I'm A Christian Who Practices Yoga And That's Okay

I'm A Christian Who Practices Yoga And That's Okay

Yoga and Jesus: Is it possible?

818
views

I have a confession: I am a Christian who practices yoga daily. I even teach it twice a week. It may not seem like a big deal, but to some, my yoga practice is considered demonic or blasphemous to my faith. I understand why other Christians hold this belief. Yoga is rooted in the Hindu and Buddhist tradition. Christians do not believe in actively practicing any other religion but Christianity, and monotheistic doctrine is 100% scriptural.

But, it is important to remember that in today's Western culture, many of the specifically religious parts of yoga have been stripped to offer a more inclusive approach to the exercises. To be honest, I have never attended a yoga class in which I felt pressured to conform to the ways of another religion. Yoga teachers see the melting pot of races and religions that walk into the studio every day and know that they have to make class inclusive or they won't have any students! I like to compare yoga to the Christmas tree. Christmas trees definitely have pagan origins, but Christians across America put up a Christmas tree to celebrate Jesus' birth. Although we are aware of the original purpose of the tree, we are also aware that such old traditions mean very little to society today. Yoga is a similar situation.

Most Christians who practice yoga know of its origins but also understand that hundreds of years have separated the practice from its original intent.

When I take a yoga class, I have a very specific mindset that I try to enter each time I approach the mat. This has very little to do with "altering my spiritual state." It's more about making sure that I'm getting the most out of each stretch and breath physically so that I am maintaining emotional regulation. All of these benefits, of course, extend to my spiritual life as well. Because my Christian walk is a part of everything I do, Christ has really, truly blessed me in my yoga practice. When I'm going through a flow, I pray, I seek answers, I ask questions. I get to focus on how God holds together all of my operating systems: physical, mental and spiritual.

Yoga is literally medicine. Doctors are starting to prescribe it like a pill. Here are just a few of the countless benefits of having a regular yoga practice:

- increased flexibility

- more effective circulation

- weight loss

- boosts immunity

- better focus

- increased oxygen intake

- sinus relief

- depression/anxiety relief (lots of serotonin!)

- better posture

- natural pain relief (even for menstrual aches and pains!)

- improved metabolism

- lowers blood sugar

- supports connective tissue

-maintains the nervous system

- releases physical and emotional tension

- relieves drug withdrawal symptoms

- prevents loss of bone and cartilage

- increased strength

- relieves insomnia and other sleep problems

For me and millions of others, the amazing benefits of yoga happen not because of calling on any other deity, but because of the strengthening and relaxation that happens when you go through the physical act of yoga. Of course, this physical positivity changes my emotions and spiritual posture with God, but for the better! I walk away physically invigorated, emotionally purged and spiritually more in tune with my Father's voice.

I think that's a really cool thing to experience, but it's not for everyone, and that's okay! If you're a Christian and do not feel inclined to start a yoga practice, that is valid! No true yogi would ever try and force a practice on anyone! But, it's hard to see a lot of my Christian friends bash yoga as "a practice from Hell" or "a way to open up portals" when it's been a Godsend for so many people ailing from things they never thought they would find relief from.

God, through the redemptive grace of Christ, is in the business of making all things new (Revelation 21:5). He can turn ashes into something of magnificent beauty, and I believe He can do it with yoga. Looking back, I can see how God has given me discernment with my practice to know how to worship and serve my God in yoga without compromising my heart in the process. Because of God's clear direction in my life, maintaining my spiritual integrity in yoga has not been hard.

I totally understand that an 800-word article may not change anyone's mind, and that's okay! I just ask everyone who might disagree with me to take into account not only all that I have said, but all that God says in Scripture, and use discernment to make a decision for yourself. I think that's really the heart of yoga today: asking others to consider a different way of observing life while staying completely true to themselves and what they believe.

Blessings.

Popular Right Now

17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
592217
views

We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

To The Christian Girl Against Feminism, Religion Isn't An Excuse Not To Fight For Equality

Religion is not an excuse to not fight for feminism.

41
views

When I first read the article "I'm A Christian Girl And I'm Not A Feminist..." I thought it had to be a joke. Unfortunately, it was a sad reality.

I am a privileged white female. I came from a middle-class family with a law-enforcement father. I still am smart enough to realize we NEED intersectional, no strings attached, unconditional feminism. Anyone who disagrees is just wrong. In this case, the author is trying to base her outdated sexist beliefs on the Bible, and I am appalled.

At first, I thought it was a joke, I genuinely read the title out loud to my father and even he said it had to be a man pretending to be a woman. As I read the article I realized that sadly this is a girl who has had religion corrupt her life.

Religion can be a beautiful thing, it can change lives and give people hope that they need. I have heard countless stories about how finding a god has made people better, and that is incredible. However, using religion to say women don't deserve the same as men is absolutely absurd.

Part of me wants to scream in her face that she can't be ok with being a victim, another part of me wants to throw my hands up and give up on her and like-minded individuals. However, in a time like ours where women are coming so close to being equals, I can't sit down or act irrationally.

So here are the facts:

1. Women who work fulltime only make 77% of men's salaries on average. African American women only make 64 cents per dollar and Latina women only make 56 cents per dollar. Imagine being just as capable and trained just as well but a guy makes more money than you because he has a penis.

2. One in three women around the globe has experienced sexual violence. ONE IN EVERY THREE. YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY SURVIVORS. If women were considered equals that would not be the case.

3. Only 24% of high-level management positions are held by women. That's worldwide. 195 countries. Let that sink in. This isn't because women aren't smart either, 60% of all United States college degrees are awarded to women.

4. Women are not allowed to vote in many places, like Saudi Arabia or the Vatican. Imagine not having the right to vote! YOU GET NO SAY IN ANYTHING.

You can thank women for your right to work, vote, get an education, practice a religion that you chose, a range of professions, windshield wipers, bras, dishwashers, diapers, need I go on?

Women are strong as hell and your misinterpretation of an outdated book does not dimish all of the amazing things women have accomplished and will continue to accomplish.

To quote one bad bitch, "Power's not given to you. You have to take it." — Beyoncé Knowles Carter.

Now ladies let's get into our feminist formation and fight for our rights!

Related Content

Facebook Comments