A Christian priest who is yoga guru

A Catholic priest here is busy popularizing yoga, saying it is beyond religion and "truly universal".

Father John Ferreira's latest book, "Health, Wealth and Happiness Through Yoga", was Thursday released by the Archbishop of Agra Diocese, Albert D'Souza, at St Peter's College.

"The book is a primer, aimed at popularising the intricate knowledge of the esoteric science of yoga, which is beyond religion and truly universal," Fr Ferreira told IANS.

"Modern society with its cup full of stresses, and a package of mental and physical ailments, stands in dire need for India's yogic knowledge," he said.Archbishop D'Souza agreed.

"Yoga integrated into the school curriculum will provide a holistic approach to education as a science that not only prepares a student for life but provides the art of living well," he said.

"Joyful living, drawn from the depths of one's own rhythm of life, according to the goal set by the Creator, is the foundation of health, wealth and happiness," he added.

In a message read out at the event, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the Archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, said: "Through the prescribed postures and exercises one improves one's all round sense of well being and is able to enter into oneself so as to commune better with god."

Ferreira, the author, feels yoga has no religion. He himself has been a follower of many yoga gurus and has extensive research to produce the book.

The book includes views of Christian priests who have approved his yoga experiments.

"This is significant since yoga is still regarded by many as basically a Hindu system," he said.

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