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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
Church bans toddlers' yoga group
Yoga teacher Louise Woodcock: photo Apex
Groups using the church hall must meet Christian criteria
A children's group has been banned from a church hall after their yoga lessons were denounced as "unchristian".

Teacher Louise Woodcock from Taunton, Somerset, was told the Yum Yum Yoga classes for pre-school children did not share the church's Christian ethos.

The Silver Street Baptist Church in Taunton said its hall was not suitable since yoga promoted other spiritualities.

Mrs Woodcock said: "There's nothing religious about yoga for babies."

Christian spirituality

"We're talking about kids pretending to be animals and doing exercise routines to rhymes - there is nothing that could damage their minds," said 41-year-old Mrs Woodcock.

"I thought the church hall would be ideal and I told them I wanted to use it for a children's activity.

When we let rooms out to people we want them to understand that they must be fully in line with our Christian ethos
Revd Simon Farrar

"But when I came to book it I told the woman from the church office, it was for baby yoga, and she went all strange.

"I got a letter from the minister a few days later saying I couldn't have the hall, with no reasons given.

"I rang the church office and the woman said it was because yoga was related to a spirituality, unrelated to Christian spirituality, which is ridiculous."

Minister Revd Simon Farrar admitted toddler groups did use the church hall, but said they did had to meet certain criteria.

"We're a Christian organisation and when we let rooms out to people we want them to understand that they must be fully in line with our Christian ethos."

Church turns away yoga classes for parents and toddlers


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