If you are wondering, "can Christians practice yoga?...the answer is ….Yes!
If you know what your Intention is!
There are many misconceptions as to why a Christian can or cannot practice yoga.
As with anything, it is a matter of intentionality.
What are you meditating, contemplating, or dwelling on?
What are you setting your heart and mind toward?
Scripture says, whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God
(1 Corinthians 10:31).
Colossians 3:23 reads, "
Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others."
Sweet souls, do you have some apprehension or even fear about yoga...
Good News!! You don't have to because, as Colossians 3:23 says, the Lord sees your heart!
Never let fears or misinformation stop you from becoming curious about new and exciting experiences!
I encourage you to look to the Word of God for yourself and find out what the real deal is!
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
I perform for an audience of ONE!
Your yoga practice, centered on Christ, can be your worship in action and your faith and prayers in motion.
"Love The Lord with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your soul, and all of your strength."
Scriptures declare worship and adoration with the "whole self." Body, mind and spirit!
I love doing the Lord's prayer through Sun Salutations!
So What is Yoga!
Religious leaders that practice yoga as part of Hindu and Eastern religions typically make separations between "real" yoga guided by a guru for spiritual enlightenment vs. merely physical postures that might still give body-health benefits. Yoga is set apart from any other physical activity as a mind, body, and spirit practice because yoga creates a space for holistic wellness. The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits are all-embracing.
Yoga is defined as a union, to unite or to yoke. Not only do we unite our postures with our breath and our practice with our lives, but many yogis choose to combine our faith with our yoga practice. I have used yoga, meditation, and times of stillness to reflect on God and as an act of worship. However, yoga is not a religion, nor do you have to be religious to practice yoga. Many use yoga to align, lengthen, and strengthen our body with yoga because yoga's physical benefits are for real.
Personally, yoga is the reason my legs stopped hurting! After going through some pretty serious chemo to fight stage 3 cancer, I experienced neuropathy from the tip of my toes to right above my knees. I tried walking for miles to get some feeling and circulation into my aching legs without much relief. But when I started taking yoga classes, feeling gradually began to return.
Surprisingly I also found peace and comfort on my mat. I was able to connect with God in the quiet and stillness of this beautiful practice.
Let's Go to Church!
So what does that mean for this Christian yogi?
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." – Psalm 139:13-14
In this Psalm, David exclaims that this process of human creation is wonderful! His soul couldn't help but revel at this, in awe and wonder.
When I go to my mat, I think about the benefits I'm providing for my body, but I am also set my Intention on praising and communing with my heavenly Father.
I set my Intention on Him!
There are plenty of people who practice physical yoga poses for the body benefits. And some who use yoga as a way to honor and praise God as I do. Whatever speaks to me is okay!
Again, I perform for an audience of one!
As a believer in Jesus Christ and a person who actively seeks a relationship with Him, I can be in a yoga studio that doesn't practice Christian yoga. I am confident that I have a hedge of protection.
When I go into child pose, I feel I am in the shelter of His protection.
When I go into warrior 2 pose, I feel Him lifting all my burdens and filling me with His Spirit
(shining my heart forward)
Why Yoga? My way.
Inhale Him, exhale me.
Because our God is the one true God, He places us where he can reach us.....because he actively pursues us. He has taken me on this path for physical and emotional healing, and I embrace it wholeheartedly.
For His reason, God has put me on this path. I know HE will provide the safety of Spirit and mind.
"16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple."
Where I draw my line......
When we take care of ourselves, we are honoring and glorifying Christ.
I don't and wouldn't accept spiritual leadership from anyone teaching traditional yoga with a "spiritual" twist other than Christianity. I am grateful for their knowledge of my body's health, and I accept their instruction in this capacity. When I offer a yoga class, my teaching is Christ-centered. Christian scriptures teach that the physical body is a temple for the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus.
Only the Holy Spirit is divine (because He's God!).
Sweet Soul, Christians also don't believe you need to achieve an extra level of enlightenment to be united to God. We are one with Him because of His Spirit's presence in us when we come to honestly believe in the saving power of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
That means, if we have faith in Christ, we are one with God in the yoga studio and one at work, and one while we are walking the dog. We are one with Him at all times.
Because God is so good... His knowledge, grace, and help are everywhere in this world for us to find and use to live well.
I believe that includes the understanding of muscles, stretching, and overall health from yoga movements.
Sweet sisters, no matter what we choose to do to honor our "temple," do it all for the glory of God.
Christian meditation is a form of prayer where a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon God's revelations.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Both Eastern and Western Christian teachings have emphasized the use of meditation to increase one's knowledge of Christ.
I only practice Christian meditation, which has been a tremendously healing and beautiful time with Jesus. When I meditate on scripture, it comes alive for me, and I can learn about God and what He wants from me on a deeper level.
I love to meditate on spoken scripture!
God is the original motivational speaker!
There are some great guided Christian meditations you can get on Youtube.
There are many Christian yoga practices on youtube as well.
I believe yoga is an issue where we are free to reach different decisions alongside others following Jesus. But I encourage you to look into the Word (period)..... not what I say, not what our fellow Christians say...and be curious to what and where God leads you. I downward dog dare you!