As a yoga instructor, I have frequently fielded the question of yoga & religion. If you do a quick sweep of the internet, you’ll find all sorts of fabulous mythology, editorials, and “thou shalt” commands.
So for a moment, I invite you to lay aside the opinions of others and be in inquiry with your own wisdom: What best support you on your path?
Could this wildly popular practice of yoga amplify my life? Could it support me in manifesting my beliefs in positive action while not judging the beliefs of others? The world definitely needs more of you living your most beautiful life while simultaneously honoring others doing the same.
Yoga has no dog in the religion fight. It is simply a series of habits intended to support you as your highest self.
The 8 tenets of yoga call us to practice habits of physical poses (asana), breathwork, treating others & ourselves with care, diciplining ourselves against distraction, and creating focused quiet in our life. The intention is to calm our mind so that we may experience communion with what truly is our life’s inspiration. For some, this is a life following Christ. For some, this is a life steeped in loving kindness towards all.
John Shore said this brilliantly when asked if yoga competes with Christianity :
“Yoga is a means of exercising one’s body, with the overall intention of clearing and calming one’s mind, so that one might then experience a natural elevation of consciousness. You are a Christian, meaning that you are, by definition, seeking Christ consciousness; you want to contain within yourself as much of the spiritual essence of Christ as possible. Using yoga to help you do that is like using a car to help you get somewhere you want to go. That’s what a car is for. That’s what a car does. Like a car, yoga doesn’t care where you want to go; it only wants to help you get there. It is a means, not an end. A Muslim doing yoga will draw closer to Allah, a Jew to Yahweh, a Christian to Christ, an atheist to a heightened sense of oneness with all. Anyone seeking an elevated, peaceful, more centered mindset can use yoga to get it. That’s what yoga is for. That’s what yoga does.”
If someone suggests to you that yoga interferes with your faith or worse, derails it, ask them if they have ever sustained a yoga practice. My experience is that this practice draws you closer with, touches you more deeply to, and expands the moments of connection to your Source.
And the whip cream on top? You’ll feel better. You’ll act better. You’ll learn to step off the wheel of stress and into peaceful, joyful waters. That’s fabulous for you. That’s inspirational to the world. That’s pleasing to your Creator.