Yoking Together Faith and Yoga
The word “yoga” means to bring together or to yoke
When you tell people that you’re into yoga, you get a lot of different responses. Many of them are questions, some of them are claims that they could never do
yoga because of a lack of flexibility and others express interest. One response that I’ve gotten quite a bit, which surprises me, is something a long the lines of, “But I thought you were Catholic?” There can be some misconceptions about yoga on the part of those who are not familiar with it. One such misconception is that yoga is a religion. The practice itself is not a religion. It does come from a rich tradition of spirituality infused by its Hindu and Buddhist founders over 5,000 years ago – which might be the reason for this confusion.
The beauty of yoga is that anyone of any faith can practice. And no matter what your faith may be, I believe that yoga can and does enhance it. When you practice yoga you are focusing inward, on self acceptance, love and peace and as a result of this you embody acceptance, love and peace. In doing so you live more harmoniously with the world. Religions every where strive for peace and love. The meditative aspect of yoga is also prayerful. As a Catholic I practice meditation Quieting my mind and soul, I am opening both my hear and mind to God. When I meditate I experience the same feeling as when I am praying in Church – only the location and position are different. The lessons or ideals that my religion teaches are not dis-congruous with a yoga lifestyle = rather the kindness, the charity, love of God, love of neighbor, doing good, are all embodied (in my humble opinion) through yoga.
When people asked me this question I used to have no idea what to say to them. Now after living both my faith and yoga I love when people this question because I get to talk to them about both and how there is a relationship rather than a discord between them. What other form of exercise or activity relaxes, de-stresses, aligns, exercises and detoxes your body while revealing your inner self and brings you closer to God? We got nothing. How has yoga enhanced or affected what you believe in?