The Sanskrit word yoga, literally means “yoke”, from a root meaning to join, to unite, or to attach.
Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
With all of my being, I seek to unite and yoke with Jesus. I desire with all of my heart, all of my strength, and all of my mind to be attached to Him. As Christians, when we accept Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, our Savior and our salvation, we gain the privilege to do so. Holy Yoga helps me to experience this connection on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level.
I have found that my connection with Jesus through yoga has helped me to have a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Him and experience His presence in a holistic manner. In Luke 10:27, Jesus tells us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.”
I can earnestly say that practicing Holy Yoga has increased my capacity to love and worship Him in every single one of these areas. And in return, these strenghtened areas help to make me a more well-rounded disciple for Christ.
Intention is what we focus on, what we make our focal point. As I step on to my mat to practice yoga, I actually practice my ability to surrender to God and make Him the focal point of my life. With every pose, with every breath, my intention is to worship HIM. In turn, my ability to do this in every day life is strengthened, and my heart is opened towards Him and towards others. It is also a great quiet time for me to allow the Holy Spirit to speak into my heart me and reveal the areas in my life that need to be corrected.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).”
The dictionary describes emotion as the, “affective state of consciousness.” One of my greatest challenges is to not let my emotions drive my thoughts, behaviors; and not to let my emotions be abundantly affected by circumstance. Studies have shown that in general, practicing yoga helps people increase their positive outlook on life, self-esteem, relaxation, and stress reduction. When we are able to let go of the temporary feelings of this world and of our current situation and bask in the Glory of God, our fleshly emotions start to dim. Taking an hour every day or every few days to let ‘go and let God’ has significantly improved my ability to control my emotions. For a more in depth look on this topic, check out this study:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:6-7).”
Most Westerners associate yoga with physical exercise for a reason- it is a GREAT workout! Yoga poses are very toning and elongating, and the focus on the breath work during the postures helps to create an excellent form of release of any toxins in the body. A few of the proven physiological benefits of yoga include improvements in: asthma, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, pain management, back pain, arthritis, and weight reduction. Other than raising my hands in church during worship, I had never before experienced worshiping God through exercise before Holy Yoga. Physical worship is absolutely a spiritual discipline and a powerful one at that. We live in a physical world, and our bodies are God’s temple- so why on earth would we not incorporate this aspect of ourselves in our praise and worship of His majesty?
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Cor. 6:19-20).”
It has been estimated that the human brain produces approximately 70,000 thoughts on an average day. If we are being honest with ourselves, how many of those thoughts are from the world, and how many of those thoughts on centered on God and the Kingdom of Heaven? God is very clear when He instructs us to daily renew our minds in Him. When I listen to the words of God through my Holy Yoga practice and meditate on his truth, I am drawn into a deeper, richer understanding of His love and mercy and my thoughts become more like His. Yoga helps me to harness this mindset of Christ-conciousness in the forefront of my mind, and as a result, I am more clear head and focused, and my thoughts are on things above, not on myself.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)”
I pray for you sweet friends, that the Lord would continue to bless you and be the center of your lives- of your hearts, souls, minds, and strengths. Let Him use you in all ways for His good and perfect will.