Ok, folks, it’s time to get real. I’m talking to my faith folks, my pious peoples, my hallelu-ers, and my amen-ers. Because you are some of my favorite people on earth. Because I love you. And because I am one of you.
YOGA. What is the first thing that pops into your head when you see/hear that word? I know what I always thought. The Beatles! That’s that thing they did when they were doing LSD and druggy stuff! That’s where those kooky people sit around chanting things and rising off the ground. That’s the……wait for it….. humanists religion. Can I get a T-A-B-O-O?
RELIGION. An organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods. An interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group. Oh, gee, that sounds like some people’s job…..or their money…..or their hobby…..or their politics….or (fill in the blank). Matthew 6:24 “…You cannot serve God and money.” Anything can become a religion to us. When we start putting something far above all other things, a religious relationship has begun with that thing.
And so, we-of-faith ask: is yoga a religion? And I answer you: are you making it a religion? One yogi may choose to follow the path and ways of Ghandi, while another follows the path of Jesus Christ, but they are both forming the same shapes with their bodies and strengthening the same muscles and mindfully eating without making yoga their religion.
Then we ask again: But what about their whole “Oh feel the vibrations!” Welp, that one is a science. Everything on this planet….well, everything in creation…vibrates at a certain frequency unique to that thing. This includes words. Language. Ever put your hand to you throat while you’re speaking English? Try saying something in Hebrew (like hallelujah), now, or Sanskrit. BIG difference. English is a rather dead language, vibrational wise, but the old less evolved languages (the languages, mind you, that God first put into Man’s mouth) practically explode with vibration. It is a fact that the words you say (or, the vibrations you are emitting) do affect your mood and your surrounds. Cool, eh? Remember that Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Then we argue again: But what about all that breathing stuff? Welp, that too is a science. Our bodies are fueled by the oxygen we breath and when we start panting or shallow breathing, we are cutting off some of that fuel supply. This can lead to headaches, stress, neck and back pain, anxiety and even panic attacks. In yoga, one focuses on the breath and gains a better understand of the breath in order to fuel this amazing creation that is our bodies.
Speaking of cool—How amazing is our God!? He created these beautiful languages, each flower in the fields, every sinew and tendon in our bodies, every muscle and every drop of blood. The Bible says He knows every hair on our head. Is His creation not worth getting to know? He commands that we be good stewards over His creation. We, our bodies, are a part of that creation and should be taken care of.
I know when I first began my yoga training, I was brought almost to tears every class how the wonder of
creation. The wonder that I had so many muscles moving at the same time in order that I might just lift
my eyebrow or close an eyelid. The wonder that God has given us so many tools to heal our own bodies—mindful breath and movement. Yoga was the tool God used for me to show me these wonders and to show me His deep love for me and His love for every human being that He created. Marvelous are His works!
About Shannon Ozimok:
Shannon is a recent 200 Hour Teacher Training grad at Release Yoga Studio. She discovered yoga by chance and, with an open mind, dove in and began her training. Her style is soothing, casual, and inclusive, with the spotlight on allowing ourselves to BE what we were created to be. She loves nuggets of inspiration and often throws a story or two into her classes. The love can't be contained, and she can't wait to unleash it on the world!