Yoga & Jesus: This is a spiritual practice

by Christine Sine

I continue to be challenged and stretched by the ways that people connect to God and to Jesus Christ.  The posts below are by Christina Whitehouse-Sugg.  I found them particularly intriguing because of my growing interest in Christian meditation and as you know I am also passionate about Henri Nouwen.  I feel that we have too easily dismissed the practices of other traditions because we think of them as non-Christian and yet God created them all and it is not surprising that we can use them to connect to the God revealed through Jesus Christ

Christina describes herself as a chameleon who struggles with finding a color of my own, a performer who often loses my voice only to find it in silence, a minister who is more comfortable among sinners than saints.  She blogs at Thoughts for the Journey

…yoga has become a significant spiritual discipline for me. My easily distracted ENFP brain (Oooo! Shiny!) is quiet & focused as I attempt to master poses that have been around for centuries. But more and more, what draws me to my yoga practice is the short lesson at the beginning of each class that focuses our practice that day…I am hungry for the spiritual truths that God reveals to me through my teacher.  Read the entire article

I wonder – can you see how these five elements are helping my spiritual devotion as a follower of Christ?? I recently read the following reflection by Henri Nouwen on flexibility and it resonated strongly with my current understanding and practice of yoga.  Read the entire article

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Mark Albrecht August 2, 2009 - 7:43 pm

I’d be cautious about mixing yoga and Christian faith. Yoga is an old and very specific Hindu practice. Most yoga teachers are heavily invested in that worldview – an impersonal, pantheistic view of God and reincarnation, and usually see Jesus as a sort of ancient Palestinian guru…

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teri August 5, 2009 - 4:18 pm

I am a Presbyterian pastor, and I practice yoga. My teacher doesn’t talk much about the spiritual aspects, but about being aware of your body and your breathing (which, for me, is the indwelling of the Spirit–ruach–breath). One of my favorite things about the end of class, as we’re opening ourselves to just BE, is the phrase “Love is what’s left when you let go of everything you don’t need.” Since I believe that God is Love, and that we are created in the image of God but we cling to things that obscure that image (aka sin), this really resonates for me. It is a profound moment of prayer when I can actually let go and just be who God made me to be in that moment. Sitting in prayer or meditation doesn’t work for me because I end up distracted or bored (or sleeping–see my post above about sleep as a spiritual practice!), but moving and stretching and being mindful of the amazingness of how the body works helps me a lot. We are embodied beings, after all.
just my 2 cents.

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