Seek Truth

Taking on the Masters Program by Holy Yoga this year has been an adventure. Once I completed my 225-hour training in November of 2018, I knew I had just scratched the surface and I was immediately drawn to taking the Masters program. The Masters program is a 300-hour training the full duration of the year. Each class takes us a little bit deeper into understanding God, scripture, yoga, spiritual disciplines, and so so so much more. It feels like that popular quote, ‘the more you learn, the less you know’ as you are opened up to so many concepts and ideas and theories that make you want to freeze time so you can continue to learn.

 

While many of the weekly classes, additional video and audio recordings and books to review have left me saying, ‘this was my favourite class yet!’, this past Monday’s class was nothing short of my favourite so far…

 

During the Masters program, we’ve had our ideas expanded as various teachers with unique backgrounds have taught us about their specialties. From Ayurveda to Contemplative and Spiritual Disciplines, Energy Concepts and more, our teachers have presented us various viewpoints to help widen our understanding of how vast the background and use of yoga can be. This past week our teacher for the class was born and raised in India and spent his time searching for truth, exploring the Hindu faith before finding faith in Jesus.

 

I had just finished reading Boundless by Bryan Bishop so I loved hearing about how our teacher for the class is a yoga teacher in India who actively lives out faith in Christ. His story is his own to share and I won’t go into any details, but I want to share with you some key ideas and insights from the class that I feel could encourage you if you are someone who is unsure about yoga, who is unsure how the culture surrounding Hinduism can fit with those who are Christ-Followers (and yes, I asked about his thoughts cultural appropriation– but that is a topic for another day).

 

As someone who is a Christ-follower and a yogi, people often ask how this works— how can you practice a spiritual discipline that originated in India while worshipping God?

Lately, I think a question more worthy of exploration is how can we see God in the spiritual practices and disciplines other religions use more commonly than we do? What can we learn from how others worship?

Lately, I think a question more worthy of exploration is how can we see God in the spiritual practices and disciplines other religions use more commonly than we do? What can we learn from how others worship?

Our teacher answered some of the ‘more commonly asked questions’ Christians tend to have about yoga and as he spoke the following words, my little pencil was moving quickly across the page to capture the words that have stuck with me since…”We can’t accidentally worship something. Worship comes from the heart— you get to decide to worship and who or what you worship.” In a nutshell, a yoga pose won’t create a portal to another world, a deep breath won’t connect you to a god of another religion and no, practicing yoga doesn’t make you any specific religion.

 

So, what do you believe?

 

Where do you place your desire to worship? That is where your practice will take you. Yoga means ‘to yoke’, to create a union between two things. What would you like to yoke yourself to? For me, I choose to yoke myself to Jesus and explore how I can feel more connected to Him so I can live a faith of compassion, love, Truth. When I explore yoga from the perspective of connecting to God with yoga as a spiritual discipline, I feel connected the same way as when I meditate on scripture (meditation being one of the 8 limbs of classical yoga AND spoke about in scripture), journal my prayers to God or sing a song of praise to God at church on a Sunday morning. Connecting mind, body and spirit to create an experiential and embodied form of worship to the Creator who gave me the ability to think and move and have the Holy Spirit living inside of me.

 

Even within Christianity there are contrasting beliefs among denominations. I always find it interesting how quickly we can be to deny Truth in anything other than our common Western practices, then nitpick Christianity itself and cause it to divide those follow Christ. In growing and learning and speaking with others who follow Christ from various backgrounds, I’ve come to learn that there’s so much more to faith than black and white— when we enter into a relationship with the God of the universe we are saying, ‘I won’t know it all and that’s okay because I know YOU and I am seeking to draw closer to you in every way I can.’

IT’S OKAY that we find a deep connection to God in different ways!

That ‘every way’ can look different for me than for you and that’s okay. Let me say that again… IT’S OKAY that we find a deep connection to God in different ways! We are unique humans with unique personalities, characteristics and experiences. God will reach us and touch us each deeply and uniquely to draw us closer to Him. Limiting the entire world to experience God based on our experience says that our way of experiencing God is the only way people can and that sets such a confined box around a God who is unfathomable. As my husband would offer, if God can fit in a box, He’s too small of a God. If you think can understand everything fully about God, you are limiting God to only your experience of Him and there’s a big world out there experiencing God every day in every way as He draws us closer to Him.

 

So where does that leave us? I encourage you to explore your faith; explore spiritual disciplines like the ones we hear about commonly in the Western world like prayer and fasting and journaling and singing, but to also try other ones that are less commonly talked about in a church setting like meditation and contemplation and creating art, pilgrimage and movement. As soon we cross over into “this is something you CAN do and this is something you CAN’T do” we are claiming we know what’s best for everyone and if there’s anything that I’ve been learning lately, it’s that everyone has something to teach us about following Jesus if we open up a conversation and lovingly get to know someone. 

 

I’ll leave you with another sentiment our teacher this past week said to us. He encouraged us, as those studying yoga, to learn all we can about the yoga sutras (the writings on yoga) and the Hindu scriptures (as yoga is commonly a spiritual discipline used by those who follow the Hindu religion) and to lay everything we take in at the feet of Jesus.I absolutely love this idea. If we believe God is the creator of everything, then His fingerprints are on everything in the universe. His Truth is everywhere. If we believe that God loves everyone and wants a relationship with every person on this planet, then He will be constantly revealing Himself to people to draw them closer to Him. There are pieces of Truth everywhere… we often just have to open up our eyes and hearts and minds enough to see it. So in all you do, whatever you learn, whatever ideas and concepts are thrown your way, take it to the feet of Jesus and let Him reveal to you what is Truth. And remember, we all experience a deep connection to God in unique ways– what God is using to connect with you may be different than what He’s currently using to connect with someone else– that doesn’t mean anyone is wrong. Start a conversation. Let’s learn from each other and expand our understanding of a God who consistently leaves us in the wonder of all He is.

 

2019-08-10T03:40:01+00:00

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