Above is a series of yoga poses that challenge balance, flexibility, and opening of the hips. The first three are variations of a graceful yet powerful pose called by many names—Dancer’s, Shiva, Lord of the Dance, Lord Shiva, King Dancer, Dancing Shiva, and Saral Natarajasana in its original Sanskrit. It was one of the first poses I ever fell in love with when I first started with yoga asanas. Even when other postures capture my attention now and then, I still go back to Dancer’s like love at first sight! There is at least a couple of other more challenging variations of this pose that I didn’t end up taking photos of.
Yoga has been ever so popular and mainstream these past few years, and the more I learn about it, the more private and personal it becomes to me. It has almost become sacred but without the connotations of judgement or bias and exclusivity that usually come with religion. The benefits of yoga posturing are almost therapeutically immediate, and that is why it is so popular in the West (besides the coolness factor of the more challenging strength and balance poses!). However, to live by the yogic philosophy takes a great leap of faith—perhaps even greater than you would need for Christianity.
Don’t get me wrong. In a way, it takes a lot more faith to be a Christian because Christians believe in Christ being God, while there is no requirement for a Christ in yoga. Christianity is the only religion with this kind of message, where there is a need for a savior for salvation or liberation. So what I really meant to say is that for Christians it takes a whole lot more to believe in yoga than for someone who isn’t.
What do I mean by this? Many of us Christians believe that The Bible is the only source of truth. Now, there are many things that have once been thought unshakably accurate for decades in the macroscopic lens of science but proven to be inaccurate in the microscopic sense—nonetheless, they are all correct though their conclusions misguided, ie physical sciences vs. quantum physics. Thus, having seemingly opposing information doesn’t always mean only one of them is true. We are after all looking at truth with our limited spectral perception. I believe God did not include many things in the Bible not because they are evil but because we wouldn’t understand them. Things like all of humanity’s innate ability to perceive beyond the five senses probably also aren’t as important as what He really wants us to think about with our limited time.
Realizing that in and of itself, information is not evil however, it is my desire to have all and in particular Christians understand that Yoga is just another lens to look through the same world and the same universe. The philosophy of Yoga is information that may seem opposing to Christianity, but it is very much integrated. The barrier of language and culture have obscured this lens, making us think that this foreign concept is shaking our faith when both Yoga and their personal faiths are all standing on the same foundation.
Just like the sciences however, yoga, or any other faith or practice, our conclusions may also be misguided, judging the world to be flat rather than round or in the the center of the universe instead of in the wayside, all while having the same data. However, it never hurts to inquire about ourselves and the world around us. See for yourself and not look to what others are saying about a certain practice, belief, or way of living.