As many of you may know, yoga is a very popular form of exercise in today’s society that is great for strengthening the body and improving flexibility. Additionally, it consists of a mind-body-spirit connection, as many people use yoga to quiet and still their minds. Therefore, along with improving physical fitness, yoga can be used as a tool by connecting more with our spirit so that we can connect more with God. However, since many of the yoga classes typically found in fitness studios are fast-paced, it may be difficult to calm your mind as you are struggling to maintain your balance, hold a pose for several minutes, or keep your arms elevated a certain way. By focusing too much on strenuous poses, you might not have the motivation or energy to focus on other important mindfulness aspects of yoga such as belly breathing, or cultivating a clear mind.
Yoga, in fact, is considered a moving meditation as it was originally created to prepare the body for meditation. Breath and movement gracefully connect, allowing for the opportunity to listen to your mind, body and spirit while maintaining self-awareness. One of the central components of yoga is the breath. When we slow down our breath, we actually slow down our mind. When we slow down our mind, we are able to create inner peace within our spirit. And when we are able to have peace of mind, we open up a greater capacity to hear our inner voice and to feel a stronger connectivity with God.
With its roots in Eastern religions, today yoga may be practiced with a spiritual component or in a purely secular form. Yoga itself is simply a tool to use for whichever purpose you choose, whether that’s simply for physical fitness, mindfulness, or religious practice. What matters is the intention for your yoga practice. Interestingly, Christian yoga – a yoga practice with a Christ-centred focus and scripture meditations – is becoming increasingly popular among those of Christian belief.
Are you interested in trying a yoga class? Find a yoga studio near you, or simply search the web for many free yoga classes online. Many offer classes for a variety of skill levels. Whether you are new to yoga or already an experienced yogi, make sure to experiment and choose a yoga style that works best for you. For instance, one of my favourite online yoga classes is Yoga with Adriene, while The Christian Meditator has an abundance of resources for Christian meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.
Let me know your thoughts on yoga and if you decide to try using yoga as a moving meditation!