HOUSTON A new yoga exercise has quickly gotten widespread popularity and controversy, as some religious leaders say it ssacrilegious and can even lead to devil worship.

At a neighborhood church in Hunters Creek Village, one evening bible class is trying the new exercise called Holy Yoga.

Inhale your palms together, exhale, hands to heart center, said Holy Yoga class instructor Gail Casson to begin the class.

EvaStockett, a mother of six, says it s a different prayer she uses to escape from her crazy life.

The class continued with yoga stretches as the instructor recited biblical verses. Holy Yoga incorporates biblical verses, which are recited and meditated on during the traditional yoga exercises.

Some Christian leaders say there s nothing holy about it, going so far as to say Holy Yoga may be a gateway to demonic practices.

Should Christians stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots? Totally. Yoga is demonic, said Mark Driscoll.

Driscoll, a pastor at Seattle s megachurch, Mars Hill, made national headlines when he talked about yoga last month.

If you sign up for a little yoga class, you re signing up for a little demon class, said Driscoll. That s what you re doing and Satan doesn t care if you stretch as long as you go to hell.

Tammy Blalack, a participant of Holy Yoga, couldn t disagree more.

I think it s appalling, I can t imagine how demons could leak in when we re hearing the Word, said Blalack.

But some religious leaders say yoga is Hindu-based, a religion that believes in many gods.

The Southern BaptistTheologicalSeminary said Christians who practice yoga are being paganistic.

There s nothing evil about yoga, said class participant Angie Schwartz. I love it and I think thateverybody should try it.

She and many other Holy Yogaclass participantssaid they re listening to their own hearts.

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