Jesus and Yoga
Updated: Sep 11, 2019
Do you all remember that 70’s commercial for Calgon bath beads where the lady says, “The traffic. The boss. The baby. The dog. That does it! Calgon, take me away!”? It was the perfect depiction of how hectic life can be (I mean, nothing is as stressful as those four things, right?) and that we need an escape or way to cope with all the craziness of modern day living. I think life has gotten even more hectic with the passage of time due to advances in technology that lead us to feel like we are never turned “off” and must constantly be doing three and four things simultaneously. So, how do I keep sane while living this crazy Ky Taste Buds life? Jesus and yoga.
Now, I’m not going to start thumping you over the head with my Bible, so don’t worry. I will tell you though, that if you don’t know Jesus, the ultimate peace giver, you are missing out, and I would love to sit and talk with you about my experience. Aside from peace, a relationship with Him gives me purpose, a sense of belonging, and joy, just to name a few of the benefits.
Modern yoga, according to Wikipedia, is a physical activity consisting largely of postures called asanas often connected by flowing sequences called vinyasas, sometimes accompanied by the breathing exercises of pranayama, and usually ending with a period of relaxation or meditation. The health benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, strength, improved balance and stress relief.
Several years ago, I was a frequent yoga practitioner. My friend Holly and I went to some fantastic classes twice a week and we were in really good shape! However, schedules changed and with the kids and work and everything else life was throwing at me, my attendance dropped off and then stopped altogether. Recently, Leigh and I were invited to Wilderness Trail Distillery to attend one of their Saturday morning yoga classes, so I was excited to give it another try. Going through the poses, I was reminded of how much I loved it. I found the practice to be rejuvenating in another way, by reminding me of Jesus and the peace that he offers.
The classes start off by sitting cross-legged and the instructor tells you to focus on your breathing.
Genesis 2:7 – Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
You then begin stretching from side to side, awakening your body and bringing warmth and heat into it. At first, you feel weak while you simply stretch.
Isaiah 40:29 – He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
You come into downward dog (a pose similar to an upside down V) and as you breath through this, you are instructed to bend farther into the pose, releasing your tension. It’s hard work, though, and you want to start panting like a dog, but you try to remain calm and keep your focus on your breath.
Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
The poses become more and more challenging, but the good thing is you have intermittent rests in “child’s pose”. This one I love because it gives you the chance to relax and prepare for the next series of moves.
Matthew 19:14 – But Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
One of the most challenging poses for me is the chaturanga dandasana. Think plank position, but only above four inches off the floor. You’re supposed to slowly lower your body into this position, and man, it is hard. My arms and wrists scream for me to just drop to the floor. The challenge is to power through that and find the strength to do it slowly.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Before you know it, 60 minutes has flown by and you are left sweaty and exhausted. After laying on the floor in “corpse pose” (my favorite) for a few moments and totally relaxing your body, you slowly sit back up in cross-legged position, and the practice ends with wishing yourself and the others in your class “namaste”, a traditional gesture of respect.
Philippians 2:1-30- So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, …
I am going to continue going to yoga. I love the feeling of peace I get afterwards. It is a great way to counter the chaos that comes my way. I will also give thanks for Jesus and share Him with anyone who also wants the peace that comes from a relationship with Him. I wish you all joy and peace…namaste.