Yoga anyone?

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director

It is noisy in my head. When I worship, I am struggling to silence the noise. When I pray, I interrupt myself with thoughts that keep bubbling up. I know one of my flaws is endless thinking that leaves me with less space for being. I want to grow spiritually, but my brain wants to sort everything out.

Then I started going to yoga.

It is addictive because as I move, I pray. As I pray, I feel God moving in me. It’s the breathing. My brain gets quiet and my body relaxes. I could do this all day long.

I’ve come to understand that my spirituality is kinesthetic. Maybe this is why I loved walking the Camino de Santiago or hiking the Inca Trail so much. I need the space that only happens when movement halts my usual over-thinking self. I can forget myself which creates the space for me to feel God’s presence.

I have friends who are alarmed about a Christian being so attracted to a Hindu practice. Admittedly, I am attracted to my Hindu neighbor too. (Isn’t it wonderful to know interesting people?) But, for me, yoga isn’t about a Hindu practice. It isn’t about exercise. It is about creating space in my life to feel closer to God.

Gena Davis, an Episcopal priest, founded YogaMass that she describes as embodied spirituality on the mat, sharing Christ’s sacred meal. I have been in retreat with Rev. Davis and the experience is still in me.

I am not saying this is for everyone, but I am saying, engage in spiritual practices. Like most things, they feel awkward when you first start, but, over time, they become part of you. Enjoy raising your awareness of God moving in your life. This is what we were born for.

10 replies
  1. Mary M Lovig
    Mary M Lovig says:

    YES, I know Gena well and her practice. I also practice with Holy Yoga. Quieting our brain, so difficult in today’s world, and so important in our Christian walk. Thank you, Peggy.

    Reply
  2. Emily Dalen
    Emily Dalen says:

    I absolutely love this! I’ve worked with Holy Yoga to become a kids’ Holy Yoga instructor. We use this occasionally in faith formation ministries. I need to be more bold in leading it, but I love putting poses with Bible stories to help those who are kinesthetic to learn.

    Reply
    • Peggy Hahn
      Peggy Hahn says:

      Absolutely! Children need to have healthy stress release just like we do. Imagine how important it can be to link God’s love with feeling better, being centered and healthy practices? I’d love to hear more of how you are doing yoga as part of faith formation. This is an untapped resource for the Christian community.

      Reply
  3. Peggy Hahn
    Peggy Hahn says:

    I wish every church thought about using their space for yoga practice as a time of prayer. Thank you for your comment.

    Reply
  4. Patti Suler
    Patti Suler says:

    I am discovering that my capacity for unconditional love is growing in tandem with my spirituality. Unconditional love encompasses all beings, practices and yes those like me but especially those not like me. Meditation, Cognitive Therapy and Prozac are cited as the three foundations for effective self-change (The Happiness Hypotheses – finding modern truth in ancient wisdom by Jonathan Haidt). Love the contemplative kinetic yoga you are sharing!

    Reply
  5. Peggy Ogden-Howe
    Peggy Ogden-Howe says:

    I breathe intentionally when I walk before bedtime. Also when we were on a small ship that was rolling in rough seas I calmed my anxiety and stomach by breathing with the motion of the ship.

    Reply

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