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Connections between Yoga and Christianity

Jo-Anne, a Yoga Teacher Trainee (now graduate!) wrote an article on Svadhyaya (self-study/study of the texts) during her 200hr studies or the Yoga Teacher Training 200hr program with The Mindful Yoga School.

She covers an important topic that often brings about separation: can you be Christian and practice yoga at the same time? Jo-Anne's approach in this article is with CONNECTION, as she realises crossovers of Christian and yogic philosophies through reading one of the provided books in the course, Light on Life by BKS Iyengar.

Thank you Jo-Anne for sharing this piece with us - see below for the full article.

Big love,

Erin Lee
Founder, The Mindful Yoga School

I have  'done' yoga for almost twenty years.

However I now realise that I have only just started to 'practice' yoga. Even then, my efforts are fledgling at best.

Until enrolling at The Mindful Yoga School, I had no understanding of the philosophy that sits behind the practice: the eight limbs, the Koshas and the connection between layers, arriving at our divine self.

The divine being in all of us and our interconnectedness with each other and the universal energy rings completely true to me. How to allow myself to open and access this central Kosha feels like getting to the essence of life and what it means to be human.

As difficult as it was to comprehend at times, reading 'Light on Life' by BKS Iyengar throughout the Yoga Teacher Training program was such a revelation. The theory of yoga as Iyengar explains it makes perfect sense. What a revelation to put myself under the microscope and explore what lies behind my self, my ego and my responses to situations, gaining insight into my reactions - especially when the reaction seems unwarranted or extreme and at times, puzzling. This exploration in self-study, svadhyaya, is just as I like my adventures - enlightening.

The most unexpected discovery is the connection between my Christian faith and the yogic philosophy explained in 'Light on life'.

While the Bible gives us the rule book and roadmap for life, the philosophy of yoga has provided the step-by-step instruction manual – the detailed “how to”.

I have a close friend who is a devout Christian who refuses to discuss anything connected with my yoga practice, dismissing the practice and postures of asanas outright as idol worship. However, I was delighted to find direct biblical correlations to the intent of yoga and meditation, reassurance I was on the right path.

 Romans 12:2a reads:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

The intent and practice of yoga gives us the means to do exactly that. What perfect synergy!

Similarly, Philippians 4:8 tells us:

Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and honourable.

I know of no better way to do this but to mediate with gratitude, striving for the ability to defuse life’s agitations by understanding and detaching myself from the triggers. Imagine the time and energy we’d save, and the increased peace and joy we'd experience, from such insight!

Knowing myself; understanding why, off the mat, I react in situations as I do, has been a great eye-opener to changing my responses. Smoothing the floor of my lake as it were, to remove lingering memories which trigger negative and unhelpful responses.

There is no question we are all divine, connected by universal energy, which for me is God.

We simply need the means and desire to access this. I have a long way to go in my practice, to focus on more than the physical asanas. But the ultimate goal is one that supersedes any material endeavour and is definitely worth the time and attention.

Jesus tells us:

"...for indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21).

Amen to that!

Find out more about immersing deeper into yoga through the Yoga Teacher Training 200hr program here >


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