Mountain pose. Warrior 1. Downward dog. Warrior 2. Child’s pose.
The practice of yoga originated more than 5,000 years ago and since then, yoga has served as a transformative form of exercise for many, while baffling others by its challenging poses.
Now, a new group of yogis have taken yoga from chair poses, deep breathing and backbends to a Christian version dubbed Holy Yoga. Infused with Bible verses, Christian music and prayer, Holy Yoga is designed to connect one’s entire being – body, mind and spirit – with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Holy Yoga website explains the practice:
“With complete reliance on God’s Word and prayer, Holy Yoga invites us to surrender and introduces us to Grace. When we breathe and move and have our being in Christ, we find ourselves in the flow of His magnificence. There is often a misunderstanding that yoga is a religion, it is not. Yoga is a spiritual discipline, much like prayer, fasting and meditation.”
Founded in 2003 by Brooke Boon, a yoga studio owner based in Phoenix, Holy Yoga is intended to deepen people’s connection to Christ. Although yoga is based on Hindu traditions, the founder believes that its three major components of exercise, breathing and meditation can be applied to any religion.
“People are looking for wholeness these days,” Boone said in a recent article in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune. “This is for your body, mind and spirit.”
The testimonials agree. “It is an amazing addition to the cultivation of my relationship with my Heavenly Father,” said one participant. “When I attend class, I feel it is my time of the day where I can really focus on getting centered with God and myself,” said another participant.
We all know that exercise is not only important for our physical well-being, but also our emotional well-being, so by adding in a Christian focus, Holy Yoga appears to be a wholesome activity that all Catholics could benefit from.
What do you think, CatholicMatchers? If you’re already an aspiring yogi, would you give this class a try? Or if you’re not currently practicing yoga, would a spiritually-minded yoga class convince you to try something new?
Dan Connors, editor-in-chief of Catholic Digest, recently explored church teaching on yoga in his article “Is Yoga Sinful?“