A priest from Glendermott parish in Derry has said that yoga and Indian head massages will lead to the "Kingdom of Darkness.”

Fr Roland Colhoun said that people who practice yoga risk being drawn towards the "bad spiritual domain" of "Satan and the Fallen Angels.”

Fr Colhoun told the Derry Journal: "Pope Francis said ‘do not seek spiritual answers in yoga classes’. Yoga is certainly a risk. There’s the spiritual health risk.

"When you take up those practices from other cultures, which are outside our Christian domain, you don’t know what you are opening yourself up to.

"The bad spirit can be communicated in a variety of ways. I’m not saying everyone gets it, or that it happens every time, and people may well be doing yoga harmlessly, but there‘s always a risk and that’s why the Pope mentioned it and that’s why we talk about that in terms of the danger of the new age movement and the danger of the occult today. That’s the fear."

Yoga teacher Evelyn Donnelly, who describes herself as a “good Catholic,” rejects these warnings. Donnelly, who has taught the discipline for more than 15 years, told the Irish Independent that people come to her classes to "learn good posture and breathing to help them with tension in their bodies and to help calm a busy mind.”

"In all the time I have been teaching, not one person has ever expressed an interest going deeper into the spiritual elements of yoga," she said.