying the following during his talk: "When you practice yoga, you are told to ‘empty your mind’ while saying [the mantra] ‘om,’ so you can feel relaxed. But when you empty yourself, you’re opening yourself to possession. You have to be careful because demons might take advantage of (this) empty [vessel of your soul] and possess it."

Markus Koljonen (Wikimedia Commons)
So where did Bandojo get this idea that demons prefer possessing yoga enthusiasts? Is there a passage in the Holy Bible that says so? There's none. This negative stance against yoga simply stems from the fact that it originated within another religion which is Hinduism.

Here's the thing - this is not the first time that a Christian priest or pastor has said that yoga attracts demons. There's this Irish priest named Padraig O'Baill in Ireland who asked his parishioners to refrain from practicing yoga, tai chi, and reiki. There is this pastor named E.W. Jackson in Virginia in the United States who said that practicing yoga is tantamount to serving Satan. For sure, there are others out there who think just like them.

Of course, there's no evidence backing up the idea that yoga increases the risk of demonic possession. If Bandojo's claims are true, then we should be hearing about thousands of of people in India being possessed by the devil. India is a country populated by over a billion people. Most of them are Hindus. And millions of them practice yoga. Demons should be having a feast over there in India. But that's not happening, is it?