Before we get into the 3 reasons of why we believe yoga CAN compliment the Christian faith, I think many people would like to know the origins of Yoga first. So, I will quickly clear this point before we move forward.
Yoga is a practice of movement, meditation and breath work. The origins can be dated back to 3000 B.C. where they had found stone carvings of yoga poses in the archaeological sites in the Indus Valley. No one really knows where and who created the yoga practice because of its long history. However, it was adapted by a few different religious practices and many people who were seeking physical and spiritual wellness. Traditionally, yoga like many other practices were passed down from different lines of teachers and hence the philosophies and techniques taught were often dependant on the personal beliefs of the teachers. At Grace x Strength we teach a Christ-Centred yoga practice based on scriptural themes. However, we must be clear that yoga is not a religion. How does it compliment the Christian faith you may wonder?
One of the key elements to the yoga practice is meditation. People often think of yoga as a stretching routine but stretching is only a part of yoga. Meditation is a key component of a yoga practice. The practice encourages individuals to dedicate time on the mat as a time away from all distraction and noise from the world and to be fully present. This is a perfect setting to meditate on God’s word. There are many types of meditations but in the Christian faith, we meditate to listen to God. Prayer and meditation is different, prayer is when we talk to God, meditation is when we listen to God. We often set aside time to pray and ask God for things or bring to God our daily worries, but how often do we stop to quieten our minds, learn to be still and just seek God’s voice? One of yoga’s main branches is meditation and we believe that committing to a regular yoga practice can help build a healthy a habit of setting aside time to listen to God.
Like many other things, we see God teaching us lessons in numerous situations in our lives. What we found really helpful is how in our yoga practice we are able to learn numerous lessons and also teach our students to anchor their faith in God. Whether it be where we bring our gaze, areas to strengthen or learning to let go – we can use these elements to reflect on where in our lives we have been struggling with because often how we do one thing is how we do everything. For example, when we struggle to focus our gaze to find balance in a pose, often in life we are also the type of people who struggle to fix our gaze on the things that matter most and gets easily distracted. The training of the mind to focus and build grit and persistence in our yoga practice teaches us to persevere in our faith walk as well.
In today’s society, many people practice yoga to relieve stress and seek spirituality. People are seeking for a solution. As a Christian and a Yoga Instructor, I believe it is essential to create a safe space for seekers to find Jesus as they seek for a solution in their practice. Not only that, we believe it is essential to create a safe space for believers to hear God on the mat and feel safe practicing yoga with a belief system that aligns with their Christian faith.
With Grace and Strength,