Transformation Tuesday: Why I Practice yoga

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Transformation Tuesday and yoga

Transformation Tuesday isn’t just about the scale.  Its also about changing your body and your mind.  There is much change that has to happen in your body to be able to practice yoga well.  And in your mind.  And I’m not there on either level.  The pictures above are 2 years apart and about 60 lbs.

I started practicing yoga about 7 years and then took a break when I was pregnant and gained a ton of weight and could hardly do a cat pose to save my life.  But, since I started back in my healthy journey and have lost quite a bit of weight, I want to change my body as well.  Two dvds I really love in yoga world is JM’s Cardio Yoga and Bob’s Weight Loss Yoga.  Both in their upper levels kick my tail!

I can tell a total difference.  Sometimes I think I’m working out a muscle group well – then do some yoga and totally feel it the next day.  I must not be working out as hard as I thought.  But, I also like having a variance in exercising.  I do like how I can tell which side of my body needs more stretching out or which side I’m more balanced on.

I did a post years ago that I thought I would re-post some of  on here.  I think this tells how I can practice yoga and be a Gospel-centered believer.  As a friend said, we need to be vigilant on ideas that might fight against Christianity and the Spirit within us – but at the same time fight against legalism as well. This hopefully is a balance of the two.

First, to set everyone on the same terms, I pulled up our trusty friends at Merriem-Webster to find out the definition. This is what it said:
1. Yoga: a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation.
2. yoga: a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being.

I completely agree with the first definition of big Y Yoga and do not practice little y yoga for the purpose of big Y Yoga.  You can separate the two. Of course Scripture tells us to fill our minds with things of the Spirit, Col 3.1-3 and Phil 4.8 and all through Psalm 119. This is what I like to do when practicing these exercises, or I listen to praise music, or I focus on what I am doing so I don’t fall over.

I think you can. How can putting your foot on the inside of the opposite thigh (tree pose) be an evil or cult or false-religion thing? How can stretching out your hips by laying forward in a pigeon pose be evil or anti-God? I think the movements, exercises, or little y yoga is actually good for us because it is allowing our bodies, or my body, to be healthier, to move better.

God created our bodies. He created them to move. When I practice yoga, and move my body in the ways that God has intended my bodies to be: healthy, mobile, active – then yes, I am using my body as God created me to – to bring Him glory. I can thank Him and praise Him for making my body to move, to be active, to be healthy, so I can do things that will bring glory to the only God of the universe, the great Creator. Why must an unbelieving false religion have hold and rites on this exercises and poses?

I don’t practice yoga poses to make me more acceptable to Christ. His blood bought my salvation and redeemed my life. I can freely choose to do yoga because of the freedom Christ has given me. There is nothing evil in the poses themselves. What we do with our minds and hearts while practicing these poses (or running, doing aerobics, walking, swimming, biking, hiking, surfing, etc) is important.

If I truly thought that practicing the exercises in yoga was hindering my walk with Christ, I would stop. But, I do yoga poses for the same reason I hike, bike, run or walk or lift weights: to make my body better. This is something the church seldom touches on, because we live with such obesity and gluttony and laziness. But, I don’t think there is a need to knock out these exercises.

Two words in closing:
1. If you are in a predominately Hindu culture, seeking to live out Christ, no, I would not recommend practicing yoga, even the poses, because of what it might convey to the folks you are trying to reach with the gospel.
2. This, just like many other issues in Scripture that aren’t blatant black or white, comes down to Christian liberty and the “weaker-brother” principle. So…here is my personal conclusion. I can practice this in my own home and not announce it on facebook. My roommate is not bothered by my practicing these yoga moves. I can practice it with one or two others who know my stance on the subject and don’t have a problem with it. Should I go to a studio and practice it, no…because I do not know who I might offend, or who I might lead to believe that I am practicing Big Y Yoga.

A cat’s pose and triangle pose and tree pose definitely help my core and sense of balance.  And help my jeans fit better!