Take Your Practice Out of Your Comfort Zone This Summer

July 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Christian yoga, Hatha Yoga

yoga in the summer on the beach
Summer. It’s that time of year when rules and dress codes relax. Even decades beyond school age, we feel as though the disciplinarians that normally keep us in line are looking the other way for a few months. As adults, we are often kept on that well-worn, responsible path by our own inner voice—its timbre a collection of tones and inflections collected over our lifetime. Some kind and loving. Some not so much.

This season offers you the opportunity to give your unhelpful inner teachers a well-deserved vacation. Bid them good-bye, and take your practice in a new direction. If your inner teachers are telling you that you aren’t strong enough, prove them wrong by practicing a strengthening pose every single day. Flip up into handstand and watch them gape, amazed. After three months of this, you will be strong.

Does one of those teachers tell you that your never be a back-bender and you better stick to your forward-bending forte? I have one who says that. Find a backbend—starting as gently and propped as needed—and prove to yourself that you can open your heart without sending yourself spiraling out of control.

Pick a pose that bothers you and explore why that might be. You just might discover something about your inner self that is being reflected back at you through your physical body.

Sophia Rising BookThis summer, stop internalizing the world around you. Spend some time in the yogic niyama of self-study (svadhyaya).  In my book, Sophia Rising: Awakening Your Sacred Wisdom Through Yoga, I describe it like this:

“Leave behind the belief that to study means to seek external knowledge and claim it for our own. Limiting the search for truth to outside sources—books, the Internet, sermons, lectures, others’ opinions—can be dangerous territory. The most important study we can ever do is internal. It is also precisely the work that we often try to avoid. It is so much easier to absorb from the environment than to explore the landscape of the soul.”
p. 51).

Christians contemplatives will find this idea congruous with Thomas Merton’s translation of Moses’ mandate to “go sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.”

This summer, become an explorer of your own soul’s landscape. Meander, and push your edge. Strive for new heights, then honor your discoveries with some restorative poses. Find out what you’ve been avoiding, and find the strength to face it. That work will remain with you long after the lazy days of summer have given way to the dictates of the rest of the year. And you might even find that some of those inner teachers softened their criticism over the summer break!

MonetteIn addition to serving as the feature writer for the Texas Yoga Association’s newsletter, Monette Chilson is long-time yoga practitioner whose writing has appeared in Yoga Journal, Integral Yoga Magazine, Christian Yoga Magazine and Om Times. Her first book, Sophia Rising: Awakening Your Sacred Wisdom Through Yoga, was released this month by Bright Sky Press and is available at all online book retailers. She blogs at www.SophiaRisingYoga.com.

Tao Te Ching: A Christian’s Perspective

March 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Christian yoga

The Tao and Christianity

“Heaven will last,
Earth will endure.
How can they last so long?
They don’t exist for themselves
And so can go on and on.
So wise souls
Leaving self behind
Move forward,
And setting self aside
Stay centered.
Why let the self go?
To keep what the soul needs.”
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, #7, “Dim Brightness”

Reading Lao Tzu reminded me of my experience of the Spirit in meditation. While abiding in the Spirit, peace and stillness is always at hand. There, contentment is a natural state; pressures from the outside world dissolve. The now is all that matters, and it is easy to recognize that past and future are mere shadows and figments of the imagination. Lao Tzu expanded that inner world, and I could see the bigger picture. I recognized the ways of God beyond myself.

Ancient Chinese Text of Tao Te ChingIn Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu captures the flow of creation in the embrace of the Creator and puts it into words. Written somewhere between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, this sacred Chinese scripture is the basis for Taosim and highly influential in the Buddhist sphere. It is one of the most translated texts in the world, boasting over 250 translations. It is said to have been written by a scribe named Lao Tzu, or “Old Master.”

Through his poetry, Lao Tzu gives the reader a glimpse of God by exploring the way God moves and works in the world. God, called Tao (the Way), is nameless and indescribable, intangible yet the constant source of the tangible. This Tao flows and moves effortlessly, and by just being, causes all things to take place perfectly. The wise soul, or sage, never fights against this natural flow (Heb 3:15), but instead flows with it. These divine attributes are mirrored in Biblical passages:

• Indescribable: “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” (Rm 11:33).
• Intangible: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth,” (Jn 4:24).
• The source of the tangible: “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him,” (Jn 1:1-3).
• Flows and moves effortlessly: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit,” (Jn 3:8). (Note: the same Greek word means both wind and spirit.)

But although the topic is weighty, the Tao Te Ching never comes across that way. It deals with the most profound and sometimes even contradictory thoughts, but it does so in a lighthearted manner. Although similar to James 1:19, I found myself laughing when I read the following:

23 Nothing and not

Nature doesn’t make long speeches.
A whirlwind doesn’t last all morning.
A cloudburst doesn’t last all day.
Who makes the wind and rain?
Heaven and earth do.
If heaven and earth don’t go on an on,
Certainly people don’t need to.

Or the simple line, “To live till you die is to live long enough” (33).

Lao Tzu is at home in humility (Pro 8:12-13), and speaks of it in an unfamiliar way – as a path to true leadership. In many of his poems he advises leaders to become like water: molding and moving around the obstacles in its path with softness; willing to go to the lowest places. When he speaks of the greatest kind of leader in poem 17, he says they, “are hardly known to their followers,” which reminds the reader of God himself, willing to remain unseen yet leading all of heaven and earth.

The emphasis in the text remains firmly in the yin, or the female, quiet, meek and nurturing characteristics of all things, and Lao Tzu views these attributes as foundational. This echoed the personification of Wisdom as a female in the Proverbs. The yang, yin’s natural opposite (male, loud, strong, active), is reduced to something to understand and make use of if it makes sense to do so, like it is a tool. War and violence, clearly yang in their nature, are repulsive to Lao Tzu.

The irony of the Tao Te Ching is its ability to remain simple and complex all at once. The language comes across as almost elementary, speaking of nature and simple objects, yet the contradictions it offers invite the reader to pause and give it deeper thought. This is much like paradoxical scriptures such Proverbs 26:4-5, or Matthew 12:30 with Mark 9:40. It is full of wonderful truths put in ways seldom encountered in the West, but it won’t spoon-feed the reader. It rather plants a seed and lets the wise soul watch it grow.

Amy Arias is an instructor for the Holy Yoga Foundation, a non-profit organization that sends out teachers the world over to teach Christian yoga in their communities. She also writes a blog at JesusIsMyGuru.com, a site about all things Jesus and yoga

The Vocation of Christian Yoga

February 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Christian yoga

christian yogaSome people think Christian yoga makes about as much sense as Jewish chemistry… or Islamic mathematics. It’s a fundamental category error. Yoga, at least as practiced in the west, is a system of physical and mental exercises that has nothing to do with Christianity, these critics say. Go to church. And go to yoga class if you must. But certainly don’t mix the two up.

But I disagree. Christians who practice yoga – or the other Eastern spiritual body-mind disciplines of mindfulness, meditation, Tai Chi, and so on – bring with them the unique philosophical outlook and habits of mind that come with Christianity. While they explore what the Eastern practices have to offer them, they do so on their own terms, with their own perspectives. If, in the process of practicing these Eastern disciplines, they make modifications to accommodate their spiritual beliefs, so what? Isn’t that their right?

Now, I admit that I prefer to get my Eastern stuff straight. If I take a Tai Chi, Aikido or a yoga class, I’d rather take it from someone steeped in the traditions of these disciplines. I’d rather use the terminology of the traditional discipline, study what the discipline offers on its own terms. Later, I may decide which parts of what I learned don’t really harmonize very well with what I truly believe from my western (Christian) perspective, but I’m a big boy and can make those judgments myself.

That’s why I’m not really a fan of the Praise Moves or the “Wholly Fit” style of Christian Yoga – although I’m sure it helps very many people and I know its practitioners are sincere — in which all of the yoga postures are renamed from their “pagan” roots. Ditto meditation. If I go on a Zen meditation retreat, I want my Zen straight. Teach me what Zen has to offer… on its own terms and in its own way… and then I’ll decide for myself it I can harmonize Zen meditation with my Christian faith. I find little in minimalist Zen meditation to which any regular Christian could object… while at the same time I am careful not to say that Eastern meditation is the same as Christian contemplative prayer.

Now, that said, I will admit that Christians who have been practicing these Eastern disciplines for a long time do make their own adjustments – and that’s fine. There is a Christian Zen sitting group near me that has been around for ages (decades). These folks have developed their own synthesis. They are faithful Christians who think that traditional Zen meditation helps them, grounds them, perhaps prepares them for a more mature prayer life. But it’s pretty traditional Zen, all in all.

After a while, I think long-term practitioners do feel the need to evolve something new that explicitly integrates what they learn from Eastern practices with the unique spiritual outlook that is Christianity. And that’s why I think there is a real Christian Yoga vocation (yoga being used in a broad sense).

The unique Christian understanding of incarnation actually brings a depth and a pathos to yoga practice that enriches it.

Unlike traditional yoga and Indian philosophy generally, Christians don’t believe that human beings “cast off” their bodies like so many worn-out clothes at death – only to take on new ones in a reincarnated existence.

Rather, Christians have this strange, rather radical, certainly unusual belief that we are our bodies – and that God will miraculously preserve and render them immortal and luminescent in a resurrected state. Thus, the yoga emphasis on bodily care, awareness and health is thus completely harmonious with the Christian understanding of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. This is what the founder of Christian yoga – Père J.-M. Déchanet – was getting at when he tried to adapt the spiritual psychology of William of Saint-Thierry to a fairly traditional hatha yoga practice.

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es

February 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Christian yoga

india-ash-wednesday

Remember, Man, that you are dust… and unto dust you shall return. (Gen 3: 19)

Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the penitential season of Lent, when Catholics and many other Christians as well go to church to receive ashes on their foreheads. Traditionally, when the priest or minister placed ashes on your forehead, he or she murmured the phrase, taken from Genesis: Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return. These are the words that God speaks to Adam and Eve in the Garden after the Fall.

These days, people prefer a more “positive” message, so many churches say something like, “Repent and believe in the Gospel,” or, if it’s a Jesuit church, something like, “Practice faith-justice!”

Ash WednesdayThe point, of course, is to reflect on human mortality… on the inescapable reality of death.

One of the weirdest and most macabre sites in Rome is the famous “bone house,” Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, run for centuries by the Capuchin friars (an offshoot of the Franciscans). It never fails to creep people out… and it’s a great place to bring jaded teenagers who think they’ve seen it all. The entire place is decorated with the bones of long-dead (and not so long dead) friars. It’s difficult to even describe. All the walls, the chandeliers, everything is made out of human bones. If you want to know just how creepy the Catholic cult of relics can get, go visit the Capuchin bone house. But at the very end, you come to a skeleton of a friar, dressed in his monk robes, with this sign in three languages: “What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be.”

Christian Yoga differs from traditional yoga in that it affirms both the reality of the physical body and the reality of death. Death is not an “illusion.” It is not merely a “gateway.” It is the cessation of physical life and the decay and decomposition of the body. To face that squarely… to look upon the dried up bones of the 4,000 Capuchin friars in the bone house and understand that death is real… is part of a mature spiritual life and one of the purposes of Ash Wednesday. To be a Christian who practices yoga is to cherish the body… to care for it, keep it healthy and use it to reach out to the Divine… and yet to know that, in its present state, it will not last. As St. Paul put it in his letter to the Thessalonians, “what we will be” after death “has not yet been revealed to us” but we know that we will be “like him,” like the resurrected Christ. We are not disembodied souls that “depart” the body at death, either to take on a new body or live in a spiritual heaven.

We are our bodies, and any life after death, we affirm, will be as embodied creatures — perhaps, like the resurrected Christ appearing to Doubting Thomas, bearing the scars and wounds we earned in our physical life. Whatever the place we go after death, it will be a physical place where human bodies can exist… perfected, resurrected bodies, perhaps, but bodies just the same. Thus, Christians who practice yoga re-affirm the beauty and joy and essential necessity of our physical bodies… while also knowing, as Christians, that these physical bodies will be transformed into something even more miraculous, even more luminous.

Sede vacante

February 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Christian yoga, Spirituality

5777-st-peters-basilica-vatican-city-confessio-crypt

Under the high altar in St. Peter’s basilica in Rome is another altar… and underneath that altar is another altar… and underneath that altar is a giant box about fifteen feet square, made out of the precious stone porphyry, and inside of that box is an ancient brick wall that dates back to the first century A.D., and in the side on that ancient brick wall is a burial niche, and inside that niche was found, wrapped in purple cloth reserved on pain of death to the Roman emperors, the bones of an elderly man, in his 60s or 70s, that date back to the first century. On the brick wall were also found hundreds of graffiti with phrases such as petros eni, Peter is here, or the Chi Rho symbol altered so it looks like a key (as in “keys of the kingdom”).

Peter is hereSt. Peter’s church is built on a hill, known as the Vatican, at the base of which was an ancient Roman circus. In the middle of the circus was an Egyptian obelisk, once twice as tall as it is now, that now stands in the center of St. Peter’s square. The circus was an oblong with a long middle area that ran down the center – very similar to the circus maximus that still exists today in Rome. In the center of the circus was the obelisk, and the chariot racers made their circuits of the center area much like Judas ben Hur does in the film of the same name. In the center area, Christians were routinely executed for “halftime entertainment” – the most colorful exercise of which was when they dipped the Christians in pitch and then lit them on fire. The road leading to the Vatican circus was a cemetery, lined with tombs.

The Romans had the bizarre habit of building their tombs along public roads so the monuments to their past glory could be admired by the citizens. When, as the ancient sources tell us, the Apostle Peter was crucified upside down in the center of the Vatican circus, probably around the year A.D. 64, the disciples took his body and buried it in the road cemetery right outside – marking the spot with special signs that only the Christian community would know. For hundreds of years, Christians came quietly and secretly to this grave to honor the leader of the Roman Christian community… until, in the early 300s, a decision was made by the Emperor Constantine to build a church over the site.

The problem was that the Vatican circus was at the base of a hill, so the engineering-minded Romans built an enormous retaining wall, dozens of feet high, and then filled in the space with soft dirt, covering the circus and the streets lined with tombs. On top of this level area, now known as St. Peter’s square, they built the first St. Peter’s basilica, which lasted for more than a thousand years… until, around the time of the Protestant Reformation, the popes commissioned great Italian artists, such as Michelangelo, to build a new basilica on the ruins of the crumbling old one. To finance construction, they sold indulgences… which led Martin Luther to launch the Reformation. The money was raised, the new church was slowly built, and people forgot about the ancient cemetery buried beneath the old basilica… until 1939. In that year, workmen digging below the church, to create a new crypt for the recently deceased Pope Pius XI, accidentally punched a hole in the floor of the crypts where they bury popes beneath St. Peter’s… and looked down and saw, dozens of feet below, a necropolis, or city of the dead, undisturbed for 1,800 years. Like Pompei south of the Vatican, this ancient necropolis was like going back in time. The first century streets go on for miles beneath St. Peter’s square. In was in this ancient necropolis that archaeologists discovered, in the 1950s, the bones of St. Peter, wrapped in a purple shroud and hidden in a burial niche inside a brick wall… inside an enormous marble and porphyry box… directly beneath the high altar in St. Peter’s basilica.

habemus_papamThe papacy is the oldest continuous monarchy in history, dating back at least to the second century and, depending upon how you interpret the evidence, perhaps to Peter himself. Traditionally, popes – known as the servant of the servants of God – serve until death. There have been 266 popes… and today, for the first time in 598 years, a reigning pope has announced his resignation. In a few weeks, perhaps more, the see of Peter will be vacant (sede vacante), and the 118 cardinals eligible to vote will gather in the Sistine Chapel to begin the difficult task choosing a successor to guide the world’s 1 billion Catholics and other friends of the Catholic Church on into the confusing 21st century.

The mission of the pope is, and always has been, to be a guardian of the partheke, the “deposit” of Faith, handed on over the centuries… and to do so in a way that it can be communicated and understood anew.

The new pope will have his hands full. In the entertaining prescient 2011 Italian film by Nanni Moretti, Habemus Papam (“We Have a Pope”) about the election of a reluctant pope who ends up resigning, a nice touch was that we heard all of the cardinals praying: Please, Lord, not me… anyone but me!

The Remarkable Story of James & Tyra Arraj

February 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Christian yoga

Catavina_02_701I just heard , quite late, that James Arraj died of cancer three years ago. To say I was stunned is an understatement. I had sent an email to Jim, asking for permission to reprint one or two of his marvelous essays, and his widow, Tyra, told me of his death. Although I never met them, the Arraj family has been an inspiration to me and many other people over the years for so many different reasons.

Decades ago, James and Tyra made a remarkably courageous decision. James earned a Ph.D. in spiritual theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, but, as is true for many young academics, his job prospects weren’t great. He and his wife found themselves in San Diego, right after the birth of their daughter Elizabeth, and they didn’t like their options. Jim had found a job in the County welfare office but it looked like the two of them were going to be forced to take jobs they disliked… to afford living in houses they disliked… in an area they didn’t particularly like… and that would be it for the rest of their lives. As a result, they decided to take a different path.

They moved to an isolated forest in the woods of southern Oregon, built their own home, and raised their children in the forest. They actually videotaped the entire adventure — from flying over their isolated forest home to the building of their house. You can see the videos here.

All these dreams were to lead us to the forest where the land was beautiful and cheap, but far from paved roads and power lines, and a mile high in the snow zone of the Cascade Mountains. It was here our schooling began in earnest about simple living, and how complicated it was. The first thing we needed was a house, and quickly, for winter was coming. Making handcrafts and a bookcase or two hadn’t really prepared us for this. But we muddled through by reading books, drawing plans on the backs of envelopes, and overcoming our biggest obstacle, which was the notion that had been pounded into our heads all our lives – that you bought houses made by . You didn’t just jump up and build your own.

Arraj family homeOnce we got the house up – and it didn’t immediately fall down – from then on we would simply build whatever we needed or wanted. When the kids decided they wanted their own rooms, we told them to build them themselves, and they did.

With a roof over our heads the days took on a rhythm of their own, and grew into weeks and months and years. We would make bread. For a long time that was the kids’ job. We would do home school with the kids, and all of us would sit around the lunch table and discuss everything from tigers to tattoos. We would make tofu. Our electricity came from a solar panel which was connected to a battery, and then to an inverter that converted it from DC to AC. We would cut and split wood, and feed it to our wood stove made out of an old hot water tank.

Slowly our eyes began to open so we could really see the forest around us.

We never had a well, and we would haul drinking water from town in the summer, and collect rain and snow in our little ponds for the garden. Growing a garden was a tough job when you are almost a mile high and can have a frost any month of the year, and if you do manage to grow something, the chipmunks are waiting to pounce on it.

And each year there would be something new to build. Our favorite style was to dig some holes in the ground, cut and treat some poles, and then just go on from there. Not very complicated, but tiring at times. One year Elizabeth decided she wanted to have a place of her own, and she just went out and built it.

This decision gave them the gift of time – time to do the work they were called to do, which happened to be write books and make videos on Christian mysticism and its relationship to both Eastern spirituality and Jungian psychology. Rather than work as academics in a university setting, James and Tyra created their own way of life in the forest. They then created a remarkable website, InnerExplorations.com, which is one of the strangest and most fascinating combination of subjects you can imagine – high-level philosophical discussions of Thomistic metaphysics, video chronicles of what it’s like to move and live in a forest, simple living, Christian mysticism, Zen, and on and on. Needless to say, it was like a candy shop for someone like me. Christian mystic hippies living in the forest… can’t get more irresistible than that!

I first learned about the Arraj family because, like most homeschoolers, my wife and I were interested in simple living. We bought their books on simple living because, like many homeschoolers, we felt called to a radically different way of life. But then I discovered that we shared an interest in both classical Christian mysticism but also in eastern spirituality, such as Zen. I was hooked… and have spent hours and hours, over the years, poring through Jim’s articles on the similarities, and profound differences, between the spiritual paths of Asia and the western mystical tradition. Over the coming months, we hope to republish a few of Jim’s thoughtful essays on our website with the kind permission of Tyra.

I urge anyone interested in Christian Yoga to visit InnerExplorations. You’ll find many topics of interest and will be inspired by the Arraj family’s life in the forest.

Health Benefits of Yoga Convincing Skeptics in Many Churches

November 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Christian yoga

businessmandoingbridge

Like many Christians who practice yoga, I am hardly a purist. You could even call me a “cafeteria yogi.” I pick and choose among the various yoga practices that fit my overall lifestyle, level of fitness and religious beliefs. Fortunately, at every single yoga school where I have studied, without exception, the other students are exactly the same.

They are typical Canadian and American suburban professional types: harried moms, latte-swilling office workers, students, retired folk. The music is funky New Age chanting music, which, quite frankly, I find very relaxing and enjoy immensely. The teachers invariably say “Namaste” after class — which, despite all the hullabaloo among fundamentalists about its alleged polytheistic meanings, is just the ordinary Hindi way of saying “hello” (as my Indian relatives inform me). But beyond that, my yoga classes are about as pagan as an aerobics class down at the YMCA.

More and more people are awakening to this fact. Yoga is not the be all and end all of health. My doctor informs me that, while yoga is great for flexibility and stress-reduction, I still must hit the treadmill or swim for aerobics. If the yoga workout is particularly intense, it may qualify for the strength training that doctors now add to the list. (When are we supposed to do all this stuff, by the way?)

I find that two formal yoga classes a week are just about right for me — combined with brief but intense sessions when I wake up and right before I go to sleep. Yoga gives me something that no other activity does. It provides a systematic stretching and what I can only describe as “liberation” of muscle groups ignored by all my other sports (Aikido, tennis, swimming) and activities (walking on the beach with my wife).

It also quiets me down, physically and mentally, and harmonizes very well with a lifelong meditation practice. For Christians who find little time for prayer and contemplation in the hectic modern world, regular yoga practices literally forces them to quiet down. It relaxes you unlike anything else — and then quiets your mind.

Yoga (or Buddhist) meditation is not the same thing as Christian or Jewish prayer, but they can be a necessary preparation for prayer — even a prerequisite. Without the quiet, stillness and relaxation that yoga provides, many people find it almost impossible to pray. But Christian yogis, blessed with such islands of silence and stillness, inevitably find themselves spontaneously giving thanks and lifting their minds and hearts to God.

So, the bottom line is this: If you’ve been thinking about trying out yoga but are concerned about the alleged “spiritual dangers,” forget about it. The people who prattle on about that have rarely stepped inside a yoga studio in their lives. What you’ll find is probably people exactly like yourself — stiff, overworked, semi-arthritic, stressed-out modern men and women — who are trying to ease the kinks out of their tired bodies and souls. And that is a good thing. Namaste!

The Yoga of Time: 20 Ways to Find Time for Yoga, Meditation and Prayer

October 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Christian yoga

“The really efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure.” – Henry David Thoreau

Are there a hundred different things you wish you could do with your life someday — anything from exercising to meditation or yoga to writing that novel you always wished you could write to reading more to relaxing and watching the sunrise?

But perhaps you never have the time, like most people.

The truth is, we all have the same amount of time, and it’s finite and in great demand. But some of us have made the time for doing the things we love doing, and others have allowed the constant demands and pressures and responsibilities of life to dictate their days.

It’s time to move from the second group back into the first. Reclaim your time. Create the life you want and make the most of the free time you lay claim to.

It’s not hard, though it does take a little bit of effort and diligence.

Reclaiming that free time

Take my life, for example: there was a time, not too long ago, when my day was packed from morning to night, when I had meetings and long to-do lists and worked long hours and the rest of my time was filled up with social engagements and meetings for civic responsibilities. I had little time for my family, which ate me up, and little time to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. Read more

A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Yoga

January 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Christian yoga, Relaxation, Yoga

Many people are crazy about yoga. The reason most people practice yoga is that it makes them feel better and feel more in shape. The different poses and postures make their body flexible and healthy. Yoga for most is the best natural way to relax and unwind. If you are interested in keeping your body
in shape, this might be the best exercise for you.

Did you know that yoga could help fight certain illness that may come your way? There has been research that proved yoga helps you to control anxiety, reduces asthma, arthritis, blood pressure, back pain, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, epilepsy, diabetes, headaches, stress, and more.

Yoga has a lot of benefits and advantages. All in a day’s work, it can reduce tension and stress. Of course, after a heavy day, you will feel that your muscles have been stuck up and you will feel wasted.

If you do practice yoga, you may see an increase in your self-esteem. It is important to gain confidence so that you may face people without worry. Yoga is good for the body in increasing your muscle tone, strength, stamina, and flexibility. If you are too heavy, or conscious about your body shape, yoga can help you lower your body fat and help you stay in shape.

Yoga exercises can also burn excess fat and give you the desired figure that you want.

If you need time to relax and forget your responsibilities, then yoga will be good for improving your concentration and can enhance your creativity. Yoga helps you to think positively because it can help keep you free of your anxieties. If you have a fresh mind, you can easily think good thoughts.

Your body needs to relax often. Sometimes, at the end of the workday, you an feel exhausted. After some of the hardest days, we may not find time to unwind because troubles at work are still on our mind. Yoga helps you to clear your mind and create a sense of calmness and well-being.

Yoga exercises help you improve your blood circulation. Your organs and veins need to be exercised for them to function properly. Yoga can help stimulate your immune system, which can help keep you free from diseases.

Some people practice yoga to get enlightened. They believe that yoga will help them lift their spirit and keep them relieved. Yoga works differently for people, be it spiritual, emotional, psychological, mental, or physical.

Many people think that yoga is only for spiritual, or religious, people. But that myth is wrong. Even if you are not religious, you can do yoga. You will see and feel the difference, and at the same time find out how it works for you.

Due to the pressure and demands of life, we are stressed out and forget the essences of our lives. We tend to lose touch with the ones we used to spend time with, even ourselves.

We find ourselves rushing most of the time with deadlines and hassles at our jobs. This leaves us little time for our minds to wander and have that physical awareness.

These are a few things that yoga can provide. Occasionally, dedicate some time to relax and unwind, which only yoga can do.

Article Source:http://www.wearticles.com

Great Web Resources for Christian Yoga

December 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Christian yoga

1. Oustretched in Worship
Offers a Christian approach to yoga throughout the state of Alabama.

2. Welcome to Scripture Yoga
How could the class be Christian yoga if it wasn’t focused on God’s Word? … During the Emmaus Walk, the Christian yoga ministry was founded on the scripture: …

3. Christian Yoga?
But this is not the case with so called “Christian Yoga. … CHRISTIAN YOGA (Understand the Times Radio Commentary) 1998. Christian yoga sweeps the US (video, …

4. Christian Yoga
Non-profit organization that provides a Christian approach to Yoga. … This Christian approach to yoga simply allows us to combine these two essential …
5. YOGA – Just Exercise or a Hindu Religion?
Christian Yoga,’ I thought. … Yoga is not a Judeo/Christian word! … From this I could conclude that ‘Christian Yoga’ could only indicate one of two …

6. Christian Yoga
Christian Yoga comes from traditional Yoga. Are Christian Yoga and traditional Yoga compatible? … Can a Christian Practice Yoga? (YouTube site of Swami J) …


7. FAQ
This type of Christian yoga is very gentle with 25 minutes of full body … Conversely, practicing Christian yoga outwardly doesn’t make one right with God; …

8. Why a Christian ALTERNATIVE to Yoga?
Christian fitness, meditation, weight loss, stress relief, flexibility, DVDs, stretching, Christian alternative to yoga, praise and worship, not Christian yoga

9. Yahweh Yoga | Christ-centered yoga & teacher training
Yahweh Yoga offers Christ-centered yoga & teacher training classes in Chandler, Arizona. Check out our Christian yoga DVD and trendy, flattering workout clothes.

10. Marsha West — Christian Yoga? C’mon!
Churches are now offering “Christian yoga.” ( An oxymoron, if there ever was one. … If your church is integrating “Christian yoga” or any other New Age practice …

11. What is the Christian view of yoga?
What is the Christian view of yoga? Is yoga just a stretching routine, or are there … Yoga originated with a blatantly anti-Christian philosophy, and that …

12. Christian Yoga
Christian yoga opens the door to some who are wary of the ancient Hindu practice. … A Beliefnet message board discusses Christian yoga. …

13. “Christian Yoga”
“Christian Yoga” Hindu yoga has been known in the West for many decades, … But the author of Christian Yoga, being a Benedictine monk, adds some particular ” …

14. Yoga and Christianity
Yoga and Christianity: take a closer look at hatha yoga, the one most often believed to be purely … I once talked to a yoga teacher who became a Christian. …

15. A new wave of Christian yoga
Long controversial in some Christian circles, yoga is fast gaining adherents … As yoga has become more mainstream, Christian alternatives have emerged. …

16. One Truth Ministries – Brian Flynn – Christian Yoga – Oxymoron
Brian Flynn conducts seminars for churches and small groups nationwide sharing his testimony and warning them of the … FACTS ABOUT YOGA Please be aware …

17. PraiseMoves – The Christian Alternative to Yoga
Christian fitness, meditation, weight loss, stress relief, flexibility, DVDs, stretching, Christian alternative to yoga, praise and worship, not Christian yoga

18. Yoga
Beware: New Video on “Christian Yoga” – Christoga – From the Lighthouse … Is it okay for a ‘strong Christian’ to practice Yoga? …

19. Christian Yoga?
The Phenomenon of Christian Yoga … There is no Christian Yoga. … Article by Chris Lawson, ” Christian Yoga: Rooted in Hindu Occultism” This …

20. Article – Christian Yoga and Hindu Gods
Christian Yoga and Hindu Gods “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22 … Yoga is an ancient Hindu religious system of meditation and discipline. …

21. Christian Yoga – The new appropriation Strategy of delinking yoga from …
Christian Strategists are worried that christians who benefited from Yoga may … And now that it is “sanctified”, let’s have a brand of “Christian yoga. …

22. Yoga – Relaxation or Occult?
Yoga is from the Sankrit word Yug, meaning “union” (with the Divine, your higher ” … Cultic & Occultic Movements, Jack Sin, “Should a Christian Practise Yoga? …

23. Christian Yoga: Oxymoron
Christian Yoga-Oxymoron. Why is there such a thing as Christian Yoga? … If your reason for practicing “Christian” Yoga is to feel closer to God why …

24. Christian Yoga Magazine
And there is nothing particularly Christian about practicing yoga, either. … Yoga (or Buddhist) meditation is not the same thing as Christian or Jewish …

25. Yoga from a Christian Perspective Resources – Christians Practicing Yoga
Yoga and Healing. Meditative Prayer in the Christian Tradition – Lectio Divina … I Teach Yoga from a Christian Perspective – Yoga Deepened My Relationship …

26. Christian Yoga | Yoga
Christian Yoga, The Principle behind Christian Yoga … Christian yoga is a spiritual practice of Christians most common in Eastern and …

27. ABC News: Yoga With a Christian Bent
Yoga With a Christian Bent. Exercise Enthusiasts Reinvent the Practice to Suit Their Beliefs … faith,” said Christian yoga instructor Susan Bordenkircher. …

28. Doug Pagitt, Solomon’s Porch and Christian Yoga
John MacArthur, Doug Pagitt, Christians, and Yoga … “Christian yoga has been gaining a devout following, and Twin Cities pastor Doug …

29. Christian Yoga? – Yoga
Christian Yoga? plus articles and information on Yoga … So if a Christian group wants to practice “Son Salutations”, or “PraiseMoves, …

30. Christian Yoga
Christian Yoga at Manresa … Christian Yoga is a way of uniting with Christ. … Our Christian yoga program weaves together body postures with breath, sacred and …

31. Yoga and Christianity: Loving with All your Parts
Yoga and Christianity are being bridged by many people who … Actually, principles of Yoga are already contained within Christianity and Christian meditation. …

32. Discover Christian Zen |
Christian Zen means different things to different people. … Anti-Christian Yoga. Ayurveda. Bede Griffiths. Centering Prayer. Chaturanga dandasana …

33. Holy Yoga – the premier style of Christian Yoga – Testimonies
… program this is from the perspective of an experienced Christian Yoga teacher. I did receive a Christian Yoga certification from another program and spent just …

34. wcco.com – Controversy About Christian Yoga
A new fitness craze, called Christian yoga, has a very devout following, but some are criticizing the “New Testament” twist to an ancient tradition.

35. Soul Stretch | Christian yoga for all ages & fitness levels
Christian Yoga Schedule for Royal … Booking Private Christian Yoga Retreats For … here to enhance your Christian yoga practice with these recommended …

36. Yoga from a Christian Perspective Resources – Christians Practicing Yoga
Yoga and Healing. Meditative Prayer in the Christian Tradition – Lectio Divina … The “Christian Yoga Teacher Training” courses and curricula I’ve seen thus …

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