Thursday, July 1, 2010


I had another positive day today. I volunteered, went to the gym, did work and ate healthy meals. At the gym, I took an Ashtanga Yoga class. It was my first of this kind, and I enjoyed it. Exercise is hard for me. I don't enjoy much of it, and when I find something I do, that works, I generally want to do it more. This happened with ballet classes, which are too expensive.

Yoga works for me. I enjoy it, I feel the burn, I sweat, and it helps me with anxiety and depression. So I googled the term "Christian yoga," because my therapist said "Wouldn't it be nice if more Christians taught yoga?", after I mentioned that I'm taking Yoga classes, and that when I do, I pray and meditate on Scriptures that I have memorized and I avoid saying "namaste" and bowing, etc.

But... as a scholar of religious studies, it's hard to argue with the fact that Hindus have been quoted many times as saying "Yoga is Hinduism," like in this interesting Time magazine article on the topic. The poses are considered sacrifices to Hindu gods, and the practice is a method of reaching closer to their pantheistic concept of God (please excuse my gross oversimplification of something I'm not even close to fully understanding. hopefully you can see my point anyway).

I'm not comfortable being that crazy, legalistic Christian. I'm scared when I think (or the Holy Spirit suggests through His nudging) "maybe I shouldn't drink. maybe I shouldn't watch that TV show. maybe I shouldn't listen to that music." I was raised as a privileged American, in this sweet land of Liberty. And we do have liberty and freedom in Christ! But where do we strike that balance between being libertines and legalists? Particular forms of music, TV, movies, activities, whatever may not be inherently bad, but that doesn't mean they help us run the race we are running toward Him.

So, is it enough just to focus my attention on Him during yoga? Does it require "redeeming" poses and renaming the practice, like the creators of PraiseMoves? For now, I'm just really not sure. I'm going to talk to a few close friends that are believers, because I don't fully trust every Christian I met via their website. I'm going to pray about it. Actually, that should be first.

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