Furore as US pastor calls yoga demonic A pastor in the US has caused a stir by calling yoga "demonic" and asking Christians to stay away from its practice. Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll said that yoga was an agent of Hinduism and hence demonic. His comments came during a question answer session with church members. "Should Christians stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots? Totally. Yoga is demonic. If you just sign up for a little yoga class, you're signing up for a little demon class," Driscoll said. An estimated 15.8 million people practise yoga in the US and yoga studios are coming up in many cities. The pastor's comments have enraged many yoga practitioners and come in the backdrop of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky terming yoga as against Christianity. Father D. Emmanuel, spokesperson for the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, dismissed Driscoll's views as personal and not the official stand of the Church. "The Church in India does not feel that yoga is demonic. Many in western countries do not understand what yoga is or how it helps," Father Emmanuel told Headlines Today. "There is a view in some churches that yoga is anti-Christianity. While it is a Hindu practice, it is certainly not anti-Christianity or demonic. One can be a practising Christian and still do yoga," he said. Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said misinformation about yoga was being spread by fringe elements. "The fringe elements have always called yoga demonic. We have faced it for so many years. Twenty years ago, even Hindu religion used to be considered as part of demonic culture," Ravi Shankar said. "Yoga on the contrary kills stress, violence and hatred. How can it be called demonic?" he asked. Yoga expert Baba Ramdev said thousands of Christians around the world had taken to yoga as a form of good health. "They look at yoga as a life science rather than associating it to Hindu religion. Fringe elements exist in every religion, but they cannot dictate the beliefs of the people at large," Ramdev said.