Honestly, I’m a little nervous about publishing this post. I’m well aware that many (if not most) of you will disagree with me and probably think I’m crazy. I don’t want my readers to lose interest in the rest of my content because they disagree with me about yoga. But if that’s what has to happen, I’ll accept it because I would rather be straightforward about this than not discuss it at all.
I ask only 2 things of you:
- Please read the post to the end to get everything in context.
- Please don’t assume anything about me or my faith that isn’t abundantly clear in this post.
My yoga involvement. . .
Let me start by giving you a brief overview of my history with yoga. I used to use yoga poses as stretches before and after my workouts. I especially loved to use them to open up my hips because traditional stretches just didn’t target certain muscles the way yoga poses did. I stayed away from the breathing, meditation, and spirituality stuff that often goes along with yoga classes. A few years ago I looked into that part of it because it sounded compatible with my Christian beliefs, but soon discovered that part of yoga was not something I wanted to be involved with (I’ll get into the details of that later). But for the last couple of years I only did some of the stretches, assuming that the purely physical aspect of yoga would be good for my body without causing any spiritual conflict. So I used a lot of those great yoga stretching routines on Pinterest, and some videos I found on YouTube, and it really helped to relieve tension in my muscles and improve my flexibility.
Why my faith has anything to do with how I stretch. . .
If you aren’t a Christian, you probably think my faith is a little loony for not letting me do yoga poses even without the spirituality stuff. Which is why I need to clarify something right away. It isn’t that my God forbids me from doing yoga. There is a common misconception that Christianity is all about following the rules to get in good with God so you can go to Heaven, but that couldn’t be more backwards. Christianity is about the fact that God set us up in a perfect world but we screwed it up miserably. Since we can’t follow all the rules and be perfect enough to make things right, Jesus did that for us and paid our debt to God, restoring our relationship with Him and granting us entrance to Heaven so we don’t have to be stuck in the world we messed up forever. (If you have any questions about that please Contact Me, but for the purpose of this blog post I’m not gonna get too preachy.) So anyways it isn’t that God gives Christians a rulebook that says, “Thou shalt not do yoga poses.” It’s actually that as a Christian, I don’t want to have anything to do with pagan or demonic rituals. It’s my personal choice and preference, not because I’ve gotta follow all the rules.
Now hold your horses, I know that saying yoga is demonic sounds really insane and like a conspiracy theory. That’s what I used to think too. I thought the people who believed that were taking their Christian beliefs too far and being too strict with themselves. In order to change my mind, I would have had to hear from someone who had been involved in yoga and knew how amazing it feels, not from theologians sitting on their high horses dictating what Christians can and cannot do. And lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened.
A good friend of mine sent me a video testimony of a woman who used to be deeply involved in yoga, so she has a thorough understanding of its appeal as well as its meaning. Her humble and kind attitude made her a lot easier for me to listen to than a lot of anti-yoga Christians I’d heard in the past. Long story short, there is a lot more to the yoga poses than just stretches. Because this woman was so deeply involved in yoga, she understands what it all means, and how it isn’t just a set of stretches meant to relax and improve your body, like a lot of yoga practitioners tout it as today. That’s the deception – yoga has become so mainstream and is presented in such an innocent way that you would never know the crazy stuff behind it by how it is presented. As a Christian I know that is precisely how Satan works – presenting lies to look as much like the truth as possible.
So anyways my point is that I think you guys deserve to know the religious and scary stuff behind yoga and decide for yourselves if it’s really something you want to be involved with. I also feel a certain responsibility to talk about this because in the past I’ve included some yoga poses in my blog posts. I wouldn’t recommend doing those anymore. I promise I’m not just another religious conspiracy theorist trying to scare you off, this is a lot more legit than I thought it was. If you aren’t a Christian this woman’s testimony might not mean a whole lot to you, and I understand that. I’m not even saying you all need to completely eliminate yoga from your lives. I’m merely trying to explain why I stopped it, and warn you that there is a lot more evil to it than meets the eye. What you do with it is entirely up to you.
Here is the video that changed my mind, I would really encourage you to watch it all the way through to the end because she answers some good questions at the end. I’m not going to go into all the details of specifically what it is about yoga that is so bad, because it isn’t the same out of context, and she explains it much better than I ever could. So please do either watch the video or refrain from judging me based on what I’ve said in this post until you do.
What I’m doing now instead of yoga. . .
I was so disappointed when I decided to stop doing yoga poses because I have such tight muscles sometimes and yoga poses target them so well. Thankfully, however, I’ve found ballet style exercises and stretches to be just as, if not more, effective than yoga was. There are a couple stretches that ballet dancers use as well as yoga practitioners, and I’ve decided not to be too obsessive about figuring out which stretches are yoga and which ones aren’t. I’ll be as discerning as I can within reason.
As some of you know if you’ve been following my blog lately, I’ve started using Ballet Beautiful workouts. They have been a fantastic way to not only strengthen all my supporting and stabilizing muscles, but they also open up my joints (especially my hips!) as I extend through my full range of motion. I’ve already noticed some improvements, and that is just through the exercises themselves, not even the stretches. It’s similar to the concept of dynamic stretching, when you repeatedly move a joint gently and gracefully through it’s full range of motion, each time asking the muscles to allow it to go just a bit farther, you open it up and release tension effectively. The static stretches Mary Helen Bowers has you do are fantastic as well, although she doesn’t spend as much time on those as I would like, so I often pause the video and hold them longer than she does.
Now that you’ve read to the end, I want to give you a big hug and thank you for sticking it out. I hope you watched or are watching the video and that at the very least it gives you something to think about. If you have any questions or comments, please leave your thoughts below. Or if you would rather talk with me privately about yoga-related issues or my faith or anything else, feel free to Contact Me.