What is Christian Yoga? [#IDY2021 Part 1]
‘Yoking’ for the Christian yoga practitioner refers to uniting our breath, body and spirit with Christ, truly becoming one with Him.
[Given International Day of Yoga is on June 21st, this article explores the concept of Christian Yoga.]
“Christian Yoga” is a term, perhaps first coined by the french monk Fr. Jean Marie Déchanet, who explored physical exercise and various forms as a way to connect with God. His book Christian Yoga was written in the late 1940’s and is out of print today, but you can still find copies in circulation.
Déchanet’s practice and writings in Christian Yoga were born from a place of simple, pure worship and connection to Christ. He would strip himself of all distractions to find stillness with the Lord for meditation, contemplation, adoration, prayer, praise and worship. He wrote of bowing before the Lord or standing in praise, sometimes with no clothes on, much like David did before the Lord.
2 Samuel 6 verse 16 describes Michal the daughter of Saul watching King David from a window, leaping and dancing naked before the Lord. To the outside world it appeared that David had lost his mind or was ‘drunk with wine’. However, no one can judge how one will act in the presence of the Lord. David was simply worshipping and connecting to the God who had done so much for him in unabandoned, reckless and undistracted praise and worship.
Throughout the years the term Christian yoga has been used by various Christian practitioners as a form or worship and praise, while honoring what Christ deems His temple, or our body. In today’s western world, the practice of Christian yoga developed into holistic forms of worship, with practices of the mind, body, spirit and soul through biblical teachings of a certain posture that biblical figures were in, while praying specific prayers. In observation of these various postures, it appears in scripture, that the prayers, combined with a posture, elevates one’s worship or needs. See more on Postures of Prayer. Therefore, Christian yoga is a physical practice of connecting profoundly intimately to our Creator and living God, Jesus Christ with our entire being; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
As a Christ follower, or Christian, we believe the Bible in its entirety. When we read such scriptures as Genesis 1:1; “In the beginning, God created everything”, combined with John 1:1-3; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being”, for many of us, this sums it up, God created e v e r y t h i n g.
As Bible-reading Christ followers, we believe God created all things, including man and woman. Eventually it is ‘we’ humans who take God’s pure creation and use the creation for impure things. All things that were first intended for us to enjoy, not abuse, were originally created to point back to the Creator.
The word yoga is defined as yoking, or unity. Yoga itself is a beautiful word and within the definition there is nothing to fear. How some choose to use the practice of yoga, or whom they choose to worship by using yogic practices can, and should be feared if practices incorporated conflict with God’s principles.
‘Yoking’ for the Christian yoga practitioner refers to uniting our breath, body and spirit with Christ, truly becoming one with Him. We can also yoke our breath to our posture of prayer, or our breath with our movements and dance like David danced. We can also yoke with one another in the sacred space of His presence. Christ followers are familiar with this word to yoke, as the Bible has a lot to say it about it.
Christian yoga is how many Christians interpret scriptures found throughout the Bible that uses God’s commandments of praise, worship, prayer, song and dance to connect to Him, or to worship Him with all of our might, all of our breath all of our spirit and all of our being [Acts 17:28].
God created all things to glorify Him, point to Him, worship and praise Him.
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created by Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16.
The Bible repeatedly speaks about you and I being the church and how we are to take care of these “temples” of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16
Image: Twitter, Indian Jesus
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