This thing called Holy Yoga came into my life at a most unexpected time and in a most unexpected way. I can not wait to share it all with you! But first, let’s get a few things straightened out.
History of Yoga:
Classical techniques of yoga date back more than 5,000 years. The word yoga, a Sanskrit term, means “to join or yoke together” and it brings the body, mind, and spirit together in one unique experience. Yoga was popular in the Eastern traditions for centuries. There is a common misconception that yoga is rooted in Hinduism, but in fact yoga predates Hinduism. Yoga was introduced in the United States in 1800s, but not widely practiced until the 1960s.
Enter Holy Yoga:
Holy Yoga is the intentional practice of connecting our entire being; body, mind, and spirit with God; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 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 discipline, much like prayer, fasting and meditation. Yoga has the capacity to enhance our personal beliefs and faith.
Holy Yoga is an international ministry founded by Brooke Boon, a devout lover of the Lord who has facilitated the instruction of more than 500 Holy Yoga instructors worldwide. You can find out more about that here.
Holy Yoga Basics:
The system of yoga is built on three main structures: exercise, breathing, and meditation. Holy Yoga brings all three structures together with complete focus on connecting to Christ so that you can experience the power of God and begin to change not only your body, mind, and spirit, but also your life – from the inside out. The practice of Holy Yoga brings Mark 12:30 to life! “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Here are a few characteristics you will find in a Holy Yoga practice:
Connect with God – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The most important part of your Holy Yoga practice is complete and simple reliance on God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Deep belly breathing – Job 33:4 “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” In Holy Yoga, we breathe through our nose on both inhalations and exhalations. Right where you are, try this little exercise with me. Place your hand in front of your face. First breathe out through your nose; and then through your mouth. Which one is hotter on the hand? We breathe through the nose so the additional heat which would be expelled from our mouth remains in the body.
Honor your body – 1 Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” Honor where your body is at in this moment, being mindful of any injuries or areas of tension. We give full freedom to rest in child’s pose or any resting posture at any time you feel the need. We believe whole heartedly in listening to our body and honoring it in our movement.
Be sensational – Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Be aware of the sensations in your body; it is important to feel something in every pose. Working at the place between easy and hard. Holy Yoga believes that a good instructor will tell you how to get into the pose while a great instructor will tell you how to feel in the pose.
Release your expectations – Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Allow yourself to be exactly where you are today. Practice without an agenda and see where God meets you. This is probably my favorite part about Holy Yoga – it is amazing what God has shown me by simply being still on my mat.
Remove any sense of competition – Luke 1:37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Surrender to God’s grace, keep your focus on Christ and remove any feelings of competition with yourself or others. This is a safe place to be yourself. Let everyone else disappear – just you and Jesus now.
Find freedom not judgment– Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Embrace your imperfections! Ask questions, support one another in this new journey with Jesus.
Join God in the present moment – Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Use your breath to stay in the present moment, focus on Christ. When your mind wanders (and it will) simply acknowledge it and return the focus to God, your breath and the sensation of your posture.
The Holy Yoga Class Experience:
Holy Yoga classes are a time of worship and praise of God utilizing our entire body. We open and close our classes with prayer. We utilize a verse or series of verses throughout the class as a moving meditation or a moving Bible study. We typically play popular contemporary worship music to enhance the spiritual and physical experience. Each class is unique and will have a different look and feel, but the basics of a typical class might look something like this:
- The Word & Warm Up.
- Deep breathing – Gets us focused on the Word, calms our mind, oxygenates the blood, warms the body, and generates focus for the class.
- Son Salutations – Series of poses linked together with the breath. Works all major muscles and joints through their full range of motion, elevating the core body temperature.
- Root Down to Rise Up.
- Standing poses – Build strength, endurance, and flexibility in upper and lower body. Poses flow to the rhythm of your breath or are held for 2-4 breaths.
- Balance poses – Standing balance poses to keep head over heart and equalize blood pressure in the upper and lower halves of the body. More advanced classes may include arm balances as well.
- Be Still & Know.
- Floor poses and deep stretching using prone, seated and reclining poses that build strength and enhance flexibility. Hold poses 4-8 breaths each side.
- Deep backbends, leg stretches and upper body releases.
- Rest. Shavasana.
- Minimum 5 minutes – this is your final relaxation posture reclined on your back bathing in the Grace of God and the Truth of His Word.
Is that clear as muddy water? Great! In our next post, we will talk a little more about the benefits of having a yoga practice in your life. Until then, be sure to join our FB group where we will be chatting and building some community leading up to classes starting in 2018!
Did I miss anything? Still have questions? Comment below and lets chat!
* some content used is from Holy Yoga 101 property of Holy Yoga