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Are you a Christian interested in Yoga?

Updated: Feb 17

Christianity and Yoga can be compliments of one another. While personally respecting the teachings of Christ, and who practices/teaches Yoga it seems fitting to shed more light on this subject matter. There may be controversy however, can we take a moment to learn something new?



Yoga is definitely NOT religion, rather it can be seen as philosophy. While this differentiation could be confusing, I would like to simply state philosophy can be viewed as the rational investigation of truth. So, for the sake of moving on, philosophy seeks to understand IF we exist and religion seeks to know HOW to live in the existence.

Thanking God for my body, mind, spirit and soul can't be put into a box. Could it just be actualized that connecting to God with all my faculties in tact in a Yoga Practice is sacred? It is a giving of my whole self in surrender of who I think I am and trading my sorrow into who God made me to be, wrapped in love. 

Looking at things can get blurry, especially through the eyes of others. There are things in life that either bring you closer or further from God. Believe it or not, you get to choose the things that you can use to enrich your relationship. My heart simply can't believe that God looks down on me for taking care of my mind to be captivated by grace, honoring my body in a healthy way or looking at myself fully to peer into the things I need to change. 

Getting quiet, deliberate, focused and intentional with my practice to listen to the deeper things that distractions simply drown out, has been profound. Even in my activities that are good for me spiritually, I still have to take time to digest for practicality. 

Can we come to the understanding that Yoga is not religion?  People tend to assign meaning to things out of context. Yoga is a system yes, however please know that it does predate Buddhism, Hinduism, and definitely Christianity. The teachings were originally spoken, so the pinpoint of origin is indefinite. Just as in all cultures the ideas and views once believed about God that were very dearly held concepts often morph with time. 


Religion can argue the nature and correct view of God, Yoga can help us to reach an understanding that you get to bring your own spiritual beliefs to your mat. This is your religious freedom.  

Yoga Principles : Appreciation for other ideas, religions and philosophies has allowed God's wonder to be seen in many things. Let's look at some Yoga teachings I have received and became a better person putting them into practice. 

Yamas

: Ahimsa= Nonviolence. Sensitivity.

: Satya= Truthfulness. Honesty 

: Asteya= Non-stealing. Not taking. 

: Brahmacharya= Non-excess. Focus. Prudence. 

: Aparigraha= Non-possessiveness. Generosity. 

Niyamas

: Saucha= Purity. Commitment. 

: Santosha= Contentment. Satisfied.

: Tapas= Self-Discipline. Passion. Spiritual intensity.

: Svadyaya= Self-study. Inquiring into the essence of what is. Reading Scripture & Sacred Texts

: Ishvara Pranidhana= Surrender or Devotion to God. Gratitude. 

Many times I have thought to myself if people would just live by the Yamas & Niyamas they would be so effective and loving. These characteristics seem close to the teachings of what I understand of Jesus. The simplicity is what I find attractive about the Yamas and Niyamas. 

Patanjali organized some of the first codified writings for Yoga, in what we know as the Yoga Sutras. He was not the original writer. Remember, the teachings were traditionally orally taught. 

Yoga can be seen as an eight limb path to reach union with God. Prayer, meditation, and reading, I see for myself within Dhyana. I have my own spiritual beliefs, but I can still see the practicality of this system as ideals for living moral.


Yama: Outward morality (see above)

Niyama: Inward morality (see above)

Asanas: Yoga practice. 

Pranayama: Breathing exercises or containing the breath.

Pratyahara: Control of the senses or desires.  

Dharana: Concentration.

Dhyana: Devotion, Meditation on God. Reading Scripture.

Samadhi: Union with God. Rapture. Ecstasy.


Everyone can have a fulfilling theological belief and participate in a Yoga practice. Yoga is a self inquiry to see the places you are getting stuck in unnecessary suffering or behaviors that are limiting your growth.


Yoga can enrich your life and your personal spiritual beliefs. Honestly, you simply come to your mat and just be. 


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