How yoga has brought me closer to God

Posted on July 9, 2014


yoga and god
It is a gorgeous day! I had a great night’s sleep, did some exhilarating yoga and was off to start my day. I was walking down the street and a tremendous feeling of gratitude came over me. I am grateful for my strong and healthy body, the sunshine, my faith, and my family. As I get older, I find all too easy to fall into the trap of regretting the past and wishing that my life had turned out differently. We all have choices in life. I can choose to be sad and bitter, or I can choose to be happy and grateful. Thanks to my faith, I choose gratitude.

The July 4th holiday is an emotional and bittersweet one for me. My Dad passed away on July 4, 2003. My Dad was a very pragmatic man; he wouldn’t have wanted me to mope around. I can just hear him saying, “Nancy, you need to get on with your life.” When July 4th comes around, I still think of him with profound sadness and I still miss him. I was so blessed to spend a lot of time with him during the last few years of his life. I also choose to honor his memory and try to enjoy the day. He so loved July 4th; the patriotic displays, the fireworks and the parade. I am finally able to go to the parade and not be really sad.

What does all this have to do with yoga and God? I credit yoga for bringing me much closer to God. Here’s how yoga has helped me:

1. It forces me to be in the present.

When you are balancing on one leg, all your focus is on balancing. If you let your mind wander, you fall over. It’s as simple as that. You can’t worry about the future, or dwell on the past. All this practice with focus has helped me with my prayer and meditation. When my mind starts to wander, I can bring it back to my prayers.

2. It quiets my mind.

All that deep breathing is good for whatever ails you. Most yoga instructors have very soothing voices and this combined, with your own deep breathing, works wonders on your mind. I am a person who can’t sit still. Once I am sitting still, my mind starts going in a million different directions. Now, I just focus on my breathing and let the thoughts pass by.

3. It focuses on kindness, love and compassion.

Those things are compatible with all religious and spiritual beliefs.

I know that some Christian religions frown upon yoga. The two main reasons for this: 1. Yoga roots in India. 2. Yoga focus on turning inward, instead of outward toward God. I can respect that. Actually, I think my religion may not take too kindly to yoga, but for me, I feel a real closeness to God when I do yoga and how can that be a bad thing. I am not one for strict religious dogma.

What has been your experience with yoga?

Praying hands picture is courtesy of Praying Hands Pictures.

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