Monday, November 28, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
You have to understand something first. I grew up with three older brothers, rode horses and ATV’s daily, and worked like a man in the orange groves every summer and then every day after school from the time I was old enough to drive until I moved away for college. I was rough and tumble to say the least. I would have never been pegged as the yoga-type. (I was, however, voted most likely to be president in high school… for what that’s worth.)
My first experience with yoga, other than a home-exercise video, began in early 2008. I was just pregnant for the first time, giddy about the healthy and joyous pregnancy I anticipated, and looking forward to giving birth to my baby! My teacher was kind, generous, grounded, Jewish, of all things, and incredibly encouraging. She taught me about breath, correct postures, and most importantly, how to listen to my body. Never before had I been so aware of what was going on inside my own body. This invaluable awareness carried me through two naturally passed miscarriages, and ultimately through a natural, undirected, and very inward focused birthing experience with Grace Louise.
Let me clarify, my yoga experience has not taught me to trust my body as some kind of deity or supernatural power, but to trust in the God of the Universe, who created this body and to believe in all He intended it to do!
My yoga teaching career began with a friend and fellow expecting mama, our babies born just a month apart. She needed the exercise; I needed a student; a win win. I’m sure I was horrible. A year later, my opportunity grew to a group of five pregnant women. Again, they needed the exercise, I needed a class of students, preferably women I didn’t know so well (as incessant laughter has proven to be a hindrance in previous experiences); another win win. Our group grew a bit, and I had the best time with these women, watching their bellies grow and their bodies blossom into motherhood!
When I first voiced my thoughts about pursuing yoga teacher training, Jimmy notably had some reservations. We read an article together that sparked great conversation and a journey of prayer and seeking God on His desires for me in this. I began with reading the thoughts of others; many Christians have shared their views of yoga through blogging, the internet, etc. I found stories and opinions on both ends of the spectrum. Some believing that the practice of anything similar is altogether evil and others practicing in total liberty.
Reminded that everything is permissible, but not all things are beneficial, I continued seeking truth, reading scripture and simply asking God to give me wisdom and discernment.
In the end, I made a decision to pursue teacher training only under the assumption that I could find a training program that was a) affordable and b) did not include mantras and chanting or other New Age or Hindu saturated teachings. I didn’t think I would be training any time soon, because other than two Christian based yoga organizations, which lacked credibility, I had not yet seen anything that fit the above description.
In April of 2011, I finally pursued training through a YogaFit, fitness-minded yoga company I found while searching the internet. They offer Yoga Teacher training in levels, perfect for my financial situation and season of life. I’ve completed the first step, which fully certifies me to teach, but anticipate completing the entire RYT 1000 program.
I’ve recently started teaching my first regular yoga class, missing the mamas in a prenatal setting, but enjoying the challenge of something new. With several twists and turns, the process of finding the right environment for my current class was a journey all its own. I am right where God wants me for now, enjoying the support of many and offering something a bit different for our community.
Finally, my convictions regarding the practice of yoga as a Believer… These are thoughts I have pondered and wrestled with, now confident that God has helped me to see these matters through the lens of His truth and grace.
Simply changing the names of the physical postures to something more Biblical or “Christian”, does not in fact make the practice of yoga truly different. As Jesus pointed out, we can be as whitewashed tombs, presenting one thing on the outside and another on the inside. The matter is one of the heart. With that said, the precept of making choices so as to not cause another to stumble, prompts me to omit most of the Sanskrit language in my practice. I have also abandoned clearly ungodly ideas, language, and posture names that may be found in other traditional yoga practices.
God created my body and enables it to be healthy and flexible. He gave me breath and designed my body to coordinate beautifully with the inhale and exhale. God orchestrated the whole idea of rest. Heck, He took an entire day of rest and encourages us to do the same! Meditation, breath, exercise, rest— the idea of these components of yoga come from Him!
Rest, relaxation, and meditation in yoga does not have to leave you absent-minded or open to mind control. In fact, God tells us to be alert, continually renewing our minds, setting them on things above. We can think on those things that are pure, lovely, upright, just, and praise-worthy! We can self-inspect or to ask God to search and know our hearts. In other words, yoga can be a wholesome, personal spiritual experience.
I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with my views. Making choices on issues that are not absolute truths is difficult. It requires that we step away from man’s teaching and ask for the Holy Spirit for wisdom and good judgment. So for those reading this, whether you practice yoga or not, I hope you are spurred on to be prayerful, intentional, and thoughtful about the passions in your life.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. -1 Corinthians 10:31
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Woot woot! Her candy loot for the night was a cherry sucker! And she couldn't have been happier!