Wednesday, February 4, 2015

{30 Before 30} :: Take Up Yoga

Disclaimer: I want to be sensitive to the fact that I am a Christian {and a pastor's wife} talking about yoga. Please understand me when I say that I am not advocating any form of yoga that pulls you away from the Lord. Some would argue that all yoga pulls you away from God, but I believe that the American adaptations of yoga, which focus on stretching, breathing, and exercise, can be separated from the Eastern spiritual forms.

While some say that "yoga is just stretching," I cannot be naive and brush off something without doing my research. Yoga has its roots in Eastern religions, and seeks {for many} to be a path to spiritual growth and enlightenment. It would be foolish to think that all forms of yoga are harmless; there are many classes and forms of yoga that I would not be comfortable in/with. I personally would not recommend yoga to a young believer. I think every individual believer needs to test their convictions and concerns against the Word, and truly seek the Lord's wisdom before pursuing anything that could run counter to things that honor Him. 

I think this is a great article on how Christians should approach their decision whether or not to practice yoga as an exercise routine.

That being said, I personally have used yoga to stretch and relax; there is no spiritual aspect of my exercise, other than taking care of my body as a temple of the Lord. To be mindful of the controversy and my younger brothers/sisters in the faith, I made the {personal} decision to not attend public classes, and choose instead to do my yoga workouts at home. I evaluate every video, staying away from any that include meditation and chanting, and stick solely to the physical exercise. My husband is good about helping me affirm truth {out loud}, in contrast to the self-seeking fulfillment and inner peace that a lot of yoga {falsely} teaches.


I have wanted to do yoga for some time. I have done pilates for several years, but wanted to try something new. Since I have had to rethink my exercise routine anyway because of Crohn's {focusing more on low-impact exercises since I never know how I will feel that day}, I thought it would be a good time to try it.

Ya'll, I have never been flexible in my whole life. Even when I was 6 and in gymnastics, my teachers always got frustrated with me for my lack of flexibility. Haha. So I figured yoga might help with that. Yoga is also supposed to have good health benefits for Crohn's; I can even do my yoga exercises when I am having a flare. It may not be as comfortable or enjoyable {at first}, but it actually helps me feel better. Win!

I also just really enjoy the relaxing aspect of yoga. It really does help to reduce stress, which is helpful in preventing flares. And I love that I can do it at home, any time of the day, regardless of what the weather is like. 

I decided to get a few DVDs to get me started on learning the technique. I started with Easing into Yoga with Linda Howard, just so I could get a handle on what this whole yoga thing was. It helped me learn the poses and was a great beginner DVD. {Warning} :: this DVD kind of reminded me a little of Sit and Be Fit at first. Haha. But it got better, I promise! You just have to get past the fact that the average age of the participants on the video is about 50 :)

While it might be overly simplified for some, I personally needed the progressive lessons so I could 1) learn the beginner basics of yoga, and 2) literally ease into yoga. Remember...not flexible here. The best part about this DVD is that it has a long list of modifications: fatigued, overweight, elderly, pregnant, chronic conditions, knees, back, etc. So it shows you how to modify your yoga routine based on your specific {and potentially ever-changing} needs. Which is awesome.

I then started using the workout DVDs from Tara Stiles. These have some great routines, and I have enjoyed the variety of sessions.


I have also used some of the free yoga videos on Amazon Prime; because they were free and available on my TV at home. Just for some variety and additional instruction :)

I haven't been as consistent with it as I would like to be, and I want to be better about making it a routine. But I am glad that I tried it, and that I have the DVD's to use whenever I do have more time to be more consistent with it. I enjoy it when I do get a chance to do yoga, and I am glad I put this one on my list!


  1. I'm glad you have enjoyed your yoga practice and have approached it deliberately. Yoga has a lengthy history with other religions and should not be entered into without critical consideration and research. From my experience with yoga, its most potent benefits come from appreciating its spiritual dimension. Scripture talks a lot about disciplining the body, so I don't think this is at odds with my faith. One of the primary functions of yoga is to engage the mind fully in the present moment so that the running chatter of the mind fades away (which I think it accomplishes well because of the balance required—you really do have to focus, unlike running where you can let your mind wander). Each yoga class allows 10 minutes for relaxed meditation at the end. I have found this to be a tremendous opportunity to practice letting go of my worries and to bring my attention to God. Yes, you hear stuff about chakras and prana but like you say, if you are mature in your walk with the Lord you can discern truth and develop a meaningful practice that benefits the body, mind and spirit. They're all linked and I love that yoga lets me notice them all at once.

  2. Such a great point, Amy! I just remember there seeming to be a bit of controversy when I wanted to start yoga, so I wanted to be sure I did my research and really sought the Lord before I just dove in. I love the idea of redeeming that meditation time to focus all of your attention on the Lord! :)