I started doing yoga shortly after I had London. It was a way I could exercise without exerting too much energy (since we all know how hard that is to do after having a baby). I had never really known much about yoga, and the workouts I had been doing didn't focus on the spiritual aspects of the "practice"...they were more cardio based "weight loss programs". I'd like to say I am a pretty smart person, but I was really naive to everything that is tied along with yoga.
Until this summer.
One day right around youth conference I noticed my foot was hurting in a strange way. I could not pinpoint how I had hurt it...I hadn't done any kind of intense cardio recently or felt my ankle roll or anything. It didn't feel like I pulled a muscle and yet it didn't feel broken, it just hurt REALLY bad. The only thing I had done recently was yoga, but had never hurt myself before while doing it.
The second morning of youth conference it hurt so bad I could barely stand. I asked my sister to pray for me, and after she finished she said, "You might want to think about the whole yoga thing".
And that's where my Holy Spirit awakening began towards the spiritual ties of yoga.
I began to think about it, and noticed the more I had done yoga, the more I liked yoga. Not a bad concept when it comes to exercise, but the nature of my liking felt strange. Sometimes I would find myself feeling guilty for feeling so good after I finished. I suppose I had played it off as having something to do with my warring church programmed mindset of "anything that feels good has to be bad".
I noticed the real problem became when I battled whether or not I needed to give it up. Nothing in our lives should be too big a sacrifice compared to the cross, and something that seemed so "small" in my mind was holding a little more power than I had realized.
Then I began to research the connection between "yoga and spirituality", and found the results to be frightening. I am going to share some of them with you and point out that these are NOT written by Christian authors.
Below is an except from pathstopower.net entitled "Yoga & Spirituality":
"I had an urge to write this article seeing how yoga is being degraded to simple flexibility training and how yoga’s popularity is being used to sell practically anything...
Yoga and Spirituality are inseparable. Yoga is an ancient teaching that helps the persistent practitioner to achieve the spiritual enlightment. By no means it consists of a set of exercise routine only.
Yoga is comprehensive system, a way of thinking, a way of living our everyday lives...
Yoga played an important role in my life providing insights and answering the numerous questions that I had hard time to find answers to.
The Eastern occultism entered my life when I was 20 years old. I was lucky enough to find the book of Mabel Collins “Light on the path and through the gates of gold” in the country where the books on spirituality and religion were not published..."
Here is another, more unsettling except from a teaching by Sri Chimnoy (http://www.writespirit.net/spirituality/meditation/yoga_and_spirituality) . It is more frightening because it refers to the connection between yoga and "God". Linked in the article is on the webpage is his definition of "God". I have taken the liberty to take the capital out of his "G" below, since I know he is NOT referring to my God - the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, and I refuse to let HIM be watered down to a "mindset".):
"I have come here to be of service to the seekers of the highest truth. There are many seekers here. Some are beginners, others have started walking, others are a little advanced and running along the spiritual path. Spirituality is a vast field. You can regard spirituality as a body. Inside the body is the heart. Yoga is the heart of the spiritual body.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word. It means union with god. This union is a conscious union. We are all united with god but we are not aware of it. When we practice Yoga, we become conscious of our union with god.
Why practice Yoga? ...We want to practice Yoga in order to be satisfied. If we are sincere to ourselves, we know that we have everything except satisfaction. Some seekers feel that everything in life has meaning only when god comes first. They feel that god is the root. When they become one with the root, the source, then everything has meaning and everything is satisfaction. The practice of Yoga can lead us to this goal...
... Real Yoga will never ask us to renounce the world. We have to accept, transform and divinise the world and bring perfect Perfection onto this earth."
The word of God tells us the exact opposite in Romans 12:2 -Do not conform any longer 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.
I found that in my struggle with giving up yoga it has become an "idol". That in and of itself is dangerous enough, but add in all the spiritual elements, and I simply cannot allow this "practice" to be in my life.
Hebrews 12:1 -Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
You still may look at this and think it's "no big deal", but I am choosing to "strip off that weight" and not allow it to slow me down.
...So goodbye downward dog, cobra, awkward airplane, and warrior 1,2 &3. I'm over you. You don't belong in my life, and your names are pretty stupid anyway. :)