Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Video Post: yoga and meditation...

Downward facing dog, inhale, she gently instructed in the most beautiful voice ever heard. Cobra, exhale, she sung as her body moved as if in water. The entire class moved in syncopation as if on her synchronized swimming team. If Barry White and Sade had a love-child, this is what she would sound like.

I, on the other hand, moved with the fluidity of a Pre-Andalusian beast and grunted like one too. It was like Mr. Snuffalupogus from Sesame Street trying to stretch to calming, instrumental music. Not cute. But I endured the class for four weeks as instructed by my chiropractor because of a running accident. My back was so tweaked, I couldn't sit down for more than an hour let alone exercise.

But towards the end of class, the singing Indian siren would encourage the class to meditate and "center" our bodies and minds on positive thoughts. Immediately I knew this was going down some New Age path of enlightenment, so I simply closed my eyes and began to pray. Meditate? Um, okay, I'll meditate on the blessings bestowed to be God. For that, my dear Indian sister, is a positive, centering thought to which I can meditate upon (Psalm 1:2).

Are there dangers in yoga and deep trances encouraged by some classes? Yes. Is there the potential to become mastered or confused by these practices? Yes. Are there alternatives to yoga? I'm glad you asked! Check out this article about Laurette Willis and her introduction to New Age philosophies and yoga. She also speaks about the danger of yoga and the ideologies behind it.

28 comments:

Mela Kamin said...

Bianca - I have done yoga and never had an issue with it interfering with my following of Christ. However, I have heard from others who do not support it. A great resource for me is Brooke Boon, she is the founder of Holy Yoga (holyyoga.net). I have met Brooke and she is knowledgeable and truly reflects Christ's love. Holy Yoga is yoga that uses prayer and is Christ-centered. It is becoming more available, as more Christians take the health benefits of this exercise and intertwine it with scripture and prayer. I personally think that's really cool and I applaud Brooke for her efforts.

lauren waye said...

So glad you did this! I've had my concerns, though the class I've done (bikram) never goes into any meditation etc. However I'm always really conscious of what's being said/done- in any 'new age' scenario, so I don't inadvertantly open myself up.

Anonymous said...

This is wrong! Flat out wrong. It's fully delving into another religion.. Have you thought about that?


Even alternatives are wrong. We are to give no appearance of evil.

Michelle said...

I am not a Russian bride for sale.

I am a Christ follower.

I do take yoga twice weekly.

I do pray to God and for others during portions of the class. I'm adept at tuning out my teacher when she goes down certain topical paths. However, I am also friends with my teacher on FB and she knows where I stand in my faith and she is exposed to the word of God coming from me on a consistent basis.

I also understand that some Christians aren't comfortable with yoga. If they aren't comfortable then they are right to not participate. But for me it is part of my life. As a Christian. And I bring Christ to yoga with me. And we let our lights shine. ;)

We each make decisions about what is appropriate for ourselves.

Nice Vlog Bianca. :)

Cindy A. said...

Nice post, B! I wondered about yoga and mediation but new there that I could marry the two (healthy form of physical & mental exercise with my walk with the Lord) without feeling like I was walking a line or "appearing to be evil (worldly)."

Unfortunately for me, my instructor tends to play Enya during meditation and I end up taking a delightful nap.

ANONYMOUS: Please pray on the following (reference http://www.crivoice.org/appearance.html)

1 Thessalonians 5:12 But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; 5:13 esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 5:14 And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. 5:15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. 5:16 Rejoice always, 5:17 pray without ceasing, 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit. 5:20 Do not despise the words of prophets, 5:21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 5:22 abstain from every form of evil.


The appeal to the Thessalonians is not to avoid or abstain from that which might appear to be evil, but to avoid those things that are clearly evil, such as illicit sexual activity or responding to evil actions with evil action in return. In every case, those things are contrasted with the proper Christian response, purity or "holiness" (4:7) and doing "that which is good." This suggests that the translation "abstain from every kind of evil" is far preferable to "abstain from every appearance of evil." Paul calls the Thessalonians to a holy lifestyle that would avoid things that were clearly evil, like illicit sexual activity or responding to people with a retaliatory "evil for evil." In contrast, he also calls them to love one another, to be patient with each others, and to do the things that are good as God’s will for them as his "set-apart" people.

Cindy A. said...

*knew (not "new"). I can spell good, promise! :D

Brianna said...

I've tried yoga before and quickly learned I was the worst one in the entire class. Not good for my ego so I don't go back often. Also...I would get the giggles during the MMMmmming part and I never did master finding my breath in that really deep part of my belly. At the end of class when we were supposed to lay there and do whatever it is you're supposed to do with the lights off and the music, I took a brief cat nap.

Basically, I was just trying to gain some flexibility. I don't think God has a problem with me being more flexible.

Anonymous said...

not a russian bride

BB -
The end was hilarious...love your laughter. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

Love You,
Cyn

Bianca said...

@Mela: Thank you for your great words of insight! I love your balanced approach to this and appreciate your link and info :)

@Lauren: WELCOME to the blog!!! Woohoo. Secondly, I loved Bikram yoga but it was too expensive. I take the free ghetto classes at my gym :(

@Anonymous: Just to clarify, I don't chant, om, or center anything while I'm in downward facing dog :) Nor do I center my chi or lay down into enlightenment. I have not, will not, nor care to injest any New Age mumbo jumbo. In fact, it's a great place for me to pray.

@Cindy: Two words: Sail Away.
Bwahahahahahahaha! Just kidding. I love your apologetic response to our new anonymous friend. You rock.

@Bri: Who you fooling? You're about as limber at a brick! Hahahaha. I think God likes when I meditate on him and his will so the next time I'm at the Olympic Training Center, let's take a class.

@Cyn: Have fun at YWC next week! PS Don't be the Russian bride out there ;)

Melinda said...

My husband has two herniated discs in his lower back and has suffered from back pain for about 15 years. Last year we signed up for 50 classes of Bikram yoga each and the smell made it brutal to go. I agree with Lauren that Bikram doesn't delve into the "spiritual side" of yoga. They do have a Buddha statue in the studio so I always thought about it when I went in. Both my husband and I discussed this between ourselves and with a friend at church who has been doing it for years. The consensus we came up with is that it's great for us (his back pain got to practically nothing - except then he reinjured it in class and we stopped going) but we aren't walking around pushing it or sharing it with everyone. Just trying to be careful not to stumble anyone. Like you said, great prayer time. Frankly though, in the Bikram classes, I'm so wiped out from doing the poses in the heat I am just trying to catch my breath and not faint. I can barely pay attention to anything they say in between poses.

The Montgomerys said...

awesome vlog! I have done the wii yoga, and absolutely love the stretching and have thought about taking a class...and have thought about the same issues that you spoke about. I agree that using that time to praise the Lord, and meditating on His awesomeness is key....and spending that time in prayer. I don't think it is necessarily bad, it's just where your heart is. It really is a very amazing workout :) I think for Christians it might be helpful to seek out a class that doesn't focus so much on the spirituality aspect of yoga might be helpful.

ps.*****I love your ring!!!!!!!

Jenn said...

Interesting... I personally won't do yoga as each pose is a a worship pose to a Hindu god and that just doesn't sit well with me. I don't judge Christians who do it, but I can do lots of stretches without going to a yoga class...

Ali Brown said...

Not a Russian Bride ;)

Although I am REALLY bad at yoga...seriously UNbalanced...I had no problem attending the class. I am so confident in my relationship with my Jesus, that I knew without a doubt the class would not cause me to question my beliefs. I pretty much do as everyone else has said during the meditation part of the class...meditate on the awesomeness of God...

BUT, yes...there's a big fat BUT there...MY convictions in MY heart regarding yoga are going to be completely different than another persons. I truly believe that this boils down to Romans Chapter 14...I'll highlight this portion of verse 14:

Romans 14:14b

..."But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean." (NIV)

I think this is a "what's goin' on in yer heart" issue... I did not have an ounce of turmoil in my heart when I went to yoga class. Yet, there will be folks that have such a "squeeze" in their heart and a lack of peace just thinking about yoga, that for them, it may not be a good thing if they went. They may not even need to think about any one else going to yoga because it may cause them to judge another for going.

These are the questions that I usually ask...

Is it a salvation issue?
and
Am I walkin' in love in every aspect concerning this?

Anyhoo, another novel for my thought on matter...OH...and if you want to make it simple...just go to Pilates hahaha I started private classes about 7 months ago...talk about a kick in the butt! I LOVE it!!!

Anonymous said...
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Allie Marie Smith said...

I once got scolded by the instructor after my frist Bikrahm yoga class - it was heavy! I think he caught me chuckling when the person behind me let one rip! I agree with your take on this...right on. Luv ya girl.

juniorj said...

I like mediation but haven't tried the Yoga. Playing basketball is my Yoga.

Kayla said...

Not a Russian. However, would definitely be a bride for a rich man. You could take on the role of broker if you know any rich, attractive, smart, Jesus-loving men who would be willing to shower me with shoes.

What was the blog about again?

*scrolls up*

Oh yes, yoga! Never done it, don't know much about it. My hyperreligious self of about 5 years ago would say, "IT'S WRONG!" However, my slightly less ridiculous current self realizes that if I have no other gods before my God, then no other gods will have power over me. I could probably benefit from yoga...from what I understand, the stretching and balance and relaxation seems like it would be just the ticket for me right now. One of Kristin Billerbeck's characters described herself as "Jazzercize on steroids" and that's how I feel most of the time. Something that would basically force me to clear my head could be quite useful. I find that church is usually the absolute WORST place for me to focus. I know several people who could probably get seriously rocked in their faith with some sort of New Age meditation nonsense, but I know I won't find any more enlightenment beyond the love of Jesus.

Beth said...

I was just reading through the comments and totally didn't get the russian bride thing - so i replayed the vlog to see if i'd missed something - when i found this it made me laugh so much!! Great vlog. Yoga gives me better posture and for that, I love it. I've never concidered it to be anything more than something that stops me slouching and tones my bod!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you post on weekends?

Does God stop being God on weekends? Are you going to Starbucks on weekends? Are you shopping with the money you make on the backs of people who need real help?

Or is it that this is a "business" for you and only about the all mighty dollar?

So you take off the weekends because why?

I would very very much like you to be real but your presentation and message keep bringing me back to you are part of "the church" "money making machine". Just a few rungs down from dressing up in white gowns and asking for money every Sunday in a building built on the backs of the little people who desire help in life.

I so want to believe in you. I so want to believe in people being honest and caring just for the sake of caring about each other.

What do you have to say about this other than deleting this post?

Anonymous said...

what church are you talking about specifically. It is not fair to lump all churches together. Some churches are not good, and that is not because of God but because men are evil...and have fallen away form the true meaning of what a church should be. Our church cares nothing about if you give them money or not and they are the first ones to reach out to the needy, giving money and assistance to those who are hurting. Why? Not for gain or for money because honestly the people who are helped have nothing, many times they do it in secret but because of the love of Christ. We do nothing apart of his love. Come on, who cares what Bianca does on the weekends, her blog is a beacon of encouragement to many people. It is Christ centered that is all, she is a lovely person who truly loves the Lord and seeks to do his will. She has helped countless people by pointing them to the Lord. You do not know what she is doing on the weekends, and why should you judge her. I'm sure there are a lot of things she could be doing with her life, more lucrative, but actually she is choosing to help others and teach them about Jesus and is a true blessing.

Anonymous said...

Wow...
mr. anonymous..

God is God all the time, regardless of a blog posting or no posting. The Church is not a brick and mortar building, its made of bones, muscles, veins, heart etc...get the picture. As believers in Christ, we are His Church.
Still prayin for you, your getting close to accepting Christ...or else you would not keep coming back to this blog. With the amount of resistance you are showing, your gonna be an awesome Christian.

Keep Blogging B...another one for Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!oops sorry.

ap

Miss Minderz said...

It's simple: It all comes down to "personal conviction."

KS*Rebecca said...

Ahem- Im not a Russian bride. (that was weird) :) OK I totally agree w/ anonymous that if angry anonymous (the one that wants u to post 24/7) wasnt close to accepting Christ, he/she wouldnt keep coming back for more.

Great Job Bianca for writting such an awesome blog peeps wanna read day and night! Love you! my sister from another mister (uh and another mom).

Psalm 27:1

Anonymous said...

Bianca,
I just ran across another interesting perspective on it, from another woman practicing her faith:

http://www.tabletmag.com/life-and-religion/23099/is-yoga-kosher/

Thanks for opening up the thought-provoking dialogue!

Paulina said...

It doesn't seem logical as to why, when all evidence of yoga, and all history of yoga points to a whole different realm of what the Bible says, you would want to continue to divulge yourself into it. Surely it is easy to see that the Devil has clearly shown you all of the positives and negatives of yoga, and had educated you, to then manipulate you to think for 'yourself', that yoga is perfectly fine 'so long as you zone-out on the topical parts'? What if some of us cannot simply 'zone out'?
As an analogy, you are saying that you can go out with friends on a Saturday night dressed in next-to-nothing, but you just won't drink. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. You are placing yourself in such a vulnerable position, not knowing what the Devil has got in store for you.
If you were/ are doing yoga for the flexible and health benefits, surely you could pick something else up, or just do simple flexibility exercises in your own home? Would this not be easier; probably more fun.
If all evidence points against what you have been taught, and more importantly what the bible teaches, why would you want to continue doing this yoga if it detrimental to your faith?
We shouldn't forget that the Devil is not stupid, and he has been around for a lot longer than you have. You cannot outsmart him, only God can. Just pray about these things.

Anonymous said...

Are you guys serious?? I am a Hindu. Honestly speaking, our tradition tells us to be generous to all faiths. Why is it that many Christians constantly (this goes for Muslims and Jews as well) constantly harp over what is permissible or not, what is evil and good,God vs Satan? Why this.fear of.delving deep into yourselves and finding you.need no books, no prophets, no revelations ans certainly not the extremely infantile idea of a.personal ( middle-aged white bearded male, as you would have it) God ? For the sake of yourselves, please grow up! In any case, the heyday of Christianity is in the past. Your sect is rapidly shrinking here in Europe and certainly in the US as well, albeit delayed. Islam is growing due to demographic reasons, but among reasoning men and women, the future belongs to atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism or other natural religions as opposed to the unnatural prophetic abrahamic.ones. Fantasies from the desert minds of Arabs and Hebrews... Dont really belong in this modern age!!

Anonymous said...

I e we Hindus are sick and tired of having our generosity abused we Yankees with white bleached teeth who are gobbling up the planets resources with their brutal.capitalism,.big petrolguzzling SUV:s and horrible horrible selfserving double standards! Thank God there are two liberal coastlines of the US that had the sense to elect Obama, the lesser of two evils

Anonymous said...

Apparently there is an attack on Yoga happening currently. An article posted in my church was entitled "Should Christians do Yoga?"...I was lucky enough to find an intelligent reply to the nonsense published by Truth and Light Ministries and I feel it is my duty to share this article. I hope it is as helpful to others as it was to me: http://wp.me/p3xdNi-z

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